How to Make Your Feet More Comfortable by Replacing Your Insoles

For a few extra dollars, you can make an old pair of boots feel brand new and make your feet happy at the same time

Getting the best performance from your hunting or hiking boot doesn’t necessarily end with the footwear itself. If you love your boots but can’t quite get the perfect fit, you may need a custom insole. Laying out the extra expense can also help relieve problems associated with runner’s knee, over-training, or injury, and breathe new life into tired footwear. If you are still tweaking your fit, here are a few things to consider when trying to get the most out of your boot, shoe, or trail runner.

Volume and Profile

Physix Gear Sport Full Length Orthotic Inserts with Arch Support
The "profile" of an insole is the amount of space it takes up inside your shoe or boot.Physix Gear Sport

An insole's "volume" is the amount of space it takes up in the foot bed. Those with slim feet may need a high-volume insert to achieve the right fit. The amount of shape that you feel underfoot is referred to as the insole's "profile." Generally speaking, a high-profile insole has more arch support than a low-profile version.

Arch Support

Superfeet GREEN Insoles
When shopping for insoles, foot arch types generally fall into one of three categories—low, neutral, or high.Superfeet

Everybody has their own unique foot shape, and the range of insole arch types reflects that diversity. Insole arch height can be important to everything from correcting flat-footedness and fallen arches to alleviating pain associated with plantar fasciitis and heels spurs. Arch types generally fall into one of three categories: low, neutral, or high.

Activity Type

Dr. Scholl's WORK Massaging Gel Advanced Insoles
There's an insole for every activity.Dr. Scholl's

Insert technology has advanced to the point that there is now an insole for practically every pursuit. Hikers and runners often prefer gel rather than foam insoles for gel's superior cushioning effect, especially in the heel and forefoot. There are compact insoles specifically for cyclists; heat-moldable insoles to achieve a baked-in fit; insoles with warming properties for skiers and winter sports enthusiast; and heavy-duty insoles for large folks or those who stay on their feet all day long. Some are meant to replace removeable factory insoles, while others ride right on top. You can get a better fit out of any boot or shoe with a custom insole, you just have to learn a little about your individual foot structure, pronation, and gait, which is easy to do at any store that sells running shoes.