Shoe inserts - what’s your experience? (Read 134 times)

    Have you used shoe inserts? Any cushioning ones in particular?


    I absolutely adore my Merrells, but after about 18 miles my feet scream for some cushioning. My custom orthotics have too much of a built up  heel to fit well in the Merrells. I’m trying to figure out if there’s a way I could increase the range on the Merrells for my feet.


    I’d be interested in your experience with inserts in general too. With all the advances in shoe technology, it seems strange to me that there’d be such a need for additional inserts.

      there are a bunch of threads.


      Some shoes come with decent inserts, others are flimsy or don't fit your feet well. I like most of the Brooks insoles, they get moved to my Hokas.

      I am personally under the belief that orthotics and rigid "support" insoles/inserts are damaging to your feet/body because they do not allow your foot to move naturally, and if you use them too much you're wedded to them because your foot cannot handle natural motion without the crutch it's become used to. I've used rigid "support" insoles as bandaids while recovering from injury (PF), but they began to hurt more than the injury after a while so I transitioned back to stock insoles. I think a lot of the aftermarket insoles are just a result of marketing. People who have some sort of abnormality via birth defect or injury may need a special orthotic to help prevent injury or control motion, though.


      One way to add a bit of cushioning to your Merrells would be to add another soft insole/insert under the factory insole. Believe it or not, the $10 Dr Scholl's perforated blue foam (air cooled? air gel?) are pretty good, and they are cushioned. And you'd still have the shape and fit of the factory insoles because they'd be next to your feet. I wish Saucony would make and sell an insole made of their EverRun foam for people who want a bit more cushion.


      My current favorite trail shoes for long runs are the Skechers GoTrail Ultra-4. PLENTY of cushion, and the most comfortable shoes I've ever put on my feet. No need to add any extra cushioned insoles!

      55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying


      Running Musician

        I used SuperFeet Blue insoles at the recommendation of an orthopedist when I was having ankle pain.  I was relatively new to running and my feet/ankles just needed more support.  Yes, they were heavier and less comfortable than the insoles that came with the shoe, but they alleviated my ankle pain.  Eventually, as I ran more, my ankles grew stronger and today I can run without the special insoles.  So, for me, they were a benefit.

        5k 24:47 (1/18); 4M 32:37 (2/18); 5M 42:33 (11/17); 10k 53:36 (5/18); Half 1:59:57 (9/18); Full 4:47:04 (4/17)

        Upcoming race(s): New York Marathon, 11/4/18

          You might want to consider this as well. If you put inserts/off the self insoles into your running shoes, you can also take away how and why that shoe was made. It can make your heel rise up too far and create pain, it could also make that shoe go from a 10mm drop to 12.

          When I first started running I never used inserts except the ones that came with. Then I got a pair of shoes that needed more cushion so I got some soft sole brand ones that worked great. I recently tried a different brand of shoes ( I have had new balance, under armour, saucony, asics, and mizuno.) I purchased a pair of brooks launch 4’s and tried walking around with inserts only to feel like my heel was too far up and felt funny. I took them out and put the brooks back in and they felt so much better so there goes my old inserts, don’t need them in these.

          i guess my point would be take in consideration of an insert will make the feel of a shoe different, for better or worse. I will always stick with brooks now and their inserts as they make them for a reason on the shoe and that shoe is what’s comfortable for me. Honestly, I think just finding a pair of shoes that feel and work great out of the box is the best way to do it.


            i guess my point would be take in consideration of an insert will make the feel of a shoe different, for better or worse. I will always stick with brooks now and their inserts as they make them for a reason on the shoe and that shoe is what’s comfortable for me. Honestly, I think just finding a pair of shoes that feel and work great out of the box is the best way to do it.


            fimmx:    I agree with this.     I'm assuming your Merrells are one of their minimal shoes that are 0-2 mm offset with basically no cushion and very little support.  Some people do add support/cushion to these successfully but any kind of insert could change the fit for you in different ways or take away from the minimalist feel you like..  Not sure how much time/effort you put into selecting the Merrell's or how many other brands/models you tried.  I've seen/heard of people who "stepped up"  to the next level of shoes with slightly more cushion and/or support and did not need any type of orthotic (anywhere from $50-$200 + ) or Superfeet (around $ 50).


            I have a hard time understanding using a minimal shoe & then adding to them at extra cost vs a slightly more cushioned/supportive shoe with no extra cost.  I've helped people who come into my store with minimal shoes & then spend a lot of time trying to "cram" in some kind of extra insole & then just end up extremely frustrated. Results vary. Not saying its the only answer but a lot of times they end up going to the next level of shoe successfully.  But I also understand as well that some people have issues where they need orthotics or superfeet.

            And yes there has been huge amount of advances in running shoe technology  in recent years but a minimal shoe is a minimal shoe.


            How many total miles on your Merrell's & are your orthotics full length?  There are fairly cheap heel cups with gel cushioning as well as 3/4  & full length cushioned inserts.  Spenco or Dr Scholl's  are 2 brands that come to mind & they can be found in most running shoe stores, shoe repair shops & places like Target or Fred Meyers or other places.  You will find something that works for you. good luck!

              I use this company after one of my podiatrist clients recommeneded. I have never looked back and have 3 different sets I rotate through all my shoes for the last several years. They also re-furbished one of them last year for a minimal cost. They are light, comfortable and designed for YOUR foot and EXCELLENT service.



              H-WAVE - The Very Best In Drug Free Pain Relief & Recovery

                Like most stuff here:  if you're having problems, try something else.  Applies to shoes, training plans, racing strategies, etc.  Running is pretty inexpensive, compared to other sports and hobbies.  Many budgets will support experimentation.


                I prefer to run the factory insoles but have used orthotics during injury rehab - on doctor's orders.  Superfeet Green for the rigid heel and a little wedge when I've had achilles problems, and custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis.  Those got me healthy enough to do some important races, but PT, drills, core exercises, dry needling, and some time in low support shoes are what have resolved the complaints.  Eventually something else will go wrong and I expect to use insoles again at some point in the future.


                Try something out.  Fail, and try again.

                  Thank you all. I was approaching this from the perspective of my shoes are perfect in every way except this one thing which I might be able to fix. I have to confess I have not tried a lot of different brands, it can become an expensive search. I see your point of not trying to change a shoe instead find a shoe that works. My Merrells (bare access 4) make my feet sing for joy - for about 15 miles, and then the songs switch to whines. It could very well be I need to train my feet better for longer distances, I was hoping for a gentler way to get there. I do have cushioned altra intuition 4s as well, while my toes are happier, they are not the same.


                  The shoe search will continue.

                    fimmx, many running shoe stores allow you to "test drive" shoes around the block or have a treadmill in the store.


                    From your shoe choice, I see you're still on board with the barefoot running thing. Like a lot of people, I read Born To Run and tried out minimalist running for a while. It did not work well for me, but for others it was their perfect solution. As an older runner, I've found maximalist shoes to be my solution for avoiding injury and making higher mileage days and weeks easier to achieve; mainly by avoiding injuries resulting from impact at the paces I want to run. That works for me, but everyone has their preferences and different biomechanics and abilities.


                    Altra is kind of the go-between, natural foot position and splay but with protection from impact. Maybe the solution for your long runs would be to change out from your Merrells at mile 10-12 into your Altras for the remaining 5-10 miles. You'd have to plan your route to return to a place where you change your shoes, though, some sort of double out-and-back or a figure eight.

                    55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

                      Surly Bill - I’m not into bare foot running as much as preferring zero drop shoes. I actually have not read that book, never got into it. I started running in “regular” shoes (asics) and have flirted with various nikes along the way. A zero drop responsive shoe just feels the best. I also sometimes feel guilty going into a store and trying on all the shoes they have and walking out without buying anything. If possible I try to buy something at the store to contribute.


                      For my last (and only) 50 miler, I did change into cushioned shoes at mile 25 and it made a huge difference. I’m also realising that I need to deal with a morton’s neuroma first.

                      Still kicking

                        I like the big thick cushy red Spenco walker/runner insoles you can get at Dicks or Academy. I do all my training with them now. They break in, to fit your feet, and last forever.

                        I'm also on Athlinks and Strava