Best Insoles for Back Pain in 2022

 

Suffering from back pain? Chances are you’ve tried a variety of things to ease it: OTC meds, stretching, and perhaps you’ve even tried heat or cold therapy or acupuncture.

If it persists, you may be missing something small and seemingly insignificant that could make the biggest change… Your feet.

Yes—something as small as inserting one of the best insoles for back pain could be the change you need! We suggest the Tread Labs Ramble for most people, as it offers firm arch support, a deep heel cup, and a layer of cushioning.

Here are 10 of the best insoles for back pain. This could reduce your pain to manageable levels… Or eliminate it entirely! We suggest pairing it with the best shoes for back pain.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Tread Labs Ramble

 

  • Firm arch support
  • A thick layer of foam cushioning
  • Deep heel cup
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Vionic Active

 

  • Tri-planar motion control technology
  • Heel and forefoot padding
  • Excellent support for flat feet
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Spenco Total Support Thin

 

  • Semi-flexible arch support
  • Built-in metatarsal support
  • Layer of EVA foam
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Best Overall

1. Tread Labs Ramble

We love the Tread Labs system, which instantly makes them a durable and affordable option. Whether you’re getting your first insole or looking for one that better alleviates your back pain, we highly recommend the Tread Labs Ramble.

What We Like

The Tread Labs Ramble insoles have a range of features that make them a great choice for those with back pain.

You can choose from four different arch support heights to get the right one for your feet, which is a huge bonus. The company seems to be good about switching out arch support if you choose the wrong one.

The arch support is firm but it molds to your feet with wear. It supports your feet in all the right places, gently aligning the joints to keep a healthy gait and posture. This simple action can do wonders for relieving back pain.

It also has a 5 mm top cushion on it, which is a significant amount of padding that helps to reduce the natural vibrations that every step causes. This amount of padding will help with everyday use and when performing high-impact activities.

Another pro is that the top cover uses PURE antimicrobial treatment to keep your feet feeling and smelling fresh. When they start to flatten or become tattered, simply buy a new top cover to add to the molded insert.

A deep heel cup assists with the overall support, as it keeps your foot in a position where it can reap the benefit of proper alignment. It’s also very easy to fit into almost any shoe.

The price may put some people off initially, as it seems expensive. However, considering the lifetime guarantee on the arch support and the easy replacement of the top cover, it should pay for itself many times over.

Why We Like It

We love that you can choose your correct arch support to get the right amount of support. Its durability is also a huge plus, thanks to the lifetime guarantee of the arch support and the easily-replaceable top cover.

PROS:

  • Firm arch support that encourages a healthy posture and gait
  • A thick layer of foam cushioning reduces shockwaves that travel through the leg
  • Deep heel cup helps keep your feet correctly positioned
  • Can be used in a variety of shoes

CONS:

  • These insoles initially come across as being quite pricey
 

Top Runner-Up

2. Superfeet GREEN

The Superfeet Green insole is a full-length insert that’s designed for comprehensive support. While it’s technically a single piece, the cushioning and heel cup are noticeably separate pieces, working together for the best of both comfort and support.

What We Like

These insoles provide strong support, especially for those who have flat feet or high arches. Their supportive features keep your arch optimally aligned to prevent overpronation, which helps reduce back pain as it aligns the kinetic chain from the foot to the lower back.

To provide the right kind of support, these insoles have been biomechanically designed to keep your feet aligned. A stabilizer cap in the heel provides a firm platform and contains a deep, wide heel cup that keeps your foot in place.

On top of the cap sits a thick cover made of high-density foam that absorbs shock on every step. It’s coated with organic, antibacterial treatment for improved foot health. You can trim this top cover to fit comfortably inside your shoes.

Superfeet Green insoles have been crafted to be durable, and the company promises that they should keep their shape for around 12 months or 500 miles of use.

Note that these are designed for high arches, so people with flat feet and high arches should benefit greatly from them. However, those with neutral feet might find that the support is a bit too much for them.

They’re also quite high-profile insoles, so you may have trouble wearing them in low-profile sneakers, dress shoes, or work shoes.

Why We Like It

The Superfeet Green insole offers excellent support and has a good lifespan. Multiple support features work together to align and stabilize your feet.

PROS:

  • Biomechanical shape aligns your feet and reduces stress on your joints
  • High-density foam cushions and supports your feet where you need it most
  • The stabilizer cap provides firm structure and stability
  • Moisture-wicking and antimicrobial top cloth promotes good foot health

CONS:

  • Some people with neutral feet might find the arch support to be too high
  • These insoles are high-profile, so they may not fit into dress shoes or work shoes
 

Best Value

3. Vionic Active

Vionic creates high-quality orthopedic products designed to improve foot health. Most of their products are approved by the APMA—American Podiatric Medical Association—as being beneficial for those with foot conditions.

What We Like

The Vionic Active insoles are designed specifically to promote better foot health. Thanks to their Tri-Planar technology, they offer excellent support and alignment that can go a long way towards relieving both foot and back pain.

A neutral arch is the first support feature, although it’s robust enough to provide support for flat or fallen arches. This is coupled with a deep heel cup to ensure the arch support never moves out of place.

They use a 4-degree heel wedge to provide extra support on the medial side and guard against overpronation.

Featuring 7 mm of padding under the heel and 4 mm in the forefoot with reinforced padding in both areas, these insoles also do a good job of absorbing shock that gets past your shoes’ midsoles.

You can trim the soft top cover to fit your shoes. It’s also infused with EcoFresh tech for continuous freshness.

You should note that the unisex sizing may make sizing a bit tricky. Although the insole is trimmable to fit your shoes, the arch support needs to be in the right place, which can be difficult to get right with combined men’s and women’s sizes.

Why We Like It

This biomechanical orthotic aligns your joints from the feet up, providing both comfort and pain relief from foot to lower back.

PROS:

  • Tri-planar motion control technology provides excellent stability
  • Built-in heel and forefoot padding protects and cushions your feet
  • Facilitates proper alignment that reduces aches and pains
  • Provides excellent support for flat feet or fallen arches

CONS:

  • The unisex sizing of this insole can make fitting it correctly a little difficult
 

Most Supportive

4. Spenco Total Support Thin

These insoles may be thin, but they provide a great amount of support. They should fit quite nicely into almost any shoes, which means you’ll never be unsupported, and your back pain should begin to improve.

What We Like

Despite being very low-profile, these insoles feature a support system that your feet will be glad for. Semi-rigid arch support allows for light flex, keeping them comfortable while still being supportive.

A 3-Pod Cushioning design features extra support in the heel and on the medial side of the insole, which provides a physical barrier against overpronation. While your shoes should be doing most of the work to prevent overpronation, getting a pair of insoles that does the same job is very helpful.

There’s a honeycomb Crash Pad on the forefoot, which absorbs shock. There’s also extra metatarsal support, which is unusual but appreciated. This works with their “First Ray Drop Zone”, which offers light support for the toes on both the medial and lateral sides.

A deep heel cup rounds the design off nicely, with the polyurethane stability cradle hugging your foot to continue providing support in all the right places.

However, their design does mean that there’s much less cushioning than you find in other insoles. This may not be an issue if you’re wearing them in well-cushioned shoes, but it may be noticeable in shoes without any of their own padding.

Why We Like It

These insoles are very thin, which is what makes them great for fitting into any shoes. Despite that, they manage to pack a lot of very supportive features into their thin frame.

PROS:

  • Semi-flexible arch support cradles your foot
  • Built-in metatarsal support reduces pressure on your forefoot
  • A layer of EVA foam molds to the shape of your foot and cushions your every step
  • Can be used in a variety of shoes due to its low profile design

CONS:

  • The thin nature of this insole means there’s less cushioning than most others
 

Best for Working Out

5. CURREX RunPro

The Currex RunPro insoles are designed for running, walking, and triathlon. If you want to do other types of training like weightlifting, cycling, or jumping rope, they should be sufficiently supportive and padded for that as well.

What We Like

The first thing we like about these insoles is that you can choose from high, medium, and low arch models. This takes much of the guesswork out of getting the right arch support for your foot!

That arch support is cushioned and comfortable, thanks to a semi-flexible nylon footbridge. You can physically see this bridge by turning the insole over; it’s a white piece of material that uses Dynamic Arch Technology to mold to your foot comfortably and supportively.

This not only bolsters the arch, but it provides good protection against overpronation, which may be the main culprit in your back pain.

As well as the Dynamic Arch Support, there are extra cushioning zones in both the heel and the forefoot.

The honeycomb-design layer is made of a combination of EVA and rubber, which makes it excellent for shock absorption, especially if you’re doing high-impact activities.

Above that is a memory foam layer, which is infused with charcoal for reduced odor. The topmost layer is a soft, comfortable microfiber that reduces chafing and blisters.

These insoles are a little pricey for single-use inserts, but you can’t put a price on relieving pain!

Why We Like It

These insoles offer excellent shock absorption and extra cushioning, which makes a huge difference when you’re doing both low-impact and high-impact activities.

PROS:

  • Three support zones help to reduce muscle fatigue
  • Cushioned arch support keeps your foot in the optimal biomechanical position
  • Soft, quick drying microfiber top cloth reduces blisters and hot spots
  • Available in multiple arch heights

CONS:

  • These insoles are somewhat pricey
 

Most Comfortable

6. SOLE Softec Ultra

For some, comfort plays a big role in choosing the best insoles, for back pain or just for daily use. We recommend these if you want extreme comfort as well as support.

What We Like

The SOLE Softec Ultra insoles may not look like much, but they’re one of the most comfortable insoles on the market.

One of the best things about them is that they’re heat- and use-moldable, which allows them to contour perfectly to your feet and offer support in exactly the right places.

You can reheat and mold them up to 5 times. However, they may take some time to break in, even once they have molded to your feet.

Once they’re molded to your arch, you should find that they provide excellent arch support for flat feet and high arches. Some neutral feet may feel that it’s a little too much, but some will be happy with it.

In addition to that, the 3.2 mm Softec layer with a nubuck finish gives these a luxurious feel, both with or without socks.

Made of three separate layers, there’s also a heel-stabilizing cup to prevent movement of the foot and a metatarsal support pad to relieve forefoot pressure.

These elements all work together to make this insole an extremely comfortable one to wear in almost any pair of shoes.

Also note that these high-profile insoles, so they may not fit so comfortably into low-profile shoes like dress shoes or sneakers like Converse.

Why We Like It

This insole strikes the perfect balance between comfortable and supportive, thanks to its design.

PROS:

  • Molds to the shape of your foot, offering support in all the right places
  • Semi-rigid arch support and deep heel cup encourage natural foot alignment
  • 3.2 mm layer of cushion offers all-day comfort and protection
  • Excellent option if you have high arches

CONS:

  • These insoles may take some time to break in
  • They may not fit comfortably into low-profile shoes
 

Best Arch Support

7. PowerStep Pinnacle Maxx

The first step to supporting your feet is to buy shoes with excellent arch support.

But when you want to wear those old shoes that are flat as a board, or you need to wear fancy shoes with little to no support for a work function, this insole offers excellent support for the arch.

What We Like

The PowerStep Pinnacle Maxx has a unique 3 ½-layer design, which ultimately creates exceptional arch support. You can easily wear these insoles in shoes with no arch support and feel balanced and stable all the while.

The bottom layer of the insole features a built-in angled heel post, which is basically a slight heel on the insole. This leads right into the sturdy arch support, and it’s helped by a half-layer above it, a support shell that cradles the heel and makes sure the arch support stays in the right place.

Some people may find that the strong arch support is too much for comfort. However, other people will feel that it’s just enough, so it’s a subjective thing.

Above these layers is the dual-layer EVA foam cushioning, which absorbs shock and keeps those support features comfortable. On top is a moisture-wicking anti-bacterial top cloth to finish it off.

The insoles are trim-to-fit, which allows you to get a close-to-perfect fit in your shoes.

Why We Like It

The PowerStep Pinnacle Maxx provides exceptional arch support for a neutral to high-arched foot while remaining comfortable enough for long-term use. Prolonged use should reduce back pain noticeably.

PROS:

  • Excellent balance between flexibility and support
  • Dual foam layer protects your underfoot from the impact of your steps
  • Angled heel post improves your foot’s positioning and enhances support
  • Trim-to-fit for the perfect fit

CONS:

  • Some may find that the arch support is a little too high for their liking
 

Most Cushioned

8. pedag Energy Sportsline

This 4-layered insole provides a good bit of cushion, making it comfortable underfoot as well as shock-absorbing. It’s a good choice for everyday wear and sporting use.

What We Like

Each layer of this insole serves a purpose. The bottom shell provides an orthopedic shape with a deep heel cup that holds your foot securely in place. This layer is also the base that provides solid arch support.

You can see the zonal support just by looking at the pattern on the bottom of the insole—arch support, lateral support, toe support, and an uncoupled heel.

These features work together, gently aligning your joint to bring the entire kinetic chain into alignment, reducing back pain as a result.

As well as a full layer of shock-absorbing cushion, there’s also an extra heel cushion, which does wonders for minimizing the effects of impact. This cushion makes the insole suitable for sports as well as everyday life.

However, the one thing it doesn’t offer is metatarsal support, which some people may find to be quite a noticeable lack of support.

Why We Like It

The pedag Energy Sportsline is designed for sport, featuring multiple layers for shock absorption and excellent cushioning.

PROS:

  • Orthopedic design helps to align and maintain anatomically-correct positioning
  • A layer of shock-absorbing cushioning provides support in key areas
  • Cushioned heel for impact absorption during low and high-impact activities
  • The 4-layer design offers a combination of padding and stability

CONS:

  • The insole lacks metatarsal support, which some may find noticeable
 

Best Heel Support

9. Protalus M-100

If you require more heel support than the average insole offers, the Protalus M-100 could be the right choice for you. It offers solid, robust support all over, but the heel is particularly stabilized and protected

What We Like

The Protalus M-100 is a robust insole made from a variety of layers. Right at the bottom, two separate cushioned pads—one in the heel and one in the forefoot—absorb shock and prevent vibrations from jarring the foot.

Next, you have a rearfoot shank. This device is responsible for cupping the heel, providing a secure, stable platform that keeps the heel safe and prevents any lateral movement that could aggravate both foot and back pain.

The next layer is a full-length foam cushion, designed for comfort and shock absorption. It’s noticeably thicker in the heel, although it does have a deep cup for the heel to fall securely into.

Another handy feature is the anti-slip ridges found on the underside of the insole. This helps the insole grip your shoe, so there’s no excess movement.

Protalus’s Tri-Planar System provides excellent arch support as well as heel support, and these two work together to align your foot, ankle, knee, hip, and lower back. Just realigning this chain can have huge positive effects on back pain!

These insoles are definitely better for high-volume shoes, as they’re quite robust. Trying to use them in low-profile shoes may cause frustration and could lead to discomfort or even hot spots.

Why We Like It

For those who need additional heel support, this insole offers plenty of it, along with great cushioning, arch support, and shock absorption.

PROS:

  • The layered design offers excellent support for the arch and heel
  • The rearfoot shank provides heel stability and support
  • Tri-Planar system technology aligns the foot from the ground up
  • Anti-slip ridges keep the insole still inside your shoe

CONS:

  • This is a high-profile insole and may not fit into some shoes
 

Top 3/4 Length

10. BIRKENSTOCK Birko Classic

¾ insoles are handy for low-profile shoes or those who need rearfoot support and cushioning but don’t necessarily need a full-length insert. This one is made from Birkenstocks’ class cork and EVA.

What We Like

This insole is fashioned off of Birkenstocks’ famous footbed. Made of cork and EVA, it offers both a good amount of flexibility and supportive structure, especially in the arch.

The solid arch support works with a deep heel cup to keep the foot in its optimal position. This ensures that your joints are aligned and take minimal strain, alleviating both foot and lower back pain with prolonged use.

A microfiber linen top cover is soft on the feet, while an anti-slip moleskin underside keeps it from sliding forward in your shoe as you walk.

Why We Like It

Not everyone will need a full-length insole. Thanks to the classic Birkenstock construction, this one provides excellent support and comfort to those who need a compact insole with great rearfoot support.

PROS:

  • ¾-length makes these insoles easy to slip into most types of shoes
  • Cork and EVA construction offers both flexibility and structure
  • A deep heel cup and strong arch support gently align the foot
  • Available in narrow, medium, and wide widths

CONS:

  • This insole won’t be suitable for those who need metatarsal support
 
 

Buyer’s Guide – Insoles for Back Pain

Arch Support

Make sure the arch support in the insole you choose is appropriate for your own arch. If you have a flat foot or a high arch, you’ll need more robust arch support than someone with a neutral foot.

Durability

Your insole should keep its shape for a long period of time, and not flatten after a few wears. Some insoles have replaceable top covers—Tread Labs—which increases their durability significantly.

Deep Heel Cup

A deep heel cup helps to keep your foot stable on the insole. The padding under the heel cup also provides shock absorption, keeping your feet safe from vibrations on every step.

The Fit of the Insole

Every part of the insole should fit properly with your foot. If the insole is too long or too short, the arch support won’t be in the right place. Most insoles are made with a trim-to-fit design, which allows you to get a very close fit.

FAQs

Is An Arch Support Insole Good for Your Back?

Insoles with arch support are good for your back, as long as they match your arch. Without arch support, the ligaments and tendons in the feet are placed under strain as they aren’t supported.

There’s also a higher chance of the joint going out of alignment, which has further-reaching effects than just the feet. This can throw the knees, hips, and lower back out of alignment too.

Do Insoles Help Relieve Back Pain?

Insoles—also called orthotics or inserts—can, in theory, help to relieve back pain by gently realigning the feet and reducing strain on the joints.

This helps to correct the body’s posture as well as your gait, making orthotics helpful for much more than just the feet!

You should note, though, that store-bought insoles may not always be appropriate for your feet. For example, those with flat feet or high arches will need significantly more arch support than those with neutral feet.

Choosing insoles that don’t align the feet may end up doing more damage. If you have high arches or flat feet, you may be better off getting a custom orthotic made by a podiatrist. It’s likely to be more expensive, but well worth it.

Can Running Cause Back Pain?

Although running can aggravate back pain, it’s not usually the direct cause of the pain. In reality, competitive runners tend to suffer from less back pain than those who don’t run.

If you run with proper form, it may actually help to alleviate back pain, thanks to the release of endorphins and the strengthening of core muscles.