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The Best Running Insoles of 2024

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One of the best things about today’s running landscape is the abundance of shoe options. While the variance of modern footwear makes it easier to find a perfect fit, dialing in the right fit can still be a challenge — this is where running insoles come in. The best running insoles can transform a shoe (or a full stable of shoes) by providing a more specialized fit, which will result in a more comfortable ride, better long term support and a reduction in running-related injuries.

Given the abundance of brands and shoe options, you’d be right to think that brands spent time perfecting the insole. However, almost all running shoes come with the exact same insole regardless of the shoe’s intended use. If you took the insoles out of all the shoes we’ve tested over the years, you’d probably find that the only real distinction between them is the branding. 

While this one-size-fits-all approach works for most, a majority of athletes will benefit from an insole that more accurately matches their foot shape or running gait. Find the right insole, and you should notice relief up and down the body, from the hips and back to ankles and heels. 

To demystify the process and provide some helpful insight, we tested some of the best running insoles you can buy, testing them over dozens of runs across various surfaces and distances. Read on to see our picks for the top running insoles, or skip ahead to our buyer’s guide, comparison chart, and frequently asked questions.

Best Running Insoles of 2024

Best Overall Running Insoles

  • Materials
    Foam, Carbon Fiber
  • Arch Sizes
    Low, Medium, High
  • Best for
    Runners that prefer firm support

  • Deep heel cup for a stable fit

  • Carbon fiber arch makes for snappy, responsive energy return

  • Molds to optimal foot shape after just a few runs


  • Can take a few runs to get used to, especially for high-arched runners

  • Carbon fiber may be too firm for some runners

Best Bargain Insoles

  • Materials
    Foam
  • Arch Sizes
    One Size
  • Best for
    Multi-sport and road running

  • Greatly reduce the effects of hard impact

  • Offers shock absorption throughout entire foot

  • Made to excel in any sport or activity


  • Not ideal for underpronators

  • Some may prefer more substantial arch support

Most Well-Rounded Running Insoles

  • Materials
    Foam, Bamboo, Plastic
  • Arch Sizes
    Low, Medium, High
  • Best for
    Runners who want versatility for all run types

  • Perforated foam is highly breathable

  • Decoupled heel cup allows for wide range of motion

  • Targeted cushioning in forefoot and heel provide ample shock absorption


  • Some may prefer stiffer arch support

Best Moldable Running Insoles

  • Materials
    Recycled Cork
  • Arch Sizes
    One Size (moldable for personalized fit)
  • Best for
    Everyday wear

  • Quickly molds to any foot shape

  • Comes in 14 different sizes, ranging from M3/W5-M16/W18

  • More breathable in hot conditions than foam insoles


  • Molding the footbed takes some extra effort up front

  • May be too wide for narrow running shoes

Most Grippy Running Insoles

  • Materials
    Foam (up to 85% recycled)
  • Arch Sizes
    Low Profile, Arch Support, Max Cushion
  • Best for
    Trails, workouts or sports with lateral movement

  • Stay firmly in place, even with intense lateral movement

  • Multiple thickness options for personalized support


  • Not the best for those with high arches

  • High-mileage runners may want more stiff support

Running Insoles Comparision Chart

How We Tested Running Insoles

In order to get the most comprehensive results and detailed insights, the GearJunkie team tested a wide variety of insoles across multiple surfaces and distances. 

Our lead tester, Will Porter, is a lifelong runner. His high school 400m races and endless laps around the soccer pitch led him to pursue endurance running in his 30s. He’s been a regular running insole evangelist for well over a decade, having been fit for a pair at a running shop in his late teens and never turning back. 

He has run various races in the past few years, ranging from trail half marathons in Joshua Tree to the fortuitous opportunity to race the Boston Marathon in 2023. His current training is geared around a local road half marathon and his first-ever 50k, so running surfaces varied from pavement to singletrack during test runs. 

When considering what type of insoles specifically work for him, he’s after firm arch support first and foremost but is happy to accept some extra cushion when it presents itself. He has a past littered with knee problems, so finding a pair that adequately supports his arches and supination is paramount. Testing moldable cork insoles and foam-only insoles, for example, was a new experience, but he’ll do anything to immediately ditch the insoles that come standard in his running shoes. 

What are insoles for?

You’ve made it this far, but you still may be wondering: why exactly would I need a pair of insoles? Don’t my shoes come with them? All running shoes do, indeed, come with insoles. However, 95% of the time, these insoles are thin, cheap, floppy pieces of foam that don’t really do much aside from providing a touch point between the foot and the midsole. 

While a running shoe can be advertised as “plush” or “responsive,” it can’t adapt to the wide spectrum of foot shapes. That’s where insoles come into play. They take a shoe that is made for the masses and turn it into a shoe that actually fits the individual. 

Comfort

As we mentioned before, most factory insoles are barely-there strips of foam that aren’t even glued down. (It’s almost like brands know that most runners will want to add their own insoles.) To really get the most from the comfort features that are baked into the actual design and construction of your shoes, you’ll want to add your own insoles. They’ll be made with more substantial foam, usually have targeted cushioning and will provide long-lasting comfort over hundreds of miles, something factory insoles could never do. 

Support and Stability

Is your foot as flat as a piece of plywood? No. High arches, low arches, over- or under-pronation; factory insoles simply aren’t made to support the needs of the individual. To optimize your stride and support any natural anomalies within your running gait, you need a pair of insoles that actually address your foot’s shape and features.

Insoles come in various sizes, shapes, and stiffnesses, and are backed by scientific research into pedal function. Dialing in the correct insole leads to a more comfortable shoe, more speed and more endurance. 

Injury Prevention

Not only will you be faster and feel more refreshed when using the right insole, but you’ll be less prone to injury. They’re not a panacea for all running ailments, but by adding comfort and adding structural support, they can reduce the risk of plantar fasciitis, back pain, knee pain, heel pain, and a multitude of other common injuries that often plague runners. 

Buyer’s Guide: What to look for in a pair of running insoles

Arch Support

When you’re looking to buy the pair of insoles that will suit you best, knowing what type of arch profile you have is a great place to start. Most insoles are tailored to a runner’s specific arch height, providing support and helping correct over or under pronation. Our favorite pair of insoles for running, the Superfeet Run Support, for example, come in low, medium, and high arch sizes. 

Running with properly shaped insoles will help stabilize your feet and reduce the risk of strain on your back, knees, ankles, and feet. Along with pain management and injury prevention, supportive insoles will simply be more comfortable, allowing you to run further and faster. 

Firm Feedback vs. Supple Cushion

After testing various insoles, we’ve concluded that most fall into one of two categories: Firm and responsive or soft and supple. If you love a shoe with maximal cushioning and a huge stack height, like the Hoka Bondi, you may not see much of a difference with a plush, foamy insole. Conversely, a rigid insole with lots of energy return could fall flat if paired with a carbon-plated super shoe. 

To get the most from an insole, our testers recommend choosing an insole that will complement a shoe’s best qualities, rather than double down on what it’s already good at. We think of our insoles as the yin to our running shoes’ yang, but we won’t stop you if that extra 3mm of foam will make your cloud-like trainers even more cushy. 

Moldability

The foam portion of just about any insole will eventually break in and mold to the shape of your foot. However, some insoles are designed to be molded to your feet right away via heat molding, similar to a pair of ski boots. This can result in an extremely well-fitting insole with almost no effort or break-in period required, a boon for those who want to feel instant comfort straight out of the box.

Not all insoles are made to be heat-molded, though, so make sure you double-check before popping them in the oven — the last thing you want to do is fill your home with the smell of burnt foam. 

Insole Size and Thickness

One thing we learned during our testing period was that the volume of a particular insole can vary greatly from brand to brand. Every pair we tested was designed to be universal, but if you’re loyal to a particular shoe brand, you may realize that your preferred insoles aren’t as compatible with your go-to kicks as others.

We recommend putting them to the test around the house before logging any hard miles to make sure they’ll properly settle into your shoe’s footbed. There’s nothing worse than getting out the door and realizing that your fresh insoles fit your foot but don’t actually fit in your shoes.

FAQ

Different runners have different needs, but our top pick for almost anyone seeking a high-quality insole for running is the Superfeet Run Support insole. They come in multiple arch sizes and can easily be cut to fit any type of running shoe, whether that’s a wide, voluminous trainer or a narrow, speed work shoe. 

If you’re a runner looking to simply add some comfort and support to your daily efforts that a factory insole cannot provide, our next choice is the Currex RunPro — a breathable, minimal insole that packs a high-tech punch. Ultimately, the choice is a personal one, but we think adding a nice pair of insoles is almost always better than sticking with the flimsy ones that come with a new pair of running shoes.

Buying insoles may seem like an unnecessary cost after splashing cash on some new runners, but we think almost everyone could benefit from snagging a pair, even if you just grab one pair to swap between pairs of shoes (yes, you should have more than one pair of running shoes). 

Almost anything will be more supportive and comfortable than the one-size-fits-all factory insoles. If you hate the idea of buying a pair of insoles, we recommend the Tracksmith Eliot Runner, a fantastic pair of shoes that come with a comfy, supportive, and, most of all, replaceable Pebax insole.

The short answer is yes, you can use an insole in any running shoe. However, some are more accommodating than others. Most shoes, whether they’re suited for daily miles or speed work, will have insoles that can easily be removed and replaced with a more substantial pair. 

We did notice that many popular racing shoes, like the Nike Alphafly, come with insoles that are glued down, which can make swapping insoles a nuisance at best and downright sticky and impossible to work with at their worst. You can stack an insole on top of the factory insole, but keep in mind that this could affect the overall fit of your shoes. 

We tested the best running shoes of 2024 with options for every budget. Top picks include HOKA, Brooks, and more!

Before you give up on a pair of shoes because they hurt your feet, try lacing them based on this super-handy chart.



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