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The Differences Between Memory Foam vs. Gel Insoles

Find out which of the 2 most popular materials for insoles, memory foam or gel, are better for certain circumstances and learn what their main differences are.

Joel Taylor
By Joel Taylor
Davor Štefanović - Editor for Upstep
Edited by Davor Štefanović

Updated April 4, 2023.

There are many different reasons that you might need to purchase a pair of insoles for your shoes. Perhaps you are trying to deal with some foot pain, or maybe you just feel that you need some extra support. Regardless of your reasons, you will still have to decide which material you would like your insoles to be made from.

That being said, is memory foam or gel better for insoles? Read on to find out.

Memory Foam Insoles


    • Memory foam insoles beat all other materials in terms of comfort and pressure relief.
      • They mold to the shape of your feet and provide some wonderful cushioning.


    • Exacerbate preexisting conditions Although this might feel like a great benefit at first, if you have any preexisting conditions, memory foam could potentially exacerbate them over time as they don't adjust the way your foot operates, only enhance it.

Memory foam insoles are good if all you need is a general pair for some extra cushioning and support and don't intend to use them for high-intensity exercise.

Gel Insoles


    • Shock absorption Makes them perfect for use in high-intensity exercise that involves a lot of impact stress.


    • Lack arch support They don't provide much arch support
      • Not for symptomatic treatment Gel insoles are not suitable for managing symptoms of flat feet or overpronation.

Which Insole Should You Buy?

Both gel and memory foam insoles are primarily used for giving some extra support or shock absorption, and so it really comes down to whether you are using them for general comfort or to help you during exercise. Make choosing even easier by checking out Upstep's collection of the best insoles for foot pain.

Normal Everyday Activity Orthotics

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