What is the Insole of a Shoe?


Shoes not only protect the feet, but also are important for maintaining healthy legs and back. Wearing shoes without the correct support can cause sore heels, aching arches and back and bruising on the balls of the feet. Adding or replacing an insole can help to combat these problems.

Definition and Purpose of Insoles

An insole of a shoe is a strip that fits inside the bottom of your shoe to add support and comfort. The insole protects, supports and cushions the foot. However, the insole often wears out long before the shoe does, or the shoe does not offer enough support for the arch of the foot, the ball of the foot or the heel of the foot. When this is the case, existing insoles can be replaced with new ones.

Insoles for Balls of the Feet

The balls of the feet can become very tender and sore if there is a lot of pressure on them for extended periods of time. For example, shoes that have a heel can be stressful on the balls of the feet. There are specific insoles that can be added to a high heel shoe or attached directly to the bottom of the foot to cushion the balls of the feet more fully. (See References for different styles.)

Arch/Flat Feet Support Insoles

There are specific insoles for people who have flat feet or very arched feet. These insoles are made from silicone, firm polyester, cowhide leather and other materials. (See References.)

Heel Insole

Excessive standing or walking can cause the heels of the foot to ache. Adding a more cushioned or firm heel support, depending on what the need is, can reduce the discomfort greatly.


Insoles come in a variety of different materials such as silicone, cowhide leather, cotton cushion and foam cushion. The type of material an insole is made of depends on the need. For example, because cowhide leather is tough and firm, it is suitable for strong support, like in the arch; cotton cushioning is soft, and would not provide the needed support in this case. However, it is always recommended to see a doctor if you have foot pain that is persistent and does not go away with store-bought insoles.

Where to Buy Insoles

Shoe insoles can be purchased inexpensively anywhere shoes are sold or at large department stores.