Best Running Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis – Flat Feet and High Arches


For runners with plantar fasciitis, taking the first step in the morning can be the most painful and searching for the best insoles is a challenging task that can leave you a bit overwhelmed and under-satisfied.


While insoles can help with a variety of foot ailments, plantar fasciitis- found most in people who run with flat feet or high arches- is the common killer to a runner’s goal. 


best insoles for plantar fasciitis

​Arches Associated with Plantar Fasciitis

Running comfortably is not the first thing we generally think about, however it would be a great advantage to know the arch structure of your foot- flat, High, or neutral.  One fourth of the bones in a human body are located your feet and should be supported properly.

The great news is that neutral arches are more efficient and chances of plantar fasciitis is less.​ Neutral arches provide an even distribution of force during impact and push off.

Runners with fallen arches normally have strong feet, however, it throws off the legs alignment and has a greater risk for pain or injury. Most adults develop fallen arches when the main arch-supporting tendon is injured and the arch lowers. 

High arches can cause you more injuries and are less than stellar shock absorbers. The design of this foot type does not allow the foot to fully touch the ground for proper support. I ran across this article  at foothealthfacts.org that states, “ people who have problems with their arches, either overly flat feet or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.”

Risk Factors for Runners

Now that you can identify your foot structure, the strain you put on there plantar fascia- stretching or tearing the ligaments- can lead to your plantar fasciitis. The common risk factors are found in runners with flat feet or high arches.

Related: Deal With Heel Pain After Running​

The structure of your foot will determine early on if you will experience the pain. Of course not everyone is built the same but flat feet have a tendency to be hereditary. High arches are not great shock absorbers and only begin to be noticed as you get older. This causes more adults to be more prone to injury during sports and exercises.

A great article, written by medical porfessionals in Wisconsin, educates patients on other risk factors such as:

  • Being over weight
  • Preforming the wrong exercises
  • Poor foot mechanics
  • Career type
  • Your age
  • Running terrain
  • Foot Overuse

Plantar Fasciitis in Fallen Arches

If your shoes are unevenly worn out on the inside, chances are you're running with fallen arches. According to a recent post by Dr. Stephen Pribut, injury to the plantar ligament- the spring in your foot- is usually found in an injury to posterior tibial tendon.

The posterior tibial tendon is one of the most important tendons of the leg that supports your foot when you run, mainly the arch stability. Overtime, the impact you place on your foot- running, jumping, even being overweight- can cause a collapse leaving you with little to no arches. 

Plantar Fasciitis insoles

Knowing how flat your feet are can also help you decide on the best insoles for your foot type. According to the medical professionals in wisconsin, “Arch supports are especially useful in the treatment of adolescents whose rapid foot growth may require a new pair of arch supports one or more per season.For patients with plantar fasciitis, the most common prescription is for semi-rigid, three-quarters to full-length orthotics with longitudinal arch support”

Treatments for Runners with Plantar Fasciitis

Usually, runners who develop plantar fasciitis want to know if there are any types of at home treatments available to get rid of the pain.

This will vary depending on the amount of pain you experience and your body type- a doctor, or physical therapist, may suggest that you wear a night splint as you sleep. This helps hold the plantar fascia in place, stretching your calf and the arch of your foot.

Others may send you home with a prescription for ibuprofen and recommend that you step on a bag of frozen vegetables. Here are a few of the recommended treatments for runners to manage plantar fasciitis pain:

  • Modifying activity. Runners should consider shorter run times or lowering intensity levels during training.
  • Plantar Fascia Injections. This can be done with or without professional guidance but is usually suggested after trying more conservative approaches.
  • Shock Therapy. Extra-corporeal Shock-Wave Therapy can be an avenue for more chronic levels of plantar fasciitis, approved by the FDA, proven to be safe and effective.
  • Stretching Exercises. Physical Therapy is the second level of suggested treatment targeting the Achilles tendons and calf muscles. The wall, stair, and towel stretches are the most techniques for runners with plantar fasciitis.

Choosing the Right Insole for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis, depending on the on the amount of pain, can take up to two years to cure. In some cases, the pain can return and you need to begin the process again.

Considering that bit of information, you want to invest in a insole that has a life span of 1-2 years.

Heel cushions are a great way to soften the shock your foot absorbs and is considered the first line of relief. A common mistake you should try to avoid is shopping by price to heal the pain. However, if you are looking into custom insoles they can be as expensive as $800.

  • Soft heel pads contain a fat pad found in younger children before foot growth.
  • Using a heel lift helps to shift pressure to the fore foot.
  • ​Can be designed to disperse weight evenly
  • Provide extra shock absorption
  • Reduces strain on the arch
  • Hard Plastic offers better under foot support than softer materials

Quick Look: Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis- Flat Feet

Insole Name

Quality

Price Range

Rating

A-

$$

A+

$$$

A

$$$

Sole Softec Response 

The Sole Softech Response's specific design caters to runners who need balance and stability. It's hard plastic offers good support for high arches before they collapse. It is ranked in the top 100 in foot health on amazon and a portion of every sale goes to charity.

Average Review Rating

4.8
TheInsoleStore.com
4.1
REI.com

What to Expect​...

These are semi- rigid insole that may need to be heated in the microwave or oven to get the right molding on your foot. The arch support reliefs the pressure from the ball of your foot. You can use these is a variety of shoes but may need trim ​for specialty made shoes. They have been considered better than Nike insoles. 

Key Features

  • Thin Layer
  • Opti-therm indicator
  • Softech open cell cushioning
  • Polygiene permanent active odor control
  • Custom orthopedic support
  • Equalized pressure distribution
  • Contains no animal products or byproducts

What People Say

Mike Barish at Gadling.com did a review on the sole and this is what he had to say:

The SOLE Softec Response Footbeds do everything that the company promises. While the price seems high, the footbeds are said to last for roughly a year. If you extend the life of a pair of shoes for another twelve months, $45 may be much cheaper than buying a new pair of shoes. 
​Click here to read more reviews on Amazon.com

Powerstep Slim-Tech

The PowerStep Slim-Tech 3/4 cushioned insoles enhance comfort from heel to the ball of the foot. The isnole is best fit for shoes with less depth in the toe area. The design is versatile enough to fit a variety of shoes which is great news for runners.

Average Review Rating

4.5
FootSmart.com
4.8
TheInsoleStore.com
4.7
Zappos.com

What to Expect​...

​The SlimTech Offers great support for your overpronation. It's unique design has a heel cradle and platform that protects the heel when it strikes the ground. Flat feet tend to be wide so getting used to the narrow design might cause some discomfort. If That is the case, only wear them for a couple of hours a day until you get accustomed.

Key Features​

  • Semi-rigid 
  • Ultra thin design
  • Variable cushioning technology
  • anti-microbial fabric
  • Non-slip heel padding
  • Tapered edges
  • Fabric sole

What People are Saying​

In a review at the TheInsoleStore.com, Sailor Girl explains how she felt a difference in her flat feet: ​

​I inherited flat feet from my dad but never had pain, although it was not always easy to find tennis shoes that didn't hit the arch in the wrong spot. Several months ago I managed to completely flatten my right foot and was experiencing arch and ankle pain when walking. The same ankle I broke 20 years ago. I have some ankle pronation as well. The only relief I found was taping with copious amounts of tape, which was not a permanent solution. My New Balance shoes were now extremely painful to walk in. I started looking on the Internet for a solution that did not involve expensive custom insoles. After looking through this site and an online chat with one of their customer service folks I decided on the 3/4 Powerstep Slim Tech's since my newest pair of walking shoes do not have a removable insole. I am impressed. I have had them 3 weeks now and what a difference! I am able to walk 5k without pain. I even wore them with my Sperrys. I plan on ordering the Powerstep pinnacle full insole to replace the factory ones in my New Balance shoes.
Click Here to Read More Reviews on Amazon.com

Superfeet Blue Premium

Superfeet blue brings long lasting relief to a runners flat feet. It's design has a thinner insole to fit a wider range of shoes and naturally absorb impact on surfaces, like sidewalks and paved roads.

Average Review Rating

4.8
TheInsoleStore.com
4.3
DicksSportingGoods.com

What to expect

Expect this to be a fit if you are flat footed. They will give you moderately more support/less soreness, though they won't don't eliminate soreness- they're no magic bullet. ​

Key Features

  • NXT anti-bacteria coating
  • Durable construction
  • Medium arched insole
  • Latex free
  • Stabilizer cap
  • High Density Foam
  • Bio-mechanical shape

What people say

Jenny left a review after she was able to run and play tennis without PF pain:​

I had plantar fasciitis a couple of years ago and I had to take a break to let it heal (took about a year). To my horror, I started feeling the pain again 2 weeks ago. I heard about superfeet, and ordered the blue one because I have lower arches. They are just what I needed. This past weekend I did a 7-mile run and played tennis without any hint of my plantar fasciitis pain. I will buy more. Even better is the fact that I'm a size 8 so I didn't even have to cut the insole and it fit perfectly in my sneakers.

​In California, a review was made by a gentleman purchasing a pair from a DicksSportingGoods.com:

After much research and trying different insole products I finally came across the Superfeet brand at Dick's (with the help of a member of the excellent sales staff). I started with the green inserts and wore them for a couple of weeks. Turned out they were not quite the right fit. After more investigating and checking out the Superfeet products on the Dick's website I decided on the blue insoles. They're working out great. I don't have a high arch so these are doing the trick. Definitely helps to alleviate the pain and discomfort of heel spurs and plantar faciitis​
Click here for more reviews on Amazon.com

Quick Look: Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis- High Arches

Insole Name

Quality

Price Range

Rating

A+

$$

A-

$$$

A

$$$

Superfeet Green Premium

For 35 years, Superfeet founders Dennis and Chris, have stayed true to making some of the best insoles for runners- they didn't let us down with the green premium. It's distinct shape helps adapt the mid-sole of your shoe to your foot.

Average Review Rating

4.5
REI.com
4.5
DicksSportingGoods.com

What to Expect

You can expect it to take up to 3 weeks for your feet to adjust and the life span to last at least a year before your next pair. According to superfeet.com, the green premium "Features the widest and deepest heel cup that offers maximum support and can help with natural shock absorption." 

Key Features

  • Synthetic
  • Heavy duty shock absorbtion
  • Deep heel cup 
  • All natural coating to eliminate bacteria
  • Durable Construction
  • Made for high arches

What People Say

Peter Glenn give a nice review for superfeet and how he explains it to his ski students:

Click here for more reviews on Amazon.com

Powerstep Pinnacle Maxx

The Pinnacle Maxx is designed with it's signature style and allows you to have better arch support with a firmer shell. What's great is that it is not as bulky as other high arch insoles.

Average Review Rating

4.8
TheInsoleStore.com
4.5
FootSmart.com

What to Expect

For runners with wide feet this may not be a good fit. Expect these insole to take pressure off of your arch and help with pro-nation as the heel has a tilt. As a side note- It may take a month to get used to as well.  

​Key Features

  • Variable Cushion Technology
  • EVA foam base
  • Full length
  • Heat and friction reducer
  • anti-microbial fabric
  • Angled exterior heel platform

What People Say

Dr. Matthew Neuhaus explains the difference between the two Powerstep brands and their affect on your plantar fascia:

Click here to read more reviews on Amazon.com

Sof Sole High Arch Fit

The company, founded in 1991, has designed some great footwear accessories including the high arch fit. As part of a series, the high arch delivers support for a nice range of motion. What is even cooler is that it has helped correct running form for some people.



Average Rating Review

4.1
TheInsoleStore.com
4.5
DicksSportingGoods.com

What to Expect

​These could be a great improvement to your feet's soreness at the end of the day. There are lighter and yet more supportive than most custom orthotics. The flexibility is very small but enough to feel a difference in your run. These are going to feel uncomfortable at first if you are using them with flat feet- This Is Normal! 

Key Features

  • EVA foam
  • Nylon stability plate
  • Polyester mesh topsheet
  • Thin cushion
Click here to read more reviews on Amazon.com



















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