should i size up if i use insoles
should i size up if i use insoles

Curious about whether you should size up when using insoles? Well, wonder no more! In this article, we’ll delve into this common dilemma, providing you with all the information you need to make the right decision. Whether you’re an athlete in need of extra cushioning or simply seeking added foot support for your daily activities, we’ll explore the factors to consider when determining whether to go up a size or stick to your usual shoe size. So, let’s get started and put your sizing worries to rest!

Why Insoles?

Insoles, also commonly referred to as shoe inserts or footbeds, are removable supportive additions placed inside shoes to provide additional cushioning, support, and comfort. They are designed to enhance the fit, reduce pressure on certain areas of the foot, and address various foot-related conditions. Whether you have a specific foot condition, participate in physical activities, or simply desire better comfort in your shoes, insoles can be incredibly beneficial.

The Importance of Proper Shoe Fit

Proper shoe fit is vital for overall foot health and comfort. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to a range of issues such as blisters, calluses, corns, and even more serious conditions like bunions and ingrown toenails. Wearing shoes that are too tight can also put excessive pressure on the foot, leading to discomfort and pain. On the other hand, shoes that are too loose can cause instability and increase the risk of falls or injuries.

Understanding Insoles

What are Insoles?

Insoles are specialized inserts that are placed inside shoes to provide additional support and cushioning for the feet. They can be made of various materials such as foam, gel, or even custom-molded orthotics. Insoles are designed to absorb shock, distribute pressure evenly across the foot, and provide arch support. They can also help correct foot imbalances, align the body, and improve overall gait.

Types of Insoles

There is a wide variety of insoles available on the market, each designed to address specific foot needs and conditions. Some common types include:

  1. Cushioning Insoles: These insoles are made of materials like foam or gel and are designed to provide extra shock absorption, making them ideal for individuals who engage in high-impact activities or have conditions like plantar fasciitis.

  2. Arch Support Insoles: These insoles are specifically designed to provide additional support to the arch of the foot. They can be beneficial for individuals with flat feet or high arches to help distribute pressure evenly and reduce discomfort.

  3. Orthotic Insoles: Custom-made orthotic insoles are tailor-made to address specific foot imbalances or conditions. They are often prescribed by healthcare professionals and provide personalized support and correction.

  4. Heel Cups and Inserts: These insoles are designed to provide heel cushioning and support, making them helpful for individuals experiencing heel pain or conditions like Achilles tendinitis.

When to Use Insoles?

Foot Conditions

Insoles can be highly effective in managing a variety of foot conditions. Conditions such as plantar fasciitis, flat feet, high arches, and bunions can all benefit from the support and cushioning provided by insoles. Insoles can help alleviate pain, reduce pressure on sensitive areas, and provide added stability for individuals with these conditions.

Support and Comfort

Even if you don’t have a specific foot condition, using insoles can greatly enhance the comfort and support of your footwear. If you spend long hours on your feet or participate in activities that put stress on your feet, insoles can provide much-needed cushioning and shock absorption. They can also help prevent foot fatigue and reduce the risk of developing foot-related discomfort or pain.

Sports and Activities

Insoles are particularly beneficial for individuals who participate in sports or engage in activities like running, hiking, or dancing. These activities often involve repetitive movements and high impact on the feet, which can lead to strain and potential injuries. Using insoles specifically designed for sports can provide targeted support, improve stability, and enhance performance while reducing the risk of foot-related issues.

Effects of Wearing Insoles on Shoe Size

One common question individuals have is whether they should size up when using insoles. Insoles take up additional space inside the shoe, which can potentially affect the fit. However, this is largely dependent on the thickness of the insole and the type of shoe you are wearing.

The impact of wearing insoles on shoe size varies. Some insoles are thin and flexible, and they may not significantly alter the fit of the shoe. On the other hand, thicker or rigid insoles can take up more space and may require sizing up.

It is important to note that sizing up solely to accommodate insoles is not always necessary or recommended. Many shoes are already designed with enough room to accommodate an insole without requiring a larger size. It is crucial to ensure that the shoe fits properly with the added insole, providing adequate support and comfort.

Pros and Cons of Sizing Up

Benefits of Sizing Up

There are potential benefits to sizing up when using insoles:

  1. Increased Comfort: If the insole takes up enough space to make the shoe feel tight or uncomfortable, sizing up can alleviate this issue and improve overall comfort.

  2. Better Fit: In some cases, the combination of a larger shoe size and insoles can provide a more secure and snug fit, especially for individuals with wider feet or foot conditions that require additional space.

Disadvantages of Sizing Up

However, there are also several disadvantages to consider when sizing up:

  1. Decreased Stability: Sizing up may result in a looser fit, causing reduced stability and potentially increasing the risk of foot and ankle injuries, especially during physical activities.

  2. Style and Design: Some shoes may not be available in half-sizes or larger sizes, restricting your options when it comes to style and design choices.

Factors to Consider

When deciding whether to size up when using insoles, there are several factors to consider:

Type of Insole

The type of insole you are using can influence the fit of the shoe. Thinner and more flexible insoles are less likely to require sizing up, while thicker or rigid insoles may necessitate a larger shoe size.

Material and Thickness

The material and thickness of the insole can affect how much space it occupies inside the shoe. It is essential to choose an insole that provides the desired cushioning and support without significantly altering the fit.

Foot Size and Width

Individuals with wider feet may find that sizing up is necessary when using insoles to avoid discomfort or pressure points. It is important to consider the specific needs of your feet and find the right balance between support and fit.

Shoe Design and Style

Certain shoe designs, such as those with narrow toe boxes or limited adjustability, may not accommodate larger sizes or the addition of insoles. It is crucial to choose shoes that are compatible with your insole needs without compromising fit or style.

Alternative Solutions

While sizing up may be an option for some individuals, there are alternative solutions to consider:

Trimming Insoles

If the insoles are too long or wide for your shoes, they can often be trimmed to match the shape and size of your footwear. This allows you to use the insoles without requiring a larger shoe size while still benefiting from the support and cushioning they provide.

Adjusting Shoe Laces

Properly adjusting the laces on your shoes can also help accommodate the additional space taken up by the insoles. By lacing your shoes more tightly or using specific lacing techniques, you can create a secure fit that works with the insoles.

Using Half-Sizes or Wide Width Shoes

In some cases, individuals may find that half-size shoes or wide width shoes can provide the necessary space for insoles without requiring a larger overall shoe size. These options can ensure a proper fit while still accommodating the use of insoles.

Consulting a Professional

If you are unsure about whether to size up when using insoles or need assistance in choosing the right type of insole for your specific needs, it is always advisable to consult a footwear professional or podiatrist. These experts can evaluate your feet, assess your gait, and provide personalized recommendations based on your unique foot characteristics and requirements.


Insoles can be a valuable addition to your footwear, providing enhanced comfort, support, and relief for various foot conditions. Deciding whether to size up when using insoles largely depends on factors such as the type of insole, shoe design, and personal comfort preferences. It is essential to prioritize proper shoe fit and consider alternative solutions if sizing up is not feasible. By understanding the benefits of insoles, considering various factors, and seeking professional advice when needed, you can make informed decisions to optimize your foot health and overall comfort.

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Dr. Patrick Smith
I'm Dr. Patrick Smith, a board-certified podiatrist with over 20 years of experience. I received my Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from the California School of Podiatric Medicine in 2001. I then completed a residency in podiatric medicine and surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. I am a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle conditions. I treat a wide range of conditions, including: I am also a certified pedorthist. This means that I am qualified to design and fit custom orthotics. Orthotics are devices that are used to correct foot problems and improve alignment. I am committed to providing my patients with the highest quality of care. I am compassionate and understanding, and I take the time to listen to my patients' concerns. I am also up-to-date on the latest advances in podiatric medicine, and I use the most effective treatments available. I believe that everyone deserves to have healthy feet. That's why I am passionate about providing my patients with the care they need to live pain-free and active lives. If you are looking for a podiatrist who can provide you with the best possible care, I encourage you to contact my office. I would be happy to help you find relief from your foot pain and improve your overall health. Thank you for reading my bio. I look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve your foot health goals.