Now that the weather is warming up, it means more time spent outside. Whether you enjoy taking long walks, playing pickleball or going on runs, regardless of the shoes you plan on wearing, they should benefit the overall health of your feet.
If you struggle with foot pain, now might be a good time to think of ways you can take care of your feet — like investing in a quality pair of inserts.
"Having the proper foot and ankle support in your shoes will help to reduce pain, support proper foot alignment and keep you comfortable," Jacqueline M. Sutera, DPM, tells Shop TODAY. "Inserts help to reduce excessive pronation, which is a contributing factor to flat feet," she adds.
But which one is the right insert for your feet — and do you need them? We spoke to podiatrists about how to choose inserts and who would benefit the most from having them.
What to consider | Who needs them? | TODAY Wellness Award-winning insole | Podiatrist-recommended insoles | Shopper- recommended insoles | Meet the experts
There are two types of inserts: those that you can purchase over the counter or at the store, and those that you need a custom consultation for, says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bonnie Chien.
But if you don't want to break your bank with a custom insert, you can also opt for a store-bought insole. There are a few qualities to look out for when purchasing an insole on your own, however.
"You want to look for materials that are semi-resistant, materials that actually provide support," New York-based podiatrist Ernest L. Isaacson, DPM PC, says, adding, "You want something that actually contours the arch and resists bending."
Isaacson suggests that people with a higher arch use a less rigid type of insert. They should also look for an insert that will contour the arch and essentially bring the ground up. On the other hand, those with flat feet might want an insole with a bit more structure, the podiatrist explains.
"Shoe inserts come in many different styles and materials," Sutera adds. "The type that is best varies from one person to another, and really does depend on the shoe and activity as well.
But in general, she recommends materials that are semi-rigid or semi-flexible, "like graphite with a cushioned top cover made from Poron or EVA are durable, comfortable and give the most support without so much bulk."