What type of shoe inserts do I need?
April 8, 2013 10:14 AM   Subscribe

The soles on my dress shoes are not cushioning my feet properly and causing me back pain. What type of shoe inserts do I need?

I have a pair of Deer Stags that were very cushiony when I bought them approximately 7 months ago. Now the shoes cause my back to hurt if I walk in them for any extended period of time.

I bought the Deer Stags specifically because I heard they cushioned the foot well. I had been making do with Boston shoes and the Sofsole Airr inserts before that. I found I had to replace the Airrs every 3 months or so.

In doing research, Powersteps and Superfeet keep coming up. Are these better than Sofsoles? Is there another brand I should try? Do I need to see a doctor?

Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks!
posted by reenum to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total)
Cushions compress over time. Superfeet-style insoles do provide support, but aren't cushiony, so they'll last more or less forever (but may not be what you want).

If you favor cushioning over stiffer support and shock absorption, try getting a couple of pairs where possible and wearing them no more often than every other day -- it'll make them last quite a bit longer.
posted by asperity at 10:31 AM on April 8, 2013

I have both Powerstep pinnacles and Superfeet and asperity is right, they are not especially cushiony but rather supporty-they both have a very rigid arch support and heel cup with a modest closed foam cushion layer on top similar in thickness to a standard athletic shoe liner. They're not what I would recommend if you primarily need extra padding.
posted by drlith at 11:58 AM on April 8, 2013

tl;dr version: Cusion=/comfort ; try Superfeet

I worked as a retail salesperson for years, and spent a lot of time on my feet as a result. I found that while initially comfortable, cushiony footwear did not equate to comfortable, especially after a few months. It was never a question of if my feet and back hurt, but rather how much they were bothering me that day.

Then I switched to Superfeet, and that made a huge difference. It wasn't a miracle cure, and I still experienced foot and back pain. However, it was definitely decreased; I owned two nearly identical pairs of shoes (thank you, generous vendors!) and I would switch my pair of Superfeet between them. If I forgot to do this, and just used the original insoles, I could really feel it at the end of the day.

The height of your arch will determine which color of Superfeet insole you'd need; I tried the green ones (which is the most popular/"Standard" model), and found it too painful at the arch. I was told that if I sucked it up for a week or so I'd get used to it and they'd be great; unwilling to deal with that, I bought the blue insoles which are for a lower arch and they've been terrific.
posted by EKStickland at 12:40 PM on April 8, 2013

If it helps, I have almost perfect pronation when I run. Does this mean my arches are OK?
posted by reenum at 1:12 PM on April 8, 2013

You can determine the height of your arches by placing damp feet on paper.
posted by oceano at 1:43 PM on April 8, 2013

In contrast to EKStrickland, I have the green Superfeet and really don't like them. I've been happier with Dr. Scholl's gel inserts. I suspect this really depends on your feet, and you might have better luck at a real shoe store (not a mall discount outlet) where you might try a variety of options.
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:05 PM on April 8, 2013

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