Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis

Are you convinced that no insole or orthotic ever made is going to relieve the paint of your plantar fasciitis?

It can be discouraging when you try brand after brand, and nothing seems to work. Well, don’t give up hope! As the old saying goes…

“Every nice piece of work needs the right person in the right place at the right time.”

You’re the right person, and this is the right time. Let’s scout out tips together for finding the best insoles for plantar fasciitis for you. Let’s start by taking a look in the right place: Amazon, the is the largest online retailer in the world.

By examining positive Amazon reviews and references about the pros and cons of each model of foot orthoses from real people use them, we have found the best inserts for relieving painful symptoms from plantar fasciitis.

But first, let’s look at a couple of basic questions about plantar fasciitis inserts:

What are the Benefits of Orthotic Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis Sufferers?

In short, best orthotics for plantar fasciitis and other inserts relieve the pain and discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis by realigning your foot to take pressure off your plantar fascia. That’s a sheet of strong connective tissueon the bottom of your foot. It is attached to the ball of your foot at the front end, and to a small point on your heel bone behind the foot.

A clinical study conducted by University of Teesside, England concluded significant decrease in foot pain and symptoms related to conditions like plantar fasciitis.” target=”_blank”>A clinical study conducted by University of Teesside, England concluded significant decrease in foot pain and symptoms related to conditions like plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia supports your arch and protects your foot as you walk. It is designed for strength rather than flexibility. This means that when your arch flattens more than normal, making your foot slightly longer, the plantar fascia won’t stretch; it can only pull.

This causes microtears at the heel, where a lot of force is concentrated on a relatively small point. That tearing is what you feel as the pain of plantar fasciitis. It will heal over time, but clearly the first thing to do is to relieve pressure on the plantar fascia.

This is where insoles and orthotics for plantar fasciitis come in. The best insoles for plantar fasciitis supports your arch so your foot doesn’t flatten out. It also corrects any foot pronation (inward tilting) that might also be stressing the plantar fascia. Finally, the insert cradles your foot, especially your big toe, comfortably and securely to avoid the windlass mechanism that makes walking barefoot so aggravating for people who suffer from plantar fasciitis.

How to Choose the Right Orthotic Insert for Plantar Fasciitis

Choosing the wrong orthotic can actually cause more pain. It’s important to get the right type of plantar fasciitis inserts in the first place, and then to make sure that it suits your purpose.

Plantar fasciitis shoe inserts must be accommodating or functional. That is, they cushion a sore spot and they correct abnormal function in the foot.

People with plantar fasciitis need foot correction and should go with functional orthotics for their plantar fasciitis. Studies have shown that they give plantar fasciitis sufferers a better quality of life than other inserts which simply provide cushioning.

You can buy perfectly functional and good insoles for plantar fasciitis over the counter. There are also custom models that are molded specifically for your feet. These are available by prescription from a doctor. Both do the necessary job of providing stability and correcting pronation, but don’t think that the price always means that one type is better than the other.

Believe it or not, an over-the-counter insert often works better for plantar fasciitis than the more expensive one prescribed by your doctor.

However, people who have health problems that can worsen if they get blisters or other foot irritation should consult their doctor. If you have something like diabetes or circulation problems, a custom orthotic is probably the better option for you.

Before setting out to purchase an insert, one should consider how they are going to use it. Marathon runners, for example, stress their plantar fascia in very different ways than individuals who need an orthotic because they stand all day at work. Motion control and foot stabilization are among the most important factors for a runner’s insert, while someone who stands will benefit from arch support and an elevated heel.

Whatever the purpose, all people with plantar fasciitis can agree that the best orthotic is one that is comfortable. When you go to the store, bring along the shoes you will wear your orthotic in. While you are there, try it on and walk around on it for a while.

Most people with plantar fasciitis feel quite comfortable with their insert right from the start. Some have very sensitive feet and need to break in the orthotic. This can be done either by wearing it just a little bit at first and gradually increasing the time over about two weeks or by taking the insert out of the shoe for a few hours or overnight whenever it feels uncomfortable to do so, and then putting it back in later.

Now let’s look at the three models of over-the-counter inserts that got the best reviews on Amazon. What pros and cons did their owners report?

Best Superfeet Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis

In the 1960s, Dennis Brown, an athlete, inventor, and retired British soldier, bought an orthotics lab in the state of Washington in the United States and began trying to make an improved insert. He had help from specialists from the California College of Podiatric Medicine.

He began fitting amputees with custom-molded inserts inside leather ski boots and established the Northwest Podiatric Laboratory. The new field of sports medicine appeared in the 1970s and Brown started the Superfeet company in 1977 to provide scientifically designed, affordable inserts.

Today, Superfeet and the Northwest Podiatric Lab offer a carbon fiber and polymer supportive insert that is designed to fit your heel and sole and to work with your shoe in order to give you optimal stability and support. Different models are color-coded according to the amount of support they provide.

1. Superfeet Green Premium

Superfeet Green Premium

Superfeet Green Premium

This is the Superfeet orthotic with the highest arch. It fits most roomy shoes that have a removable insole. Amazon customers give the Superfeet Green Premium high marks for its support and overall durability. People with plantar fasciitis also like the heel support. The hard plastic bottom takes some getting used to, but it is an excellent shock absorber.

Some customers feel that the arch support is set back a little further than in other makes. They say that this makes the Green Premium a better orthotic to prevent plantar fasciitis than to treat it. A few thought that it didn’t work well for all the conditions it was advertised for, but they were very happy with Superfeet’s 60-day money-back guarantee.

2. Superfeet Blue Premium

Superfeet Blue Premium

Superfeet Blue Premium

This insert is designed for people with plantar fasciitis who need only moderate support. It fits into most shoes. Like all Superfeet orthotics, the Blue Premium has a heel cup, rear foot support at the back of your arch and at the front of your heel, as well as foot stabilization. Positive reviewers find that the heel support and motion control help their plantar fasciitis, even when running. They also like how this insole can be moved from shoe to shoe.

Negative reviewers focus on the arch support, saying that it is stronger than advertised. They recommend going one support level lower that Superfeet suggests, particularly if you are a large person. Others suggest getting a size larger than what you think you need and then trimming the insert to fit.

3. Superfeet Black Premium

Superfeet Black Premium

Superfeet Black Premium

The Superfeet Black Premium has a low arch and provides light support. It fits into most shoes, including those that fit tightly. Several Amazon reviewers say that their doctor had recommended this model as one of the best shoe inserts for plantar fasciitis and that it really helped. Many report relief from pain and a good fit in everything from tennis shoes to combat boots.

Superfeet recommends this insert for those with flat feet or lower arches, but a few people feel that the Black Premium is too stiff, even after a two-week break-in period.

Best Powerstep Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis

Powerstep builds orthotic inserts for plantar fasciitis of different lengths and offers a range of sizes and cushioning levels. The company says on their website that their inserts are designed by a podiatrist to stabilize your foot and keep it in balance.

The ProTech line offers firm arch support and a deep heel cup effective in alleviating plantar fasciitis, with a medial post for motion and position control. The Pinnacle collection provides semi-rigid support and a cradle for your heel, with plenty of cushioning. Powerstep recommends both lines for people with plantar fasciitis.

1. ProTech Full Length

ProTech Met Full Length Orthotics

ProTech Met Full Length Orthotics

The ProTech insert provides strong support along the full length of the foot. There is extra cushioning on the heel in addition to the stabilization provided by the heel cup. Amazon reviewers say the ProTech Full Length is great plantar fasciitis shoe inserts because it fits into many different types of shoe and doesn’t break down in work boots. Some users report that they are so happy with it, they are also purchasing this insert for relatives with plantar fasciitis.

Some negative reviews comment on the hardness of the arch support. These customers feel it doesn’t fit their foot and one person reports developing plantar fasciitis after wearing them (this unfortunate experience underlines the importance of choosing the right type of orthotic for your foot). A few reviewers say they have had bad experiences with customer support.

2. Pinnacle Full Length Orthotic

Pinnacle Full Length Orthotic

Pinnacle Full Length Orthotic

The Pinnacle is a full-length orthotic and has two layers of cushioning on an EVA foam base. Many people who bought it through Amazon describe relief from their plantar fasciitis pain with this orthotic. Although these inserts for plantar fasciitis are well cushioned, several reviewers report that a break-in period ranging from several days to two weeks was needed, and after that, their plantar fasciitis really improved.

On the negative side, some people say that the Pinnacle is a bit too thick for some shoes. Others cite problems with the liner failing after a few weeks and say that the manufacturer told them this liner problem has cropped up recently.

3. Pinnacle Maxx Full Length Orthotic

Pinnacle Maxx Full Length Orthotic

Pinnacle Maxx Full Length Orthotic

The Pinnacle Maxx, another full-length insert, has semi-rigid arch support and a heel cradle. It offers two layers of cushioning and a firm, but flexible shell. Amazon reviewers with plantar fasciitis give this insert good reviews overall. Some say that it offers a nice balance between comfort and price. One user says the Pinnacle Maxx provided more comfort than a custom-build orthotic.

Negative reviewers mention that the insert is thick and doesn’t fit some of their shoes. Some mention that the foam wears out quickly.

Best Spenco Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis

This is one of the leading names in orthotics. Spenco Medical offers a range of inserts to meet different needs. Its Polysorb Cross Trainer is built to cushion shocks and has lightweight built-in arch and heel support. The Total Support Original offers semi-rigid arch support and the company advertises it as good for relief for plantar fasciitis pain. Spenco’s Rx Comfort provides lightweight cushioning and friction control to protect against blisters.

1. Spenco Polysorb Cross Trainer

Spenco POLYSORB® CROSS TRAINER

Spenco Polysorb Cross Trainer

This orthotic has a contoured heel cup and provides good arch support. There is extra cushioning on the heel and toe. Some Amazon users say their podiatrist recommended the Polysorb Cross Trainer for their plantar fasciitis. They like the combination of arch support and heel cushioning. The insert is reported to be durable, though some users had to trim it to fit their foot.

Negative comments vary, with some reviewers reporting the Cross Trainers are too thick and some saying they are too thin. Several people say had difficulty with the fit, particularly with the arch and heel.

2. Spenco Total Support Original

Spenco's Total Support Original

Spenco’s Total Support Original

Spenco’s Total Support Original has a forefoot crash pad, as well as areas of extra support on key areas on the sole of the foot. You can heat this insert a little bit and mold it for a better fit. The Total Support Original gets glowing reviews from people with plantar fasciitis. Several people report their plantar fasciitis went away a few weeks after trying this orthotic. Some say they have tried many different insoles and this one worked the best. Positive customers like the shock absorption and arch support. They say the insert has a medium stiffness that’s just right.

Some negative reviewers mention a toe that is too narrow for wide feet or an uncomfortable “bump” near the toe. Others describe sizing problems. A few say that the inserts wear out after a few months.

3. Spenco The RX Comfort

The Rx Comfort

The Rx Comfort

The Rx Comfort is a full-length cushion built out of Spencore cushioning material. It is available in seven sizes. One Amazon reviewer with plantar fasciitis reports using this product successfully for over 20 years, after buying two sets and cutting one set in half to provide extra heel support. Other customers like the simplicity of this insole. They say it doesn’t affect their gait or the foot’s biomechanics. Several of these reviewers also describe using two inserts in a shoe when there is room for that.

On the negative side, people who bought the Rx Comfort are unsatisfied because of the lack of support. A few think the inserts are too thin, and some reviewers report a strong chemical smell upon taking them out of the box.

Every model of over-the-counter orthotic has its pros and cons. Custom-made inserts are available, too. Here are some things to know about those.

Prescription vs Over-The-Counter Orthotic Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis

Depending on where you live and what you need, a custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis will cost anywhere from $200 to $800 or more. Is it worth it?

Plantar fasciitis custom inserts are expensive because a lot of work goes into them. First, your doctor does a biomechanical examination of your foot and assesses your gait. The next step involves making a three-dimensional cast of your foot, either in plaster or with lasers. Then, the doctor writes the prescription based on size as well as your weight, how active you are, whether you have other foot conditions that need to be considered, and what sort of shoe you will be wearing.

The orthopedic lab will then build your insert out of cork, leather, or synthetic material. This process takes approximately two weeks.

The nice thing about this process is that people with plantar fasciitis get an expert opinion about exactly what their specific problem is and how to correct it. Over-the-counter inserts for plantar fasciitis sometimes make your foot feel better for a little while without actually solving the problem. Using them may even hide a more serious problem. Why not get right to the issue and address it by going to the doctor?

Custom inserts also last much longer; three years on average. In comparison, the average life span of an over-the-counter orthotic is only six months.

However, over-the-counter inserts may be more cost effective for children and adolescents whose foot size changes quickly. As we have seen, some studies show that store-bought inserts work better for plantar fasciitis than prescription models. Some orthopedists also say that too many prescriptions are being written.

Don’t ever give up! There is an orthotic inserts for plantar fasciitis out there that can relieve your plantar fasciitis pain. It’s simply a matter of being patient, doing the research and learning from the experiences of other people to find the best insoles for plantar fasciitis that works for you.

4 Comments

  1. Warren Dewey
    April 16, 2016 at 5:35 AM · Reply

    Great education about PF insoles.
    I’m in DFW Texas… I’m having trouble with finding a retail of clinical location that carries these products. Can you help me?
    I’m near DFW airport but will travel any distance to get relief for my feet
    Thanks
    wd

  2. Pamela Brown
    July 9, 2016 at 10:16 AM · Reply

    You didn’t mention Vionics insoles or aretex( the ones I regularly wear) are they ok also?

  3. Debbie
    August 31, 2016 at 6:57 AM · Reply

    Great info. Thanks for the research you did!

  4. rachel
    September 3, 2016 at 4:17 PM · Reply

    How can i order theses insole .I have real bad planter fascistis.

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