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So you’ve finally found yourself a pair of shoes that fit…at least mostly. Or maybe they just look awesome. Either way, after wearing them for a day, your feet are screaming in protest. They aren’t supportive, they have an odd shape, they have no cushion…the list of what can be wrong with a shoe is endless. Luckily for us, there is a single solution that can fix almost every shoe problem! As long as your shoe is the right length and width, finding one of the best insoles for overweight people can turn your sad, toe-crushers into a pair of Rolls Royces!
Whether you call them insoles or inserts (there’s no difference, really…), they typically have 3 uses:
- They add comfort for shoes that have insufficient padding (like most dress shoes)
- They provide additional support if your shoe has insufficient support for your foot shape (maybe you have flat or super high arches)
- They replace worn out insoles to give a shoe new life and usefulness (I’m cheap and try to bring my shoes back from the dead)
It may come as a surprise that there are many different types of insoles. If you’ve ever strolled down the aisle at a local store and just grabbed a pair to stick in your shoes, they probably hurt your feet worse than having no insole at all! Now, they didn’t hurt your feet because they were bad insoles – you just bought the wrong ones! They could have been the wrong firmness, had the incorrect heigh of the arch, etc.
So before buying a pair of insoles, ask yourself, are you looking for extra cushioning, or more support? If your heels or the balls of your feet are sore after spending a day walking or standing on a hard floor, you probably just need some extra cushioning. If so, you are lucky. Cushioning insoles tend to be the cheapest, and most good brands will provide you with relief.
If, however, at the end of the day your arches are aching, your back hurts, you have shooting pain in your legs, etc. then you probably need a bit more than some heel pillows. You need a supportive insole. A differently shaped insole can change your walking gait and your standing posture which, in turn, can drastically reduce the pain you feel at the end of the day. Many people have even gone from hating time on their feet to feeling like walking is pleasant again!
While insoles of this variety tend to be harder to find (because you need one that fits your specific foot geography), we have found some of the best ones that work for the majority of people. If you’re in a hurry to get some foot relief, here are our favorites!
“The Best Insoles For Overweight People”
Before we take an in-depth look at our top recommendations, let’s have a word about a ploy from the “insole industry” that you may have fallen for. Here’s the truth: there is not a best insole for boots, a best insole for running, or even a best insole for overweight people. If you find an insole that is adequate for your foot type, it will be great in your boots. It will be awesome in your running shoes, and it will be awesome if you gain weight. While you might want slightly more cushion if you’re running or slightly more support in your dress shoes, what an insole is designed for is less important overall than it simply fitting your foot.
With that being said, let’s discuss the best insoles for overweight people! Or, more truthfully, the best insoles for your foot type and needs, whether you’re overweight or not:
The Most Popular Supportive Insole for Big Guys
While you were reading about the difference between the two types of insoles, I’m sure you were thinking, “What if I want both?” Well, would you believe that there is an insole that does just that? And does it very well, too! After all, why would a product considered to be the best insole for big people only do half a job? The Powerstep Pinnacle is a full-length, orthotic insole that provides excellent arch support as well as added cushioning for comfort.
This sole is an excellent choice for heavy people who need arch support, as its stiff base will keep you from compressing it all the way on a step. Topped off with foam and an anti-microbial layer, it’s probably not hard to see why this our #1 recommendation. Not to mention that it has some of the best reviews (and fewest negatives) of any insole on the market!
The Best Inserts For Flat Feet and Boots
If you have flat feet, you probably don’t want overly intense arch support. If you get a high-arch insole, your arches will end up more sore than having no insole at all because it will feel like you’re walking on a rock. Rather, you need something that is supportive but not aggressive. You need Physix Gear Soles. These are the number #1 selling insole online with literally thousands of positive reviews. It is made with medical-grade materials, so it is super durable for people who are overweight or who spend a lot of time on their feet.
Remember when we said you may need to try several types of insoles before you find one that works for you? Well, this is an excellent first choice because it is 100% risk-free! If they don’t work out for you, simply contact Physix Gear and they will refund you. If that’s not a testament to their quality, then I don’t know what is!
As an added bonus, these are some of the most affordable, supportive insoles on the market and most people end up buying several pairs so they can have one in each of their shoes. I wear dress shoes to work every day, and since I have several pairs, this is the affordable insole that I’ve chosen to put in all of them. On a side note, if you are a big guy in the market for a wide and well-fitting dress shoe, you can find that article here!
The Best Inserts For Walking and Standing On Concrete
Does your job have you out pounding the pavement all day in boots? Or maybe standing on a concrete floor packing orders? Or maybe you’re stomping around a construction site in steel toe boots? Either way, everyone can benefit from a little extra cushion. If your feet are routinely sore after a day of work (or play), then I’m sure the idea of Massaging Gel is a pleasant one.
Dr. Scholl’s WORK insole is specifically designed to add an unprecedented level of comfort to your shoes. The firm, but cushioning gel heel provides adequate support for lots of miles and work. This is the most affordable insert on our list, and one that you can probably find at local stores if you don’t feel like ordering online!
The Best Shoe Inserts for Walking and Running
If someone with feet that are “fine” asks us if they need an insert, the Samurai is typically the one that we recommend. It doesn’t require cutting, it doesn’t have rock hard arches that might not fit, and it has changed the lives of thousands of people who though their feet were fine!
The Samurai is made to fit under your existing insole and simply provides some extra cushioning and protection for your heel, while also helping to correct your gait. If you have uneven wear from your feet rolling in or out while you walk, then these might be the answer! This is the pair of insoles that I keep in my minimalist running shoes, just to have a little extra cushioning to protect my heel and joints!
Why do some people hate the insole that others love?
If you took the time to read reviews on some of the above insoles, you may have noticed that people have extremely strong and differing opinions on how good or effective an insole is. If you didn’t take the time to read some reviews (you should), then check out these two reviews of the same insole:
As an electrician at the job site I would consistently look for work around knee level to give me an excuse to kneel and get off my feet. For years I’ve put up with heel pain after about 4 hours on my feet, even with nice timberlands or equivalent work boot.
Now, these aren’t magic, but I could immediately make it 6 or 7 hours and by the time the pain gets unbearable its time to call it for the day.
Something I’ve noticed is the recovery time after the work day is much faster. After getting off my feet in the car ride home my feet feel normal again.
I know there is something clearly wrong with my feet and I should see a specialist but these will help my drag it out a little longer, maybe even correct the issue as I have noticed less and less pain every week since I’ve used these. I’m very fortune for these insoles.
Update: I originally bought this in July of 2017, it is now January of 2019. I no longer have foot pain. I continue to wear these, swapping them out as needed. Reading my original review seems surreal now. I can’t imagine living with daily foot pain. I can still remember kicking my work boots off at lunch and rubbing my feet to make it through the rest of the day. I’m very grateful for these insoles and hope these can help you too.
I am on my feet 12 hours a day, 7 days a week working which includes a lot of standing around, walking around, lifting, etc.
My boots are thick leather and steel toe. The insoles that came with them were better than these.
These insoles are extremely thin. My heels and the sides of my feet hurt constantly. The do not breathe and smell awful (I clean my feet every day and use foot powder to keep them dry).
I’ve only been using them for 2 weeks and they feel like they’re worn out.
I would not recommend these. Get something with more support and thicker padding. These insoles have neither.
I hope this was helpful, I’ll be putting back in my original insoles.
So, who is right? Well, honestly, both people are right in a way. One found an insole that worked for them, and one didn’t. It’s not that the insole itself is bad, every person just needs one that matches the needs of their foot. If you get one that does, you’ll get relief and comfort. If not, you’ll be hating life.
Custom vs. off the shelf inserts
If you have significant foot pain, you may have debated getting custom inserts made. If you have looked into it, you probably have reservations and came to this article for the same reason most people do: you can’t stomach the idea of shelling out hundreds of dollars to have custom inserts made. While I am not a doctor (and don’t play one on TV), my experience has told me that many people can get as-good, if not better, results from over the counter products, provided you can find the right pair. You may have to try several different types of insoles before one works but, when you find it, you’ll know. If you read through enough insole reviews you’ll probably see the same message again and again:
“I was in so much pain that I had custom inserts made. They were terrible. I had to switch them from shoe to shoe and, after a month, I didn’t bother doing that any more because they hurt my feet so bad. These inserts were 1/10th the price and my feet feel so much better….”Conglomerate Customer
Now, this is not to say that there aren’t situations where custom orthotics are necessary, but if money is a concern, you can have success pursuing over the counter options.
Parting Tip: Persist Through the Pain…Maybe.
Even if you have found the absolute best insoles for your feet, you will likely have a painful period where your feet acclimate. Think about it, if your arches have been aching because you have flat feet and wear flat shoes, as soon as you have significant support under them, they will have to get used to being in a new shape. Typically the break-in pain goes away within a couple of days. In general, this will mean nothing more than sore arches or a moderate amount of foot pain. If it is anything more severe, you may have chosen the wrong insole and should find another, or seek professional help.
I hope this article has been helpful! Now that we’ve increased our knowledge, scroll back up and make an informed decision from our chart about which one is for you…and then go get it! You just might find the best insoles for overweight people…or just the best insoles for you. Good luck!
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Last update on 2020-09-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API