Do standard running insoles suffice in your running trainers?


What do we look for when looking for insoles for running? What should be on our tick list when trying to find the best insoles for running?


Are the insoles that come with your trainers giving you adequate support and enough shock absorption to protect you from the impact of running on your body?


Resident head coach of Runner Retreats Lewis Moses, 1,500m runner, and running advisor for INCUS Performance shares his view.


“Don’t just look at the problem, address the cause”


Quite often when runners get an injury, have some sort of niggle or have a problem with their running gait, they look directly at the problem and can neglect the cause. What tends to happen is our brain automatically looks at the problem and wants to find a solution, but from my experience I have found it better to step away, look at what is ‘causing’ the problem and then try to find the right solutions.

When it comes to insoles in running shoes, this can often be the classic case of looking for a quick fix to an issue. That quick fix can sometimes result in more problems, mainly because you are going to change the way you run slightly by putting insoles or orthotics into your shoes. This will subtly alter the way you run, which can lead to overloading other areas in the body, which may not be strong enough. I’m not saying insoles or orthotics aren’t right for some runners, they absolutely are, but based on my own experience in the sport and having worked with some of the best brains in the business, I would always recommend looking at other areas first. These areas include the following;

1. Strengthening weak or dysfunctional areas – with rehabilitation or strength and conditioning work. For example, if you’re collapsing around the ankle/foot and the knee is dropping in this could be caused by poor control around the pelvis area, so strengthening muscles such as the Gluteus Medius could be beneficial.

2. Look further up the chain – Don’t just focus on the area that is being affected, look further up the chain for answers. A strong, stable, well-functioning chain will often help get you better results. What do we mean by the chain, well for me it would start at the upper back, down through to the lower back and then down to the hip, knee and ankle. Remember running is a single leg movement (we transfer weight from one leg to the other) so we need to be strong on single leg!

3. Check your footwear – Some runners benefit more from stability shoes, others are more neutral runners. Making sure you are in the right shoe is vitally important and this is something you may want to do before putting insoles or orthotics into a shoe. Find out what type of runner you are, then make sure you have the shoe to suit that profile.

I appreciate it’s difficult to get all these answers without seeing the right people, but a good gait analysis with someone who is qualified to provide the right advice would be something I would highly recommend. It might be that a specifically designed insole or orthotic is right for you, but I would always encourage people to explore the above areas first, before jumping straight into buying new insoles.