As the adage goes, no pain, no gain – a saying especially true for high heels. After all, what other accessory can so expertly combine feminine grace with the kind of fierce sophistication a pair of classy stilettos help you pull off?
Perhaps that is why, more often than not, we stoically choose to suffer the consequences of having a pair on for any prolonged period of time – sore feet, blisters, and toes that have had the life squeezed out of them.
But these are just the short-term consequences. If high heels feature heavily in your daily life, any podiatrist would likely point out the problems you may come to face in the long run, if adequate preventive measures are not taken.
Thankfully, we don’t have to fall into the old trope of suffering for fashion. Picking the right shoe insoles can greatly improve the whole high heel experience – so we’ve shortlisted our top picks to get your started.
Dr. Foot’s Arch Support Insoles
Popular among podiatrists and fashionistas alike, you are sure to find at least one mention of these in any well-researched list of recommendations for shoe inserts. These gel-based insoles are sturdy, durable, and above all comfortable, cushioning how well your feet sit inside your shoes.
Available in adhesive pockets you stick on inside your shoe, they come with arch support to help redistribute pressure so it’s evenly divvied down your feet, rather than concentrated towards your toes. The cushiony inserts help your feet sit snugly inside your high heels, so you don’t have to experience the discomfort of abrasion or blisters, and come with additional support to keep the balls of your feet in place, so they don’t slide down and crush your toes because of the elevation.
Not only are they great for alleviating the stress we put on our feet – and in effect, our whole body – when wearing high heels, they are also incredibly convenient to use. The medical-grade polyurethane packets come with an adhesive stick-on side, making them easy to transfer and reposition in different pairs of shoes, and can be cleaned up with ease. The brand recommends, though, to ensure your shoes are roomy enough to accommodate them as cramped shoe-space can also cause foot disorders and physiological problems.
STAR BUDGET PICK
High Heels Insoles By Envelop
These inexpensive one-size insoles are designed specifically to provide arch support for heels 2 inches or higher. The thin gel-based padding sits discreetly in the foot-bed of your shoe, leaving plenty of room for you to slip it on snugly. The cushiony texture is a blessing for breaking in new shoes, while the arch is designed specifically to redistribute pressure evenly through the pads of your feet. These insoles are also formulated to absorb shock, so you can walk around with ease without worrying about getting yourself injured for the sake of style.
These are comfortable to wear day or evening and are sleek, slim and very comfortable. The length is also designed to help support the balls of your feet, so they don’t slip down and scrunch up your toes. A great product to combat foot pain such as plantar fasciitis, flat feet, painful arches, etc.
Scarlet Ball To Heel Cushion: Lush Shoe Insert
Long, ultra-thin pads that fit into all shoe sizes, these insoles are structured specifically for high heels, but work just as well with flats. The cushion combines fabric, to absorb sweat and provide enough friction to keep your feet slipping about in your shoes, as well as synthetic gel for adequate heel and arch support and to absorb shock. The cushion lining makes them perfect to use for breaking in new shoes.
As the name suggests, these insoles give your feet a lush pampering no matter how elevated your heels are, and are equally convenient to use. The fabric can be hand-washed with warm water to get multiple uses out of it, and the adhesive lets you pull out and position the insert in different pairs of shoes with minimal fuss.
Slim Metatarsal Ball of Foot Inserts
These multipurpose insoles do everything you demand of them – offer arch support for high-heels and flats, are unisex, and can be repositioned depending on your needs, be it to cushion the balls of your feet or prevent blisters. The polyurethane gel cushions are soft enough to snugly fit and support the natural arch of your sole, creating a massaging effect to relieve the stresses of walking in heels and absorbing any otherwise damaging shocks. Positioned under the balls of your feet, they also have the appropriate grip to keep your feet from slipping around in your shoes.
Choosing the Best Women’s Insoles for Heels
High heels can instantly elongate our legs, tie together anything from jeans to dresses, and give a boost to our confidence while they’re at it. Insoles are one-stop answers to a lot of the problems we face with heels – the trick is to pick the right ones.
The more inches you add to your stilettos, the higher up you’re elevating your heels, pushing more pressure lower down your feet, toward your toes. This makes for uneven posture, and, if not tended to, can even lead to muscle or tissue damage. You may find your foot slipping inside the shoe, scrunching up your toes, and adding the stress of your entire body mass to the tips of your feet. It’s a no-brainer that this spells all kinds of trouble for your back, joints, posture, and more.
The best insoles are structurally reinforced to be both self-adjusting to the arch of your feet, as well as comfortable enough to let you wear throughout the day. Gel-based inserts are the most popular options for these, with silicone pads offering both a soft cushiony layer to keep your skin getting roughed up, as well as the resilience to absorb shock and distribute pressure evenly down your feet.
This doesn’t mean we recommend using just any gel-based inserts – the best options are insoles specifically structured to adjust to the shape of your feet and offer the right support. If not, the inadequate pressure can cause more harm than good.