There's no shortage of high-quality sneakers out there for your fitness needs. Whether looking for in-gym kicks for powering through strength workouts, CrossFit-centric profiles to conquer upcoming WODs or running shoes destined for the road and trail, there are ample designs boasting impeccable support, performance and style.
Still, though, there's room for these shoes to improve. And more often than not, that growth can be had at one of the main areas of contact between self and sneaker: the insole. Despite the performance features and innovative components of today's fitness footwear, brands often leave something to be desired when it comes to the insole. These inserts are often made of a thin, flimsy foam that does little in terms of comfort and support.
BEST OVERALL INSOLESRemind Medic Impact 6mm Mid-High Arch Insoles Read More
BEST UPGRADE INSOLESVktry Gold VK Carbon Fiber Performance Insoles Read More
BEST BUDGET INSOLESSpenco Poylsorb Heavy Duty Maximum All Day Comfort and Support Insole Read More
BEST INSOLES FOR RUNNINGCurrex RunPro Medium Insoles Read More
BEST INSOLE FOR WEIGHTLIFTINGFulton Athletic Insole Read More
Thankfully, athletes looking for an added dose of coziness or foot relief can easily swap these out for aftermarket insoles. These simple upgrades can take your favorite kicks to newfound heights...but not every footprint is going to be the same across the category.
How We Tested
One of the first things I typically do when getting a new pair of training shoes is to swap out the factory inserts to more performance-based insoles. As such, I've gotten hands-on (read: feet-on) with plenty of silhouettes over the years, regularly testing new profiles for efficiency, comfort and support. I also showcase a high arch type, so I've had no trouble determining which insoles held their structure over extended wear, and which ones became too flat over time.
Naturally, different activities call for me to be on my feet for varying durations, too, and across these disciplines I've been able to really hone in on how durable these insoles are whether wearing them for less than an hour per day in the gym, during multi-hour runs and hikes or even in my all-day kicks around the house and town.
Now, pop out those factory inserts and prepare to unlock a new level of comfort with your kicks as we outline the best insoles for a bevy of training disciplines and needs.
Our Best Picks:
Remind Medic Impact 6mm Mid-High Arch Insoles
- Arch Type: Medium–High
- Cushioning: Medium–High
Remind’s lineup of impressive insoles caters more to action sports enthusiasts, but I’ve found plenty of comfortable success in more gym-oriented endeavors with these profiles, too. The 6mm thickness is not overwhelming, allowing for an excellent fit across multiple gym shoe silhouettes, and the impact absorption is top notch whether rapidly stepping through agility drills or bracing for heavyweight reps. The Medic Impact insoles also showcase a more rigid structure than others tested, which I appreciated during strength training endeavors. That stiffness may be a little uncomfortable, though, if you plan to use these for running or more cardio-focused wear.
Another perk to these insoles is the variety of styles and prints across the lineup, which give your shoes an added zest of personality that makes you want to step into them day in and day out. Plus, Remind also employs a Self-Forming Technology with their inserts, meaning the more you wear them, the more customized the fit becomes.
Vktry Gold VK Carbon Fiber Performance Insoles
- Arch Type: N/A
- Cushioning: Medium
Want to figuratively and physically put some spring in your step? Consider these high-octane insoles from Vktry. The Gold VK Carbon Fiber Performance Insoles employ aerospace-grade carbon fiber technology, essentially turning any footwear silhouette into a marathon-ready race day sneaker. I also like how Vktry caters these insoles to your specific needs from initial purchase, as you select your intended activity from the dropdown menu before adding to your cart. This results in a profile specially designed to help you get the most in your fitness, running or sport-based needs.
Of course, all this tech is rather expensive, and dropping nearly $170 on just insoles can be a tough pill to swallow — I’ve trained in plenty of sneakers that don’t even come near that triple digit price tag. Additionally, these insoles are built arch agnostic, meaning there’s less structural support with elevated contours. Sure, the carbon technology does give any shoe these insoles pair with a refreshed sense of stability, but if you’re looking for a fit that molds precisely to your footprint, you may want to look elsewhere.
Spenco Poylsorb Heavy Duty Maximum All Day Comfort and Support Insole
- Arch Type: Low
- Cushioning: Medium
If you’re just looking for a quick upgrade to your shoe’s factory inserts, these silhouettes from Spenco can easily get the job done. The lightweight polysorb polyurethane foam gives a nice, pillowy squishiness to each step that fits right at home across multiple activities, and the EVA forefoot pad provides worthwhile energy return for toe-offs, too. Plus, the four-way stretch footbed fabric helps prevent blister formation, keeping rubbing to a minimum during movement.
There’s also no cutting or shaping necessary with these insoles, which means you’re quickly able to add these to your training sneakers without breaking out the scissors to make them fit the shoe’s footbed. This is definitely a plus, considering other insoles at this price range typically need that added customization step (and subsequent repurchases when you remove too much material). These Spenco insoles don’t feature as much structure or shape as other silhouettes in this roundup, however, which could be less than desirable for those seeking a more contoured fit.
Currex RunPro Medium Insoles
- Arch Type: Medium
- Cushioning: Medium
Running demands a lot from your feet, and in turn, your footwear. So, it’s imperative that you pair your running-focused kicks to a pair of insoles designed for the job. The RunPro insoles from Currex offer plenty of performance no matter the pace, and are also available in a variety of arch types. While the above “medium” profiles can be a great starting point for most running enthusiasts, the brand also offers “low” and “high” models that cater to those specific arch types, too.
The composite construction of the RunPro insoles also gives these shoe add-ons a perfect mix of flexibility and rigidity — comfortable enough to flow with your natural foot path while still providing a stable base for heightened responsiveness. These inserts are also rated for up to a year’s worth of use, according to the brand, but don’t think that year won’t come with some wear and tear. According to some, the fabric overlay can begin to peel and fray prematurely, which may lead to a less comfortable footbed and compromised performance.
Fulton Athletic Insole
- Arch Type: N/A
- Cushioning: Medium
Thanks to the cork construction of these Athletic Insoles from Fulton, you get a truly personalized fit after just a few hours of wear. I really enjoy this for in-gym use, as it kept my feet plenty secure while still giving a structured sensation that allowed for optimal bracing. Plus, the comfort is noticeable when walking from station to station, but there’s no excessive plush that would hinder my ability to set up for say, a squat or deadlift PR.
Additionally, I appreciate the fact that Fulton pairs the cork makeup with an organic cotton top layer designed to fend off any lingering bacteria and odor. This is a definite perk for gym-goers, as you never want your kicks to pull double duty as smelling salts before a lift. The only caveat with this insole is that due to the molding process of the cork, you’re unable to easily swap these across various shoe silhouettes. After all, the insole is molding to the sneaker’s midsole, too. So, if you have multiple sneakers for different training days, be sure to order a pair of insoles for each profile.
Powerstep Original Insoles
- Arch Type: Low–Medium
- Cushioning: Medium
Plantar fasciitis, and other foot ailments for that matter, can be dealt with through an added sense of stability in your footwear. Well, this semi-rigid silhouette from Powerstep can provide that support thanks to its contoured design and exceptional heel cradle. These features, along with a top fabric that helps reduce heat, friction and perspiration, can create a relieving sensation in every step as your feet heal and get back to fighting shape.
The Powerstep Original Insoles also showcase a lower profile than other inserts, making these great for tighter-fitting profiles like dress shoes. However, I can see where the amplified stability notes may not be desirable in other sneakers that value comfort over function. If you’re looking to soothe some foot pain or come back from plantar fasciitis, consider these insoles during your recovery process. If you just want to beef up the underfoot coziness of your training sneakers, it may be best to consider another option.
Best Other Options
Superfeet Green Insoles
- Arch Type: High
- Cushioning: Low–Medium
Superfeet is one of the most respected brands in insoles, so it should be no surprise that they make an appearance in this roundup. I’ve counted plenty of steps and strides with a slew of the brand’s available offerings and believe their Green silhouette to be the best for daily use. I appreciate the more rigid heel cup that gives the structure and support you want when standing all day, and the high arch profile is plenty elevated to meet my unique footprint.
The foam used in the Green insole is also cushioned enough for daily comfort without feeling too pillowy underfoot. While some may want a little more cushioning to accentuate their dailies, I still think these are a damn fine workhorse option that should fit right into most shoe rotations. They’re not the most specialized insoles out there, but there’s still enough noticeable enhancement to be had, especially when compared to factory inserts.
Remind Remedy 6mm Custom Arch Heat Moldable Insoles
- Arch Type: Medium–High
- Cushioning: Medium–High
A truly custom insole is one that’s molded to your specific footprint. While some materials and silhouettes eventually achieve that personalized feel, having it from the get-go can alleviate the pains and trials often associated with break-in periods. The Remedy lineup from Remind gives you that quick access to underfoot comfort thanks to a simple molding procedure that sees you bake your insoles (you read that right) for two–four minutes followed by a quick casting step that sees you stand atop them while in your desired footwear for two minutes. In the end, you’re left with a personalized fit that’s plenty durable, plenty comfortable and highly shock-absorbent.
These customizable insoles from Remind are also great for a number of arch types, despite the brand listing them as “medium–high.” After all, you’re molding them to your feet, so the arch type you end up with is, in fact, your needed arch support. Just don’t expect to see as many artist-inspired designs in this lineup like you would with other Remind insoles. I doubt many designers want to see their illustrative prints thrown in an oven, anyhow.
How to Choose Your Insoles
One of the first things to consider when choosing the right insoles for your footwear is what your intended activity is while wearing your kicks. This can dictate whether you should look for more or less cushioning, as well as how supportive the insoles should be in regards to your foot build.
For example, if you're looking for insoles for your strength training shoes, you may want to forgo a thicker profile that instead prioritizes stability. If you need a pair of insoles for your running shoes, you'll likely be laced up for longer durations in these kicks, so prepare to look for shock-absorbing inserts that can provide ample cushioning throughout your routes.
Regular insoles found in most running and gym shoes are often flat with little contouring, which can leave your unique footprint slightly under-supported from the start. As such, when making the change to aftermarket insoles, it's vital that you match your chosen arch support to that of your foot.
To find out which arch type you showcase, you can perform what's known as the "Wet Foot Test." Simply wet the bottom of your foot, step on a blank piece of paper, lift your foot and examine the print. Look at the arch — the connection between your heel and ball of your foot — and see if you have flat arches (thick band between ball and heel), medium arches (small yet complete band between ball and heel) or high arches (virtually no band or a segmented band between ball and heel).
The level of cushioning featured in your insoles ultimately comes down to personal taste — feel free to choose however plush a fit you desire. It should be noted, though, that well-built insoles can alter the fit of your shoes, creating a tighter, more snug feel. As such, a thicker, more cushioned insole could be great for underfoot comfort, but could raise the top of your foot too far into the lacing, creating an overall uncomfortable experience in the process. Thankfully, however, most insoles are rather inexpensive, so it's feasible to order multiple pairs of differing cushion levels to see which is ideal for your setup.
A majority of aftermarket insoles utilize a combination of cork, plastic, foam and/or composite materials. While there's no clear best material for these needs, the leading component can indicate how your insoles will perform.
For instance, insoles predominantly made from cork can be rather pliable and will naturally mold to your individual footprint over time. Foam-based insoles are typically softer than others, but might not be the most supportive additions to your shoe build. Plastic and composite insoles can be excellent picks for ample structure and stability, but often include another, more cozy material to help add some comfort to the profile.
Who Can Benefit from New Insoles?
Virtually every athlete can potentially enhance the comfort and performance of their footwear through the addition of insoles. These simple silhouettes can provide more cushioning underfoot than the inserts typically found in original shoe constructs, and the varied cushioning volumes offered across the insole landscape allows for a more personalized fit. There's also insoles that utilize carbon-plated technology, bringing added perks of speed and energy return to any sneaker you desire.
Additionally, insoles can be excellent upgrades for those that regularly suffer from gait issues like overpronation, changing up the support system to help alleviate any inconsistencies in your step. There are also insoles that can help provide relief for common foot ailments like plantar fasciitis. The bottom line is, if you think your shoes could be more comfortable or attuned to your individual footprint, odds are that you're correct.