Runners get sore feet, period. To combat this pain, it’s possible to use additions to shoes to ease discomfort. Some companies even claim they can make runners feel like they are running on clouds.
How do people do this? Usually, they purchase insoles for their shoes. But not all insoles are made the same.
Two of the most popular brands are Spenco and Superfeet. How do they compare to one another?
Before I dive in, I like to mention that if you are not sure about insoles, perhaps trying a rather inexpensive pair of socks might be the best start. Here are our recommendations for socks for flat feet runners.
What are Insoles?
There are a couple of definitions for insoles, but the best comes from the Cambridge Dictionary. It describes insoles as pieces of material which are put in shoes to increase their comfort and warmth for the wearer.
Some insoles are prescribed to handle medical conditions as well. Research published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health have found that insoles can help treat chronic problems such as knee osteoarthritis.
The different types of insoles include arch support, running and sports, plantar fasciitis, and gel. Some can be purchased from general stores and pharmacies, while others need to be prescribed by a physician. The most important ones for runners are clearly the insoles used for running and sports.
These insoles can be made from foam, gel, and other synthetic materials.
What to look for in Insoles?
Insoles come in a broad range of styles and materials, so it’s important to pick one which is comfortable for you. People generally look for comfort, style, and functionality when picking an insole.
Comfort is important because runners need to have the insoles inside of their shoes each time they wear them. Many producers sell insoles which match a person’s arch or pronation. People should also be careful to choose a material which doesn’t irritate their feet or break down easily.
Style is frequently tied to comfort. Some insoles add many centimeters of extra bulk, which can make a runner’s favorite pair of shoes not fit correctly. The insoles should always be tested with the shoes they will be worn in to suit the runner.
Finally, there is functionality. Some materials break down faster than others, which can be a major pain for runners. If you run every day, then you need insoles made from sturdier synthetic materials.
What are Insoles Made out of?
Although there is some debate, by far the weakest material for shoe inserts is foam. These need to be replaced on a regular basis, so they should be avoided as much as possible unless you can find them for cheap.
Before purchasing any equipment, runners should determine what type of foot they have and the type of insole required. Like fingerprints, feet are unique to each person and come with their own set of problems.
The arch of a foot can be flat, low, high, or very high and can affect where a runner feels strain. Heel That Pain is a website which demonstrates how the bottom of each foot looks on each person. Depending on your arch, you might need to pick an insole which has more or less support.
Spenco Insole - Review
Dr. Wayman Spence founded Spenco in 1967 as a healthcare company.The business emphasizes the importance of health and markets its insoles to people with chronic pain conditions or foot pronation that hinders their running ability.
Many of Spenco’s inserts are made with foam and are antimicrobial so people have to worry less about bacteria and Athlete’s Foot.
Runners generally like the insoles because they are made of soft materials, tend to last over six months, and include shock absorption to prevent painful impacts.
- 3-pod cushioning system (patent pending) absorbs shock and helps prevent over pronation
- Polysorb stability cradle provides advanced arch support and deep heel cupping
- Low-friction antimicrobial top cloth helps prevent blisters and control odor. Hand wash in warm water. Air dry
- Metatarsal arch support offloads pressure from the ball of foot to help relieve forefoot pain
- Forefoot crash pad provides extra cushioning under the ball of foot for a smooth transition to toe-off
The inclusion of shock absorbers puts Spenco’s ahead of some other insole companies. Running is considered a high impact sport that can add enough force on joints equal to 2.5 times a runner’s weight.
Spenco inserts fit into almost every runner’s budget. Below is the most popular Spenco Insole. This insole is designed to provide cushioned arch support.
Superfeet Insole - Review
Superfeet bases its designs on the principles of podiatric medicine and sells its insoles to many countries around the globe.The company features a deep, structured heel cup to improve a runner’s comfort and it primarily uses foam and other synthetic materials in its designs.
The company targets joint pain and specializes in ankle and toe discomfort. Superfeet hires and consults with medical professionals to offer its clients high-quality inserts that improve the overall quality of their athletic activities.
- FIT PROFILE: High volume / High profile (Volume refers to the amount of space the insole will take up in your shoe. Profile is how much shape you can expect to feel under your foot)
- STABILIZER CAP: acts as the base of the insole that supports the rearfoot and provides structure and stability to the foam layer
- DEEP HEEL CUP: features the widest and deepest heel cup that offers maximum support and can help with natural shock absorption
Superfeet possesses over 40 different national and international patents and takes pride in standing out among the competition (including Treadlabs).
But how does it compare to other significant name brands such as Spenco?
Superfeet inserts are more expensive than many others on the market but are also longer-lasting. A pair can be a little expensive (relative to Spenco) and will usually last up to a year if a runner takes good care of them.
Superfeet has been a long-standing solid choice for insoles and they rank as one of the best for flat feet.
Spenco vs Superfeet - Comparison
Spenco and Superfeet products have numerous similarities because there isn’t a lot of variation when it comes to insoles.
What is the same:
Both inserts feature a cupped, shell shape which keeps heels in place when a runner is moving. This is beneficial for runners with chronic and acute conditions because it stops the joint from stretching more than necessary.
Both models additionally include extra support and layers of foam to keep feet comfortable. However, runners can also find products which have very few layers to make them as soft as possible.
What is different:
However, layering is where there is also a major difference between the two brands. While Superfeet rules when it comes to low-to-mid range support, Spenco specializes in mid-to-high levels of support for people who truly need extra cushioning to feel comfortable.
Many runners also discovered that Spenco tends to have better arch support and works well when treating chronic conditions. Superfeet, on the other hand, specializes in helping runners who suffer from general foot pain and who might want just a little extra comfort during every day jogs.
Finally, Superfeet, because it creates thinner insoles, fits better in snug running shoes. Spenco tends to be too thick to fit inside tighter footwear, and many people frequently need to loosen their shoes just to have the inserts fit inside.
Overall, it’s important to find a shoe insert which works for you. Comfort is paramount above all else, and runners should pick one which fits their budget and feels amazing.
When in doubt, don’t follow your nose. Follow your feet, which will take you to your comfort zone.
Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API