Back today with another shoe question. Glad I'm your guy. Let's talk about running insoles. Do you need them? What are they good for? Should you just toss them in the trash?
I'm Jesse Funk. This is a show I call Runner's High, where we talk about everything running, including your shoe questions like today's question, "Should you get running insoles?" Or "do you need insoles for your running shoes?" If you like running and topics like this, subscribe to the channel. Hit that button over there. It's red and shiny. Youtube makes sure you can see it.
So first, if you don't know what an insole is, it is inside the shoe. And this is my really old shoe now. You can see it's now for mowing as it's turning green on the outside. It is not this. I mean, this is an insole, my dirty old insole, you can see. But this is not what we're talking about. This is just a liner that comes in your shoe. It provides zero arch support, basically negligible cushioning, and is overall not a factor in a shoe in how it feels.
The design of this thing, the thing that comes in your shoe is largely just to cover up the stitching is on the inside of your shoe, so you don't want to be running on that. So they cover that up with this kind. I don't have one on me, but the insoles that we're going to talk about are the things that replace this, which actually have some more cushioning often but not always have some amount of arch support.
Sometimes they're squishy, sometimes they're made of gel, and sometimes they're very hard. It depends on what you're getting and why you're getting it, as to what it can do for you.
So let's talk about what some of those things are. First, as a, I don't know of a disclaimer as the right thing because I didn't ever cooperate, but I used to work in a shoe store, which is why I love these shoe questions, because I get to spend plenty of time helping people find running shoes, helping people with medical issues, find proper fitting shoes. So I can have a broad spectrum of shoe fitting knowledge. I did that full-time for several years, three and a half years. I think I'd have to go back to my calendar to figure it out.
In any case, one of the things that the owners were really focused on was making sure everybody walked out of the store with insoles and I didn't play ball, so they didn't like me very much because not everybody needs them. I maintain that just by working there and missing out on commission, but I'd rather be able to sleep at night than make a couple extra bucks.
So their reason is the margins are good. So if you have somebody really pushing insoles to absolutely every single customer they see, be a little wary, but know that if you get insoles like an over-the-counter insole from a running store or something like that, it probably is not going to have very many negative side effects because they're so soft. But there are some potential benefits. And one of those is that if you get a little bit of arch support and you're somebody who overpronate, it can help alleviate some of that motion. So use my shoe here, my dirty shoe. Thanks for dealing with me here.
So overpronation is talking about when you are running and your foot collapses too far to the inside. People often get overpronation shoes, which on the inside will often have like a block of sturdier foam right here and think I'm good. Kind of. The shoe isn't going to break down as much, but it doesn't prevent that actual motion that you're doing. Now, everybody should pronate ideally it's this rolling from outwards to inwards motion during running.
That's a normal part of a running gait or a normal standard running gait. But if you're doing it too much, your ankle collapses. And that can cause shin splints, it can cause plantar fasciitis, it can cause all kinds of other problems because of the extra stress that you're placing on that joint with your ankle and just the angle at which everything else goes into because of that inward collapse.
So if you get some minor amount of arch support, then that helps post your foot back up preventing that overpronation. Now, to say that that is the only solution is not quite accurate. There are proponents of people who talk about working on strengthening your muscles and strengthening the tendons and ligaments, which takes much longer than the muscle part to help you prevent that overpronation.
Can you do this on your own? Possible, but I'm going to say unlikely for most of us. I think you're going to need professional help from physical therapists to keep you on track. I think it's very easy when we're talking about very small motions from this is this is your foot. When we're talking about the difference between here and here, knowing exactly what to target, what kind of exercises, what the progression is. It can be done.
But the g'way basically is to get those insoles and help post that up. It doesn't resolve the issue. It still exists, but it might alleviate some pain that you're having. Give your body time to heal and then maybe put you in a better position to be able to start a exercise routine to help prevent those kind of issues.
That being said, there's actually a different kind of insole more commonly referred to as orthotics, which are going to be good for you for the vast majority of people who they're prescribed for.
And that is the key factor, right, is that they are prescribed by a podiatrist or a podiatrist can make him that's a non-medical professional. Well, they're foot specialists, but they don't have a doctor's degree. So this is for people who have particular medical issues. And the doctor can make these particular insoles custom to you. They're often very rigid to deal with your particular issues.
If this is you and you've gotten one of these, I would suggest trying to follow your doctor's orders to begin with. I know it reduces the flexibility of the shoe, and that can be difficult because of the firmness of the orthotic or the insole. But. There is a reason that they prescribe that for you and it can be varying. I'm not a doctor. I'm definitely not a podiatrist, so I'll listen to them to help try to get you back on track.
There's a reason that these people prescribe these things. They've gone to school for a number of years or in many cases have been in practice for a number of years. And if there's somebody who specializes in this thing as well as running, then there's probably something you should be doing.
So in the case of orthotics or insoles overall, if you haven't had something prescribed for you, probably take it or leave it. If you have problems but they're not like medically necessary to see somebody minor aches and pains. You might try out to see, "Hey, does this help me?", "Does this help my alleviate some of my pain?" Or if you're running a very hard surfaces, maybe you just want a little extra cushioning.
The last condition of something medically required medical intervention happened. Thus I needed an orthotic. Definitely wear that then discuss with your provider at some point. If you feel like it's causing more problems than it's solving, they should be able to address that and hopefully make adjustments as necessary.
My last caveat for this conversation is you should not use insoles to fix a poor fitting shoe. This is a little tangential, but I like to put this in there because sometimes people will get, say, the wrong size shoe and then because the right size shoe is available and then try to fix it with an insole. You're going to create more problems than you're going to solve. So please don't do that.
In any case, do you have any questions for me about running, about shoes, about triathlon or endurance training in general? Leave them in the comments below. I'd like to make a video for you in the future. I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High.