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Foot Health Blog

Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
 A pair of hiking boots with insoles standing upright inside of them, placed next to an orange tent on a patch of grass.
Arch7 Best Insoles for Hiking Boots—Get Arch Support for Long WalksWhile many people aren't bothered about the insoles in their shoes, athletes, runners, and hikers need all the extra support and comfort they can get. The average hiker wants a firm, supporting insole in their hiking boots to guarantee a pain-free experience during and after hiking. When you're faced with many choices, you may choose the wrong insole on a whim. To avoid such an uninformed guess, we have carefully selected seven insoles for you to consider. Let’s look at their benefits and differences. Top 7 Hiking Boots Insoles Recommended by Expert Hikers Best Overall Insoles: Upstep Fitness Walking & Hiking Custom OrthoticsBest Stabilizing Insoles: Superfeet Trailblazer ComfortBest Thick Insoles: SOLE Active ThickBest Firm Insoles: Protalus M-100 EliteBest Shock-Absorbing Insoles: Tread Labs PaceBest Pain-Relieving Insoles: URthotics Comfort Best Foam Insoles: FitMyFoot Black Full-Length 1. Best Overall Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsCustom-made by top podiatristsComfort and extra cushioningFSA and HSA Eligible180-day money-back guarantee ConsShort waiting period Upstep Fitness Walking and Hiking Custom Orthotics are custom-made to fit your feet for the utmost in comfort and support. Professional podiatrists custom-make each set of insoles with the help of customer-supplied foot impression kits, premium materials, and state-of-the-art machinery. If you put Upstep insoles in your hiking boots, you won't have to worry about blisters or sore feet no matter how rough the terrain gets. Furthermore, what's the deal here? If you try Upstep insoles and aren't completely satisfied with the results, you can get your money back within 180 days. Buying a pair of Upstep insoles is a win-win proposition. 2. Best Stabilizing Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsMedium to high arch supportStabilize foot on different terrainsHeel impact technologyConsNeeds to be trimmed to fit shoesShifts around causing hot spotsSqueaky noiseCostly compared to alternatives Superfeet Trailblazer Comfort insoles often have a deep heel cup and medium to high arch support to stabilize the foot on different terrain. Invariably, this reduces the stress on the feet, ankles, knees, and lower back. Superfeet insoles are cushioned well enough to make the foot comfortable. They also have heel impact technology for optimal energy transfer during difficult ascents and descents. Unfortunately, they sometimes squeak and shift around in the boots as they may not fit properly, causing hot spots and blisters. However, they are trimmable to achieve fitting. » Do you need insoles for other sporting activities? Discover the best arch support insoles for running and cycling shoes 3. Best Thick Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsCushioned footbedBuilt-in metatarsal padDifferent sizes available ConsToo thick for other shoesNot custom-madeDoes not fit all foot arches SOLE Insoles have been clinically proven to be effective store-bought insoles, reducing the loading of the foot. Apart from a well-cushioned footbed, SOLE Active Thick insoles have a built-in metatarsal pad to increase the cushioning of the feet and forefoot comfort. SOLE Insoles come in varying sizes and are suitable for most arch heights, ensuring one with a natural foot arch. They also fit well in hiking boots and are an affordable option. 4. Best Firm Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsFirm insole for pain relief and comfortMaximum alignmentDifferent sizes availableConsShort-lived usage Flatten out after regular useMay not find the correct size While not specific for hiking, the Protalus M-100 Elite insole provides maximum alignment and support for all kinds of activities. It has a firm insole that guarantees pain relief and comfort. Protalus insoles come in varying sizes so that you can get something as close to your foot size as possible. But they're not very durable as they flatten out within 4 to 6 months, compared to others that last as long as 12 months. 5. Best Shock-Absorbing Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsDifferent arch support heightsVarying sizes availableExtra firm medical-grade supportCons Rigid support may not be for everyoneMust trim them to fit shoesCustomer responsible for shippingLonger waiting time Tread Lab Pace insoles are one of the easiest insoles to accommodate. They provide arch support and improve foot alignment, thus relieving pain and making hiking more comfortable. Tread Lab insoles come in four different arch heights: low, medium, high, and extra high arch height. They also come in different sizes, so you can find the best fit possible. However, this isn't as effective as custom orthotics that are made for your feet specifically. » How beneficial are arch supports? Arch supports are beneficial to your feet and ankles 6. Best Pain-Relieving Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsCustom-made insolesMade for sensitive feetExtra cushion supportConsPricey compared to alternativesLong waiting periodVery noisy when placed in shoes URthotics insoles are excellent for hiking boots despite being more expensive. Those who hike frequently and have feet that are particularly sensitive may benefit from URthotics Comfort insoles. These insoles provide a lot of cushion and support, making them ideal for relieving foot pain. Using 3D imaging technology, they are tailored to each person's unique requirements, foot shape, and activity level. 7. Best Foam Insoles for Hiking Boots ProsCustom-fit insoleFlexible and provides arch supportFirm supportConsCustomer has to pay for shipping30-day product guaranteeNarrow widthHas to be trimmed to fit shoes FitMyFoot Black Full-Length insoles are comfortable because they're custom-fit to give you the best arch support and flexibility possible when you perform your daily activities. This means they're firm enough to support you while hiking, but also flexible enough so your muscles can move appropriately in response to changing terrain. Barring its sub-par returns policy that only lasts 30 days and requires you to pay for your shipping when returning an item, FitMyFoot insoles are a good choice for hiking boots. Hike With Confidence and Comfort Now that we’ve done all the hard work, you can weigh up your options and make an informed choice. While your decision is based on your specific needs, we recommend custom orthotics as the best choice. As the most accommodating and durable option, custom orthotics will provide the most support while hiking. » How do you know if you need arch support? These factors can indicate you need arch support
A cyclist seated in the side of the road, holding the top of their bare foot, with their one shoe and bicycle visible in the background.
Arch7 Best Cycling Shoe Insoles to Provide Arch SupportCompared to standard running insoles, cycling shoe insoles offer superior arch support, metatarsal padding, and deep heel cups, reducing foot strain during cycling. With the wrong insole, you risk underperforming and developing musculoskeletal problems that may hinder your cycling in the future. Choosing the right insole can help you avoid this. That’s why we’ve sifted through the market to help you identify the best insoles for your cycling shoes. Here are our top seven picks and why they qualify. » Will cycling orthotics help your performance? See the benefits of cycling orthotics Top 7 Insoles for Cycling Shoes with Arch Support Best Overall Cycling Insoles: Upstep Cycling Custom OrthoticsBest Firm Fit Insoles: Tread Labs Lael WilcoxBest for Comfort Insoles: Superfeet TrailblazerBest Cork Insoles: SOLE Performance MediumBest Thin Insoles: Protalus T-100 EliteBest Shock-Absorbing Insoles: URthotics Sports Best Foam Insoles: FitMyFoot Red Hexagon 1. Best Overall Cycling Insoles ProsCustom-made by top podiatristsOptimal support and cushioning180-day money-back guaranteeFSA and HSA eligibleFree shipping and returnsConsShort waiting period before receiving orthotics When it comes to finding the best insoles for cycling, Upstep is the clear winner. Their custom cycling insoles are made with the highest quality and most durable materials, providing optimal support and cushioning during cycling. But what sets Upstep apart from the rest is its commitment to affordability. These insoles are reasonably priced, making them an excellent choice for cycling enthusiasts on a budget. What's more, Upstep offers a 100% money-back guarantee on their product for 120 days, with free shipping and returns. And for those who have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Upstep insoles are eligible for reimbursement, making them an even more attractive option for those looking for quality and affordability. With Upstep, you can be sure that you're getting the best cycling insoles for your money. 2. Best Firm Cycling Shoe Insoles ProsMade from carbon fiber Firm arch supportThin ventilated top coverConsNot customizedDifferent arch heights Narrow heel fitShipping fees are not included For cyclists who prioritize firm arch support, Tread Labs Lael Wilcox insoles are an excellent option. These insoles are crafted from 100% carbon fiber arch support, making them incredibly rigid and efficient at returning energy during each pedal stroke. Ideal for cycling shoes with thin or no inserts, Tread Labs offers four different arch heights to accommodate varying support requirements. While they may not offer a perfect fit for all users since they're one-size-fits-all insoles, they are still a viable choice for cyclists seeking high-quality arch support in their cycling shoes. » Read more: explore the best cycling shoes for flat feet 3. Best Comfort Insoles for Cycling Shoes ProsWide forefoot designDeep heel cup60-day money-back guaranteeConsMade for medium to high arch heightNeed to trim insole to fit shoeTakes up a lot of space in shoesNot custom-made The Superfeet Trailblazer insoles are an excellent choice for cyclists experiencing back and hip pain. These insoles have been designed to improve power transfer and reduce internal knee rotation, which can alleviate discomfort in the hip and lower back. The wide forefoot and deep heel cup are also ideal for those with wider cycling shoes. While these insoles do not have a specific arch height in mind, they can still provide overall comfort and support to the foot during cycling. It's worth noting that these insoles may not be suitable for those with specific foot problems requiring customized arch support. 4. Best Cork Insoles for Cycling Shoes ProsMade with ReCORK recycled wine corksShock absorbingMoldable orthopedic baseConsTakes time to get the perfect fitBest suited for medium-fitting shoesMust be trimmed to fit shoesMedium cushioning SOLE performance medium insoles are an eco-friendly option made from recycled wine corks, which offer excellent shock absorption for cycling shoes. These insoles come with metatarsal pads that improve forefoot comfort, making them an ideal choice for cyclists who experience discomfort in this area. However, wear-moldable design means they may take some time to adjust to the shape of your feet, unlike custom-made orthotics that offer immediate support and comfort. Overall, these cork insoles are a great option for cyclists looking for an environmentally-friendly and shock-absorbing solution for their cycling shoes. 5. Best Thin Insoles for Cycling Shoes ProsDifferent sizes availableThinner than other insolesMoisture-wicking materialsConsDifficulty fitting to shoeTrimming may impact performanceNot custom-madeHigher heel arching The Protalus T-100 Elite insoles are designed specifically for low-volume cycling shoes with removable inserts and provide excellent arch support with a thin and lightweight design. These insoles are available in various sizes, making it easier for users to find a perfect fit. Protalus insoles offer both cushioning and alignment support to help reduce foot fatigue and discomfort during long rides. However, due to their slim profile, these insoles may not fit perfectly in all shoes, even with trimming, which may impact their effectiveness as cycling insoles. 6. Best Shock-Absorbing Insoles for Cycling Shoes ProsCustom-made orthoticsFSA and HSA eligibleLightweight and durableConsMore expensive than alternativesLonger waiting periodThicker insole base URthotics Active Insoles are a top choice for cycling enthusiasts who desire shock absorption and durability. These insoles are designed with custom arch support that follows the natural contours of your foot, providing excellent comfort and stability. The top layer of the insole is made from high-quality EVA material, which is known for its durability and long-lasting performance. The deep heel cup design maximizes protection and helps to alleviate pain. Although these insoles are pricier than some other options on the market, they are eligible for HSA and FSA plans, making them a great investment for those looking for a durable and effective cycling insole. 7. Best Foam Insoles for Cycling Shoes ProsPrevents foot and leg fatigueMade through 3D technologyImproves body alignmentConsNot specifically made for cyclingSmooth insole coveringCannot be trimmed to fit shoeMore costly than alternatives FitMyFoot's Custom Arch Support Insoles are one of the best foam insoles for cycling shoes, specifically designed for athletic use. These insoles are custom-made to fit your feet perfectly, using state-of-the-art 3D printing technology to ensure a snug fit. The dynamic tuned arch design provides custom-positioned support in specific areas of the foot while remaining flexible in others, allowing for optimal energy transfer during cycling. Additionally, these insoles come with a deep contoured heel cushion that provides all-day shock absorption and cushioning, relieving heel discomfort and preventing foot fatigue. The breathable fabric helps to keep your feet cool and sweat-free, making them perfect for intense cycling sessions. Overall, these durable and comfortable insoles are a great investment for any cycling enthusiast. » Considering over-the-counter insoles? Compare custom orthotics vs OTC insoles Transform Your Cycling Experience If you're looking to enhance your performance, reduce your risk of injury, and transform your cycling experience from just an activity to something you truly enjoy, investing in custom orthotics is the way to go. With custom orthotics, the insoles are molded to fit your feet perfectly, providing the optimal support and cushioning you need to reach your potential on the bike. So why settle for generic insoles when you can have a personalized solution that's tailored to your unique needs? Upgrade your cycling game with custom orthotics and see the difference for yourself.
A person holding a black orthotic up, on a wooden pedestal.
ArchArch Support Custom Orthotics—2023 ReviewIf you have feet with high arches, you know the frustration of navigating certain everyday activities. Having high arches means that additional pressure is placed on the ball of your foot and your heel, making standing, walking, and running painful. However, arch support custom orthotics have benefits that can help to alleviate this. Custom insoles are professionally made to the specific shape of your foot, addressing the unique needs of your feet. This includes sufficient arch support to redistribute weight throughout your foot as well as cushioning and shock-absorbing qualities to reduce high-pressure areas. FSA & HSA eligible Free shipping and returnsCustom-made to your needs How Do Insoles for High Arches Work to Support Your Feet? Custom-made arch supports are specifically tailored to the shape of your feet and the exact height of your arch. This will improve the stability of your foot, your balance, and weight distribution throughout your entire foot. Arch supports are made with durable and shock-absorbent materials to improve movement and foot biomechanics and reduce your chances of developing an injury. ProsReduces high-pressure areasImproves arch supportMolds are made in the comfort of your home180-day money-back guaranteeConsShort waiting period before receiving insoles Maximize Your Results It's recommended that you wear your orthotics on a daily basis and that they don't move around inside your shoe as you partake in walking, running, or jumping activities. Acquiring the right size and shape orthotic for your foot is essential for reaping the maximum benefits out of your arch supports and relieving foot pain. Orthotics that are too big for your shoes may lead to curling edges around the orthotic. This damages the orthotic and can cause discomfort in your feet. It's important to remember that arch supports are not considered a method for curing the condition that you have, but rather an effective way to manage it. You may not find the same positive results when the orthotics are removed from your shoes. » Do you need arch support for your hiking boots? Consider these best insoles for hiking Pricing Considerations Upstep's Arch Support Custom Orthotics are affordable. The price for one pair of arch supports starts from $229, with the price per pair decreasing as you buy more pairs. In comparison, the average price for custom orthotics ranges from $400-$800 in the traditional market—which results in a price difference of 60% or more. Upstep also offers regular seasonal discounts, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas, allowing you to save even more on a pair of custom orthotics. Finally, Upstep boasts a 180-day money-back guarantee on orthotics bought on their website and will aid you in any alterations to the orthotics after you've received them—making their insoles risk-free. Payment is also not a problem. Upstep’s orthotics are eligible for FSA and HSA as well as interest-free payment installments through Klarna. Why You Should Choose Upstep's Custom Orthotics All of Upstep's orthotics are designed by professional podiatrists, ensuring their quality. Using Upstep’s casting method is convenient and easy. Create imprints of your feet in the comfort of your home with Upstep's impression kit that you'll receive within 4 business days of starting the process. Shipping and returns are free, placing no extra financial strain on you. Being both affordable and durable, Upstep’s orthotics will provide your feet with the support and comfort they need throughout the day to ensure maximum comfort and stability. These custom orthotics are specifically designed to fit your lifestyle optimally and provide an effective long-term solution to managing your foot condition. 
Woman holding insole against the bottom of her foot
ArchCollapsed Arches vs. Flat Feet: How to Tell the DifferenceMost people use the terms "collapsed arches" and "flat feet" interchangeably. While there are similarities between the two, there are also distinct differences. A collapsed arch is a case of flat feet that develops in adulthood as a result of the weakening of the ligament that supports the arch or as a result of posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. On the other hand, flat feet begin in childhood and result in the improper formation of the foot arch. Let’s consider the specific symptoms of the two types and how to distinguish one from the other. Symptoms and Causes of Flat Feet A flat foot is an abnormality that is present from birth. Often, it poses no problems and requires no treatment. However, complications may develop over time, leading to discomfort in the foot. Possible symptoms of flat feet at this stage include your feet tiring easily, arch or heel pain, swollen feet, difficulty in moving the foot, and pain in the back and leg. Symptoms and Causes of Collapsed Arches A collapsed arch is sometimes referred to as an acquired flat foot because a flattened arch develops later in life. Some possible causes of collapsed arches include stretched or torn tendons, dysfunction of the posterior tibial tendon (either due to inflammation or damage), broken or dislocated bones, health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, or nerve problems. Obesity, diabetes, aging, and pregnancy can also be contributing factors. Symptoms of a collapsed arch include heel or arch pain like plantar fasciitis, problems standing on tiptoes, ankle swelling, a flat appearance of the feet, and uneven wearing of shoes. » Wanting to treat your heel pain? Purchase a pair of Upstep's Custom Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis Signs of Collapsed Arches and Flat Feet A diagnosis of collapsed arches or flat feet is easy to make. Signs to expect include pain in the foot, swelling, stiffness, and general difficulty in moving the foot. Pain may be restricted to the foot and ankle or spread to the calf, knee, thigh, hip, or spine. By looking at how you stand or walk, your healthcare professional can easily observe if you have collapsed arches or flat feet. If the goal is to identify it yourself, wet your feet and see if the entire sole of your foot shows in your footprint on the floor or on paper after making contact with the ground. Also, you can observe the pattern of wear in your shoes. Any unusual wear pattern may be indicative of a collapsed arch. Apart from this, pushing your big toes back as far as possible would normally cause the foot arch to appear; however, it does not in the case of a collapsed arch or flat foot. Lastly, testing the strength of muscles and tendons, such as the Achilles tendon or the posterior tibial tendon, can help you determine what is functioning well and what isn’t. Treating Collapsed Arches and Flat Feet Most times, you don’t need treatment with collapsed arches or flat feet. However, if you have pain, stiffness, or experience other issues because of your feet, your healthcare provider will recommend a conservative treatment plan to manage the symptoms of flat feet and collapsed arches. This can include one or a combination of the following; Rest This is especially important when the cause of the collapsed arch is overuse. Getting off your feet will give them time to recover.Activity modification This could mean avoiding high impact sports like jumping and running.Weight loss If too much weight is being placed on the ankle and arches, it may force the arches to drop. Consequently, losing weight will reduce the weight being placed on the foot.Supportive footwear that fits well Shoes with a low heel and wide toe boxes are the best footwear for flat feet.Exercises for collapsed arches and flat feet Exercises that strengthen the right muscles in the arch of the foot, such as toe lifts and the towel scrunch, can help treat collapsed arches and flat feet.Physiotherapy This can be useful to correct compensatory gait patterns that tend to develop in instances of flat feet.Custom orthotics and arch support insoles These are useful when there is severe muscle weakness or nerve damage. Good custom orthotics and arch support insoles help cushion and support the feet, relieving pressure on the arch and preventing compensatory gait patterns. These are some of the many benefits of arch support. If the conservative treatment fails to ease the symptoms, surgery is might be recommended. Surgical methods include bone fusion, removal of bony spurs, tendon enhancement, and bone grafting. The doctor will need to take a careful look at your medical history to determine how it started and what treatment method should be used. » Take control of pain from flat feet today: Read our Flat Feet Orthotics review and get yourself a pair
Person doing arch stretches
ArchHow to Stretch the Arch of Your FootThe arches of the foot make everyday movement possible. They help keep the foot flexible, making it possible to walk or sprint. Additionally, they allow the foot to support bodyweight properly. Sometimes, the arch can become painful due to flat feet, stress, overuse, injury, or using shoes with poor arch support. Regardless of the cause, stretching the arch helps keep the foot in optimal condition for movement. Benefits of Stretching the Arch of Your Foot Stretching can improve several conditions. It can be used to correct supination, strengthen arches, and relieve pain associated with metatarsalgia. Stretching the arch has several benefits, including: Increased blood flow Stretching can loosen any tight muscles and make muscle action relatively better. The increased blood flow can even help heal the arch.Improved flexibility While tightness can cause low flexibility, stretching the foot arch improves flexibility, making your gait easier and more efficient.Pain relief Stretching can have a soothing effect on pain in the arch and the ankle and leg muscles.Improved balance Stretching the arch of your foot can improve balance.Reduced risk of future injury Along with strengthening exercises, stretching reduces the risk of future injury. 1. Seated Foot Stretch Pain in the plantar fascia can be alleviated using a seated foot stretch. Here, the plantar fascia is relieved directly by stretching it. To perform the stretch, follow these steps: Sit on a chair with the affected heel over the opposite leg.Pull your toes towards your shin until you feel a moderate stretch. This will create tension in the heel.Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 2–3 times. 2. Plantar Fascia Stretch The plantar fascia stretch is useful for those who have arch pain due to plantar fasciitis. To perform one of these plantar fasciitis stretches, follow these steps: Stand against a wall.With one leg in front of the other, rest your toes against the wall. Keep your foot at a 45-degree angle.Push against the wall with the ball of your foot. Continue until you feel the tension in your arch and calf.Hold this position for about 30 seconds before relaxing. Switch to the other foot and repeat.Repeat the stretch 2–3 times daily. 3. Crouch Stretch The crouch stretch addresses any pain in the arch of the foot. Here's how to perform the exercise. Begin by crouching on the floor, yoga mat, or carpet. Ensure you’re supporting your body weight with the balls of your feet. Keep the backs of your heels pointing up throughout your stretch. Without lifting your feet, lean forward to place your hands and knees on the floor. Your buttocks should be just above your heels. Lean forward until you feel the stretch in your arch. Hold the position for 15–30 seconds.Repeat 2–4 times daily. 4. Stair Stretch Apart from stretching your arch, the stair stretch also stretches your calf muscles, increasing flexibility. You'll need a low step for this stretch. Here’s how to perform the exercise: While standing on the edge of the step, lower your heels so that they hang over the edge of the step. Find something to hold on to for support.Lower your heels until you feel a slight stretch in your arch and calf.Hold your position for 15–30 seconds before raising your heels back up.Repeat 2–4 times daily. 5. Loop Stretch The loop stretch is effective at relieving arch pain. Here's how to perform the stretch: Sit on the floor or a mat with your leg stretched out in front of you.Loop a towel around the ball of your foot, holding it at each end.Using the towel, pull your foot towards your body until you feel a stretch in your arch. Hold the position for 15–30 seconds before relaxing. Repeat 2–3 times per foot for maximum relief. 6. Towel Scrunch The towel scrunch is very helpful in improving the foot flexibility, stretching the foot, and maintaining foot range of motion. To perform the stretch, follow these steps: While seated on a chair, place your feet over a towel.Using your toes, scrunch the towel towards you, lifting your heels. You should feel a stretch in your arch.Return to starting position.Repeat up to 10 times or as much as your pain allows. 7. Marble Pick-up The marble pick-up works in the same way as the towel scrunch, helping to improve foot flexibility, maintain the range of motion of foot joints, and stretch the arch all at once. To perform the stretch, follow these steps: Begin in a sitting position with some marbles and a cup on the floor in front of your feet.One at a time, use your toes to lift the marbles from the floor and into the cup.Repeat at least 10 times on each foot.