How often should you replace your insoles?

This is a question that is commonly asked by those who are purchasing insoles for the first time.

The Simple Answer:

Most insoles will need to be replaced every 6-12 months, which is when shoes generally need to be replaced. 

The Long Answer:

There are multiple factors that will determine how often you should be replacing your insoles including:

  • Quality of the insole
  • Durability of the insole
  • How often you wear the insole
  • The impact of the activities you do (high impact vs. low impact)
  • Odor

Let’s look at these things in more detail.

Quality of the Insole

Insoles can vary quite a bit in quality.  When low quality materials are used in fabrication an insole will break down a lot faster and need to be replaced more often.  A full length, high quality insole will generally cost between $40 – $70.  A ¾ length high quality insole will generally cost between $25 – $60.

For most high-quality over the counter insoles, a good rule of thumb for replacing them is to replace the insoles when you replace your shoes. (Of course, this rule of thumb only applies if you replace your shoes within a reasonable time and before they completely wear out.)

A great benefit to purchasing a high-quality insole instead of a low quality one is the length of time it will last.  An insole made with cheap materials may be supportive for a week or even a month or two, but once it breaks down it is no longer giving you the support you need.  Having to replace this insole every month or two can add up quickly.  It can end up costing as much or more than just getting a better insole in the first place.

Durability of the Insole

Soft insoles (such as Dr. Scholl’s®) wear quickly and will need to be replaced often, generally anywhere in the time frame of every 1-6 months. 

An insole made of memory foam will give comfortable support until the memory foam compresses.  Once the foam is firmly compressed the insole will need to be replaced.

An insole made of Plastazote® is wonderful for pressure relief and is an ideal insole for diabetics because of the anti-friction properties.  Because of the softness of the materials these insoles should generally be replaced every 3-4 months in order to give optimal support and comfort.

High/Low Impact Activities

Your level of activity will directly affect how often you need to replace your insoles.  High impact activities such as running put more stress on the insert and will cause it to wear more quickly.  Again, it is good to keep in mind replacing your insoles when you replace your shoes.  Shoes used for high impact sports will need to be replaced more quickly than shoes used for low impact activities.  Most athletes are very aware of the age of their shoes and can tell when they need to be replaced.  So, if you just replace your inserts at the same time you should be good to go!

How Often You Wear the Insoles

Some people wear their insoles all day every day while others only wear them during athletic activity.  Some people keep insoles in every pair of shoes they have, even shoes they do not wear very often.  Logically, the more you wear them the quicker they will wear out. 

Odor

Feet stink.  Our feet have 250,000 sweat glands and therefore, feet sweat.  They sweat so much they can excrete up to a half-pint of moisture a day!  Many insoles have an antimicrobial top cover that helps to reduce the odor and bacteria that can develop.  But over time even these can begin to smell.  Some people replace their insoles before they are worn out simply because of the odor. 

There are some things that can be done to reduce or eliminate the odor.  Removing your insoles from your shoes at night to allow them to thoroughly dry can be effective.  Also most brands can be hand-washed.  You can use a soft bristle brush and just a tiny bit of laundry or dish detergent.  This can help freshen them up quite a bit.

So Should You Replace Your Insoles?

If you think your insoles need to be replaced, they probably do!  A new pair will provide optimal support. And if your old ones still have some support in them you could put them in an old pair of shoes for gardening or lawn mowing.

If your insoles are needing replacing check out insoles.com for a great selection with great prices!

Nicole Winzenread
Author

C-Ped, L-Ped

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