Best Shoe Inserts for Fat Pad Atrophy in 2022

 

Fat pad atrophy may be difficult to notice at first. But, unfortunately, once you feel that pain and pressure in the ball of your foot, it’s too late. There’s no way to reverse fat pad atrophy, but you can take steps to protect your feet, so it doesn’t get worse.

One of the ways to do so is to invest in one of the best shoe inserts for fat pad atrophy. Shoe inserts will prevent you from having to buy new shoes, and keep your feet protected and cushioned to reduce pain.

We recommend the SOLE Active Thick inserts. They have a built-in metatarsal pad, 3.2 mm of cushioning to pad the ball of the foot, and can easily be used in any type of footwear.

We’ve found six excellent choices of shoe inserts for fat pad atrophy. We recommend choosing one of these to improve your quality of life if you’re living with this condition.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

SOLE Active Thick with Met Pad

 

  • Metatarsal pad
  • Thick layer of cushioning
  • Molds to the foot shape
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DACAT Orthotic Flat Feet Arch Support Insoles

 

  • Contoured metatarsal support
  • Deep heel cup
  • Microfiber top cover
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Footlogics Metatarsalgia

 

  • Extra heel padding
  • Ergonomic design
  • Fits into most shoes
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Best Overall

1. SOLE Active Thick with Met Pad

This full-length insert offers a great combination of support and cushioning for the entire foot, but especially in the forefoot.

What We Like

The SOLE Active Thick inserts have 3.2 mm of Softec cushioning underfoot. This helps to absorb shock and cushion the metatarsal heads, easing pressure and reducing pain.

There’s a metatarsal pad in the forefoot that helps to spread the metatarsal heads and disperse your body weight more evenly. This effectively reduces pressure on your bones.

Although it has semi-rigid arch support, the insole is heat and wear-moldable so that the arch supports your foot in the ideal way.

A deep heel cup also keeps your foot in the right position. This insole is a zero-drop platform, meaning it doesn’t raise your heel higher than your forefoot, eliminating pressure on the forefoot fat pad.

However, it does depend on the heel-to-toe drop of your shoes to determine how much pressure is placed on the forefoot. You may want to consider a pair of zero-drop shoes.

The inserts also have Polygiene anti-odor technology and a moisture-wicking top cover built in to help your feet stay dry and hygienic at all times.

Vegans will be happy to know that these shoe inserts are also vegan, so you can wear them safely!

Why We Like It

This shoe insert provides excellent support and cushioning for the forefoot, while spreading the metatarsals to help relieve pressure on those bones. It also provides some cushioning for the rest of the foot and can be used in almost any kind of footwear.

What to Consider

These insoles are trim-to-fit, so make sure that once you’ve trimmed them, the metatarsal pad is still in the right place for your feet.

It may be a good idea to place your foot on the insert with the metatarsal pad in the right place and then trace a line on the insert so you know where to cut.

PROS:

  • Metatarsal pad spreads metatarsal heads, reducing pressure placed on them
  • 3.2 mm thick layer of cushioning protects the metatarsal heads
  • Molds to your foot shape for a personalized fit
  • Designed to be used with most everyday footwear

CONS:

  • It can be easy to accidentally trim these down too much so the metatarsal pad moves out of position
 

Top Runner-Up

2. New Balance Casual Metatarsal Support

This full-length insert is great for high arches. It alleviates pain in the ball of the foot by providing excellent support for the arch, forefoot, and heel.

What We Like

The New Balance Casual Metatarsal Support insert offers strong, semi-rigid, sculpted arch support. It keeps the foot aligned and distributes weight evenly, reducing pressure across the foot.

In the forefoot, you’ll find around 5 mm of high-density foam, and 8 mm in the heel. This not only makes the insole more comfortable, but it helps to absorb shock as you walk.

A built-in metatarsal pad alleviates pressure on the forefoot, allowing you to walk and stand in relative comfort throughout the day.

There’s also a lot of cushioning in the heel and a secure heel cup, making this insole ideal if you’re experiencing fat pad atrophy in both the forefoot and the heel.

The insole is also moisture-wicking and has antimicrobial properties, so your feet will stay clean and dry.

Why We Like It

This shoe insert offers amazing forefoot and heel cushioning, plus a met pad and a stable heel cup. This makes it perfect for those suffering from both forefoot and heel fat pad atrophy.

What to Consider

Those with medium or lower arches may find that the arch support in this insole is actually a bit too much. It can feel rigid and painful in the arch when you’ve been on your feet for a few hours.

Also, if you have wide heels, you may find that the heel cup is too small and the sides dig into the bottom of your feet.

PROS:

  • Integrated metatarsal pad alleviates stress on the forefoot for all-day relief
  • Sculpted arch support encourages natural alignment and proper weight distribution throughout the foot
  • High-density foam protects your underfoot and cushions each step
  • Great option if you have high arches

CONS:

  • The arch support may be a bit much for those with low or medium arches
  • Not suitable for those who have wide heels
 

Best Value

3. DACAT Orthotic Flat Feet Arch Support Insoles

These insoles are technically for flat feet, but they also offer good support for medium arches. They’re reasonably priced, so we recommend these if you’re experimenting with your first insole.

What We Like

The DACAT Orthotic Flat Feet Arch Support Insoles are reasonably priced and provide great support for people with low arches.

It’s ergonomically-designed and features strong, semi-rigid support in the arch, made of a piece of TPU. Those with high arches may feel that there’s not enough, but it is geared towards low arches.

It also features a metatarsal pad, which provides extra support to the forefoot and reduces pressure on the metatarsal heads.

Cushioning is good, with a special cushioning pad in the heel that is great for people who need extra padding in both the heel and the forefoot.

A double layer of padding features underfoot, with a polyurethane layer and a lighter Ortholite foam layer on top, covered by a friction-free microfiber top cloth.

They’re also easy to trim to the perfect size for your foot.

Why We Like It

These insoles are supportive for those who don’t need strong arch support. They’re also very reasonably priced for their quality.

What to Consider

These insoles may be affordable and fairly effective, but their cushioning isn’t as substantial as others. Some people may feel that they aren’t padded enough to be comfortable.

Those with high arches may also feel that the arch support isn’t strong enough to support their feet.

PROS:

  • Contoured metatarsal support cradles and protects underfoot
  • Deep heel cup with extra cushioning offers stability and shock absorption
  • Microfiber top cover reduces friction and keeps your feet dry
  • Trim-to-fit for the perfect fit

CONS:

  • Not as well-cushioned as others
  • Won’t be suitable for those with high arches
 

Top ¾-Length

4. Footlogics Metatarsalgia

A ¾-length insert is great for closer-fitting shoes with less space inside. They could be a good choice if you have shoes with non-removable insoles.

What We Like

The Footlogics Metatarsalgia insert is made to relieve pain in the ball of the foot. A soft but supportive metatarsal pad is built into the insert to spread the metatarsal bones and alleviate pressure.

The full insole is made of lightweight EVA foam that cushions the foot effectively and provides comfort underfoot.

Podflex shock pads in the forefoot and heel offer extra support where you need it most and absorb the shock of impact when you walk.

It’s ergonomically designed to mold to your foot, providing the ideal amount of support for your arch to keep your foot aligned properly.

Why We Like It

This insole offers extra padding in both the heel and the forefoot, providing relief from fat pad atrophy pain and pressure. It also fits easily into almost any shoe.

What to Consider

The underside of the insoles is quite smooth, so they may occasionally slide in your shoe. You can fix this by gluing a piece of sticky or grippy material underneath the insole so it grips to the shoe better.

PROS:

  • Extra heel and forefoot padding protects the feet from impact
  • Molds to your foot shape, supporting and stabilizing the arch
  • Ergonomic design with the semi-rigid orthotic arch support
  • Slim design fits into most shoes

CONS:

  • The insole may slide in your shoe
 

Best Pads

5. PediFix Pedi-GEL Ball-of-Foot Pads

If you don’t need a full insert but just need metatarsal pads to alleviate pressure on the forefoot, then we recommend the PediFix Pedi-GEL Ball-of-Foot Pads.

What We Like

The PediFix metatarsal pads are soft and comfortable. Made of latex-free gel, they help to absorb the shock of impact, reduce pressure on the forefoot by spreading the metatarsal bones, and cushion the forefoot.

Although they offer good padding in the forefoot, they’re thin enough to be used in almost any shoe, including dress shoes.

You can stick these self-adhesive met pads onto your foot before you put your socks on, or stick it to the bottom of the inside of your shoe, whichever works best for you.

Once you are done wearing them, you can wash them off and reuse them the following day.

Why We Like It

They’re small, light, discreet, and very easy to use in any pair of shoes. They’re also washable and reusable, making them great value for money.

What to Consider

This is a metatarsal pad and is designed to spread the metatarsal bones to reduce friction and distribute pressure evenly.

Although it does provide some cushioning to the forefoot, it doesn’t offer cushioning directly over the metatarsal heads. While it does help to relieve pain, if you need cushioning over the metatarsal heads you may need to look at other options.

PROS:

  • Discreet gel pads that absorb shock, reduce pressure, and cushion forefoot
  • Pad is self-adhesive and stays in place as you go about your activities
  • Can be used in everyday footwear
  • It’s washable and reusable

CONS:

  • This pad doesn’t cushion the metatarsal heads
 

Best Cushioning

6. ZenToes Metatarsal Pads

If you need barely-there, comfortable, discreet cushioning for your forefoot, we highly recommend this handy slip-on pad.

What We Like

These discreet metatarsal pads are ideal for those who don’t need extra arch or heel support, as they only provide cushioning to the ball of the foot.

They have an anatomical fit, and are made from a seam-free fabric that reduces the chance of chafing and blisters.

A gel pad in the forefoot helps to alleviate shock and add comfort, protecting the exposed metatarsals from impact as you walk or stand.

They’re very easy to slip on and their low-profile design means you can wear them in almost any shoe, including those without removable insoles or with a shallow inner chamber.

They are washable and reusable, so you will definitely get your money’s worth from these forefoot pads.

Why We Like It

These slip-on met pads can be worn in any shoe and do a good job of cushioning the ball of the foot. They can be washed and reused many times.

What to Consider

The universal sizing means that you may not get a perfect fit on your foot. They’re designed for a range of sizes—men’s 6 to 9 and women’s 8 to 11—but may be slightly too loose or tight on your foot depending on your size.

PROS:

  • Discreet fabric and gel metatarsal pads that can be worn underneath socks
  • Anatomical fit provides cushioning in all the right places
  • Soft, seam-free fabric reduces friction and prevents blisters
  • Pads are washable and reusable, allowing for for longer wear

CONS:

  • The universal sizing means you may not get a good fit
 
 

Buyer’s Guide – Shoe Inserts for Fat Pad Atrophy

Cushioning

When you buy a pad to replace the cushioning that you’ve lost on your foot, you obviously need good cushioning in the pad to absorb shock and offer comfort.

You can choose an insert made of gel or foam padding for the best effect.

Met Pad

Choosing a shoe insert with a met pad will help to relieve the pressure on the ball of the foot. This will help to ease pain in the ball of foot area.

Support

If you choose a full-length insert, make sure it offers the right type and amount of arch support for your foot type. If you’re an overpronator, the insert should offer enough structural support to keep your feet protected.

Breathability

Choose an insert made from moisture-wicking material. This will help keep your feet comfortable as it helps moisture evaporate when you sweat.

If you choose one with an antimicrobial lining it will also help to prevent odor-causing bacteria from forming. Your feet will smell fresh even if they sweat.

FAQs

What Does Fat Pad Atrophy Feel Like?

When the fat pad in the ball of your foot begins to wear down, you may experience pain in the ball of your foot when you walk, stand, or run.

This may be accompanied by a burning sensation or a feeling of pressure on the ball of the foot. The pain usually increases with activity.

Can Fat Pad Atrophy Be Reversed?

Fat pad atrophy can not be reversed. However, you can slow it down by taking measures to protect the fat pad.

You can use cushioned shoes or shock-absorbing inserts to protect the balls of your feet. Avoid being barefoot if you can, as this places extra pressure on the fat pad.

In severe cases, your doctor may recommend a foot filler injection. This will help to absorb shock, relieve pressure on the metatarsal bones, and reduce pain. However, it’s usually a last resort.

How Can Insoles Relieve Ball of Foot Pain?

Insoles help to stabilize the foot and support the arch, so your body weight is evenly distributed across your feet. This reduces pressure on the ball of the foot, easing pain.

Some inserts also have built-in metatarsal pads, which help to spread the metatarsal bones and ease pressure on the ball of the foot.