Hammer toes can be caused by a variety of things. But no matter the cause, they can lead to pain and discomfort on a daily basis.
One way to ease hammer toe pain is to invest in the best hammer toe shoe inserts. On top of that, these can often help prevent your hammer toes from getting worse.
We recommend trying the Tread Labs Pace. Our top pick uses a 2-part system with molded arch support. It has a deep heel cup for stability and uses a 5 mm thick top cover for cushioning.
There are a lot of other good options on the market, too. So is the full list of inserts that we suggest for hammer toes.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
1. Tread Labs Pace
The Tread Labs Pace insole is a 2-piece system made up of a molded arch support section and a replaceable top cover.
This not only allows you to customize the support and cushioning but also means you don’t need to replace the entire insole when the top cover wears out.
When buying one of these insoles, you’ll choose your shoe size and your arch height. You can choose from four different arch heights to get the type of support that’s perfect for your foot.
Once you’ve chosen your arch support, it’s covered by Tread Labs’ Million Mile Guarantee. If yours ever loses its shape or breaks, the company will replace it no questions asked.
As well as offering your ideal level of arch support, the molded support piece has a slightly raised heel and a deep heel cup that keeps your foot firmly in place.
The top cover is 5 mm thick, which offers comfort and shock absorption in addition to your shoe’s midsole. It’s made of open-cell polyurethane foam and features PURE antimicrobial treatment to keep your feet fresh and healthy every time you wear them.
Some people may find that this insole is a bit too soft for them. You can choose to replace the top cover with a thinner one or consider one of their insoles if you want something more rigid.
If you find that a raised metatarsal ridge helps your hammer toes, you can buy metatarsal support pads separately that are designed to be used with these insoles.
- Molded arch support
- 5 mm-thick top cover
- Deep heel cup
- PURE antimicrobial treatment
- Some may find that these insoles are too soft for them
2. Dr. Scholl’s Performance Sized to Fit Running Insoles
The Dr. Scholl’s Performance Sized to Fit Running Insoles aren’t only good for running. They offer a lot of features that make them excellent for hammer toes.
There’s the X-Form reinforced size-specific arch that’s designed to move naturally with your foot, offers good support, and helps with motion control.
Dual-layer Performance Plus cushioning is designed to offer more energy return than other insoles, so you’ll get the best of both springiness and soft shock absorption. It also helps to distribute pressure evenly across the foot.
ActivPerform technology in the heel helps to reduce shock by up to 40% more than other insoles. The heel cups the foot, keeping it in place and preventing unnecessary movement.
The insole also features built-in metatarsal support, which allows the toes and the hammer toe to spread out comfortably and prevents friction between them.
A moisture-wicking top layer is comfortable and also uses Polygiene Odor Crunch technology to keep your feet fresh.
The arch support may not be quite enough to offer adequate support for those with flat feet or high arches.
- Dual layer cushioning
- Metatarsal padding
- Reinforced arch
- Moisture-wicking top cloth
- The arch support may not be enough for those with flat feet or high arches
Best Memory Foam
3. Superfeet COPPER
Memory foam is comfortable and adapts to your foot, creating a custom fit. The Superfeet Copper features a memory foam upper layer, which provides shock absorption and a high level of comfort.
It also has an organic odor-control coating that will prevent odor-causing bacteria from multiplying, keeping your feet fresh and healthy.
You’ll find that there’s a firm stabilizer cap at the base of the insole, which has a deep heel cup to support the foot in its natural alignment.
A low-profile arch shape is ideal for those with a neutral foot. However, people with particularly high arches or flat feet may find that these insoles don’t offer enough support for their feet.
They’re made to be durable and last up to 12 months or 500 miles.
- Memory foam cushioning molds to your foot
- Reinforced stabilizer cap
- Deep heel cup
- Low-profile shape
- May not offer enough arch support to those with flat feet or high arches
Top Gel Insoles
4. Sof Sole Airr Insole
The Sof Sole Airr insole is a medium-arch insert with excellent cushioning. Although it may not be suitable for low or high arches, it will support and cushion a neutral foot extremely well.
For shock absorption, it features Skydex encapsulated air chambers in both the arch and the heel. In the forefoot there’s polymer gel, so your foot is well padded and protected.
The polyurethane footbed also offers support and impact absorption, as well as comfort. A Coolmax moisture-wicking top cover helps to create the optimal environment to keep your feet cool and dry.
- Gel cushioning in the forefoot
- Encapsulated air chambers
- Neutral contour design
- Polyurethane footbed
- The Coolmax fabric on the top layer may be slippery
5. Aetrex Memory Foam Orthotics
These insoles are made from lQl50 memory foam that contours to the feet and provides an almost custom fit to your foot. Poron technology incorporated into the insole provides excellent shock absorption.
It features Aetrex signature Lynco arch support, designed to provide effective structure for your foot and keep it biomechanically aligned to prevent injury or fatigue. The arch support system is effective at relieving foot pain that may be associated with hammer toes.
The cupped heel stabilizes the rearfoot and assists with keeping the foot aligned. It works together with the arch support to provide strong support for those with medium and high arches.
A CopperGuard antimicrobial lining helps keep your foot cool and dry while it’s being supported.
- Features Aetrex signature Arch Support
- Memory Foam molds to your foot
- Cupped heel
- Antimicrobial lining
- Some may find that the memory foam isn’t firm enough to support high arches
6. BIRKENSTOCK Birko Sport
The Birkenstock Birko Sport insole is made up of two parts. The base and a top layer.
The base, which can be worn on its own without a top cover, consists of BirkoKork. This is a sustainable and adaptive cork material that offers excellent support and shock absorption.
It features arch support that doesn’t flatten and will help to align your foot. The heel cup prevents the foot from moving out of position once it’s aligned. The heel is also slightly elevated, which helps to straighten the toes.
The top layer is made from BirkoCell EVA foam, which is designed to dampen vibrations and help to distribute pressure evenly, molding to the contours of your foot.
You can wear the cork piece by itself, but the top layer is comfortable and also includes a metatarsal ridge, which helps to spread the toes out and keep them separated, preventing friction.
Take note that these insoles don’t work in Birkenstock sandals. If you’re looking specifically for sandal inserts, Birkenstock has other options.
- Metatarsal pad
- BirkoCell EVA cushioning liner
- Shock-absorbing BirkoKork
- Anatomical shape
- They don’t fit in Birkenstock sandals
Best All-Day Support
7. Timberland PRO Anti-Fatigue Technology Insoles
These insoles are robust and stand up well to all-day wear. They feature adaptive arch support that molds to the foot to provide optimal support for most foot shapes. The footbed is anatomically designed to provide the best structural support and comfort.
Anti-Fatigue Technology uses innovative inverted cone foam, which is designed to absorb shock every time your foot meets the ground, and convert it to energy. This energy is returned to the foot on the stride to lower fatigue levels.
Ortholite x-40 open-cell foam allows for good ventilation and wicks away moisture to keep your feet as dry and cool as possible in your shoes. It’s also designed to withstand high impacts without flattening.
The Ortholite foam works with the Outlast top cover to regulate temperature and keep the environment optimal for foot health. It can be hand-washed with mild detergent and air-dried.
- Adaptive arch support
- OrthoLite top layer
- Contoured footbed
- Anti-fatigue technology
- This insole doesn’t have a deep heel cup
Top Insoles For Sports
8. Superfeet ORANGE
If you want to wear your insole for playing sports, we recommend the Superfeet Orange.
They’re high-quality insoles with a reinforced stabilizer cap at the heel, which is effective at absorbing shock during both low- and high-impact sports.
The deep heel cup helps to place the foot in a biomechanically correct position and keep it there even as you move. The elevated heel also helps to keep the toes straight and prevents them from rubbing against each other.
Closed-cell foam on the top layer is both cushioning and responsive. It absorbs shock during activity and feels soft underneath the foot. It also has an organic coating that prevents bacteria from multiplying and causing odor.
These insoles are also highly durable and should keep their shape for up to 12 months or 500 miles.
The Superfeet Orange are high-volume and high-profile insoles, which means they may not fit in all shoes or they may make your shoe feel tighter. They may not be suitable for use in shoes that don’t have a removable insole.
- Shock-absorbing foam pad
- Medium to high arch support
- Reinforced stabilizer cap
- Deep heel cup
- The high-volume, high-profile insert may not fit into all shoes
Do Insoles Help With Hammer Toes?
Insoles can help with hammer toes, but it depends on the stage of the hammer toes and the insoles you choose.
They can be useful for correcting your gait and reducing pressure on the toe, preventing it from getting worse.
Features of a Good Insole for Hammer Toes
The right insole should provide sufficient support for your feet, in addition to the support your shoes provide.
Overpronators or those with high arches will need an insole that provides exceptional arch support and prevents the foot from rolling and moving out of alignment.
Comfortable cushioning that adapts to the feet is also a welcome feature. Memory foam and cork are two high-quality materials that provide some support as well as being adaptive to the feet. They also provide shock absorption and comfort.
There should be metatarsal support, which can be in the form of a raised area in the forefoot. This helps the toes to splay in a more natural manner, separating them slightly and relieving pain and discomfort associated with hammer toes.
Another helpful feature is a raised heel with a deep heel cup. The deep heel cup will keep the foot from moving around in the shoe and potentially aggravate the hammer toe, while the slight raise will help the toes to straighten out in the toe box.
What are the Benefits of Inserts?
Inserts—orthotics or insoles—can help to bring the foot into proper alignment, improving your gait and reducing strain on joints and ligaments in the feet and legs. This in turn can help with pain relief, as pressure is evenly distributed.
Having the correct gait and reduced pain can help to increase your range of motion, flexibility, and mobility.
These improvements can help to increase comfort.