Basketball is a tough sport for your feet. Period. Everyone’s foot shape is different, some of you might be having plantar fasciitis, some of you might be very wide-footed, high-arched, have some sort of foot pain or have constant problems with your shins.
It is one thing to get a good basketball sneaker – but when you still feel a problem’s not solved – that is when it’s time to invest in a quality insole.
That’s what we’ll be talking about today.
I will give you my personal list of 8 best insoles for basketball shoes for people who want to improve their comfort level, add some extra shock absorption or enhance their support to reduce stability issues.
But first, let’s talk about the major signs that tell you it’s time to invest in a pair of performance insoles…
WHEN IT’S TIME TO GET YOURSELF A PAIR OF INSOLES
Let’s get a quick rundown as to whom these custom performance basketball insoles can help:
- You feel that your sneakers do not provide enough cushioning (knee pain, discomfort on jumps/landings)
- You are running into stability issues with your shoes (constantly rolling your ankles, you feel forced to cautiously perform quicker moves)
- You are experiencing foot pain on a regular basis of a game
- You have serious plantar fasciitis
- You are very flat-footed
Now, these would be the biggest and most common red signs letting you know you need some extra weapons to your arsenal in order to optimize your experience and end your frustration regarding something you should absolutely not be thinking about on the court.
However, if you’re not having any of these issues but simply feel like a boost to your sneaker’s performance would be welcome – that is also fine.
I personally have very wide feet and high arches, a combination I don’t wish for any basketball player to have since it drastically reduces the available options for shoes to choose from and 80% of the shoes need to be broken in for longer than normal due to my high arches causing discomfort for the top of my feet, especially for more rigid material shoes (leather, nubuck, etc.).
I don’t experience most issues listed above, except for having problems with my right ankle, I still feel that a quality performance insole is an amazing addition to some shoes.
It really depends on what you’re wearing and what you’re looking for.
Now that we got that down, let’s talk about specifics – what should we look for when looking for a high-quality insole that will actually help?
FACTORS THAT MAKE A QUALITY INSOLE STAND OUT
- Cushioning: how much shock absorption value an insole adds to a shoe
- Support: how much of a difference you feel in your arch and overall foot stability
- Materials: quality pieces come in foam, gel foam, memory foam or latex, sometimes polythene
- Additional pro’s: breathability, ability to cut the insoles to adjust to your feet
Alright, we got the foundation down – you know what issues you’re having, areas where you’d like to improve, and also what to look for when shopping.
All that’s left is the list. Keep in mind that I only talk about the stuff that I personally used. I am sure there are more than 8 awesome choices of insoles that provide great value but it’s only right for me to recommend what I can vouch for.
THE 8 BEST BASKETBALL SHOE INSOLES
#8: SUPERFEET GREEN | Full Review
What I liked: This insole is 100% for those who are looking to get the most cushioning and impact absorption. This almost feels like an entire full-length cushion setup you experience from a shoe, which is really nice. Players with foot pain, flat feet, heavier players with knee issues, or older guys who’d like to preserve their joints, in the long run, will love these.
The support aspect is also pretty solid, as the cutting of the insole is very deep, so your foot sits nicely inside, providing adequate foot and heel support. If you’re a lower profile guard or someone who feels like your shoes are lacking from a cushion standpoint, I think this is one of the best options.
What I didn’t like: versatility is something I think this one’s no good since it is a very high-profile insole with very present cushioning. Someone with high arch feet like me does not appreciate that since there is barely any room for my top of the foot in the shoe, let alone with this insole.
If you like your heel to be relatively responsive, the Superfeet Run gives you that slight sink-in feel. Something a heavier player will like and a lower profile player with responsiveness will not.
#7: SIDAS GEL PLANTAR PROTECTORS
What I liked: these are very specific and minimal design made pretty much just for your forefoot. You can’t really say it’s a full-on insole but I included this one since I was curious to test it out and see if it does any good.
Straight off the bat, I really like the grippy forefoot feel they gave me while playing and it does what it claims – greatly reduced chance of blisters and my balls of the feet did not feel as worn down as they normally are after a solid game. Not a huge difference but it’s something.
What I didn’t like: for such a minimal design, you can’t really bash this one for not offering cushion or support since it’s not really for those things but the product description claiming it greatly reduces pain and provides forefoot support – that’s not really true.
It’s basically an extra layer for your forefoot for more grip, fewer blisters, and enhanced overall comfort. That layer alone won’t really lock in your foot, so something to keep in mind.
#6: SUPERFEET CARBON | Full Review
What I liked: I had originally had mixed feelings about these but they turned out to be pretty solid after testing ’em out for a few sessions. I loved that they come with the textured finish on the forefoot area which really did make a difference in my traction.
Opposite from its Superfeet Green brother, this insole won’t give you nearly as much cushioning and it better accompanies a low profile set up. I liked these more than the Superfeet Green because the Carbon model was not so present and did not take as much room for my foot, so my high-arch problem was not worsened as much.
What I didn’t like: they’re pretty rigid, so don’t expect a lot of impact absorption or pain relief after a strong session. Also, the shape isn’t cut as deeply, so it won’t exactly feel as supportive but hey, that’s more of a personal preference. Lastly, this is one of the most expensive performance insoles you can buy, so value for the money is a factor here as well for you to consider.
#5: SUPERFEET RUN | Full Review
What I liked: yet another Superfeet model and this one was the best out of the three for me. I feel like these were the most balanced and versatile options which I always appreciate since it caters towards many different individuals, with many different foot shapes, sizes, and styles of play.
They got the H.I.T. cushion technology in the heel which felt just right (not too much but not rigid either) and the Aerospring setup in the forefoot which isn’t as plushy but it’s how a forefoot area should feel, just like in a shoe.
Your foot sits pretty deep in these, so support was pretty solid too. One thing that’s a nice touch was just how breathable these are – the Moisturewick technology really did make a difference as sweat was no longer such a factor inside the shoe when normally, any extra addition inside your foot would result in less ventilation, thus more sweat and discomfort.
What I didn’t like: again, one of the more expensive models out there. Pair this with a premium shoe and you got yourself a pretty big price tag to pay – something to consider. Also, one thing I found was a pretty big let down was that the forefoot cushioning especially worn out pretty quickly and I soon found myself not feeling as much impact protection as I was a few weeks ago.
#4: SOF SOLE AIR ORTHOTIC
What I liked: an extremely comfortable insole that provides good cushioning in the heel but does not compromise for a high profile frame, so your foot will still stay pretty close to the shoe. This is seriously a great option for flat footers and for those with smaller, low-arched feet.
You guys will really feel the benefits due to the support plate in the forefoot area, so a flat foot’s motions will feel more natural and comfortable, with less pain. Overall arch and heel support are very strong here as well, I found myself not feeling as cautious with my right ankle, as I have constant issues with rolling it.
What I didn’t like: yet again a more expensive option, so not an option for those looking not to spend too much on just an insole. I guess you could say you will feel the benefits while being a flat footer more with those, but that’s hardly a downside.
#3: REDBAND QD PRONATION AND SUPINATION FOOT WEDGE INSOLES
What I liked: I absolutely loved this model purely for its supportive benefits. It does what it says really well – and that is accommodating your pronation and supination motions, while reducing pain, locking down your foot, and improving comfort.
These are surely my go-to option when I feel like I will need to protect that ankle as much as possible but also be able to keep playing aggressively.
What I didn’t like: these are not as present in terms of shock absorption since they only cover parts of the foot, so I’d recommend going with a well-cushioned shoe with these. Wide footers will also have a bit of a hard time fitting into these since their shape is very specific.
#2: SHOCK DOCTOR ULTRA ACTIVE
What I liked: hence the name Shock Doctor, we got an excellent cushion setup here which I felt helped my game and also pretty solid support. My foot sank in deep into the cup and didn’t let go.
Like the Superfeet Run, these are also brilliantly breathable and they got an anti-microbial surface, so my foot didn’t slide inside the shoe at all. One of the most well-balanced insoles in the list.
What I didn’t like: pricing was a bit high and I guess I would’ve liked just a tad bit more forefoot impact protection but that’s mostly nit-picking.
#1 PICK: HAPPY STEP UNISEX MEMORY FOAM
What I liked: a very surprising pick for the #1 spot even for me but the moment I tried these – I never really looked back at the other ones. I simply prefer these memory foam insoles for their natural feel inside the shoe, not feeling present in it at all.
It almost feels like the shoe I was playing in was just enhanced in terms of cushioning. Superb shock absorption and comfort, without taking away my quickness and responsiveness – that is memory foam implemented right. I think every foot will love these – flat footers, people with plantar fasciitis, even people with a common issue of shin pain would find these helpful.
What I didn’t like: now you won’t exactly find these extremely supportive but these are mainly not what they’re for. Also, the finish of the insole surface isn’t really textured so don’t expect extra grip from it.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERENCE?
That is it for my list – I really do hope you found it useful and will consider implementing one of my picks for your own experience.
I think everybody will find something that they’re looking for and if you’re still struggling to decide – let me know what you’re after and I will do my best to recommend something for your needs!
Now alongside an insole, you, of course, need a shoe too.
I have made a comprehensive guide on choosing a basketball shoe which I think you would also find extremely informative. You can find it here.
I have to assume that some of you guys might have a flat foot condition that’s bugging you, which is mainly why lots of ballers are looking to get insoles.
However, the foundation starts with the shoe itself.
No matter what kind of insole you put in it – if the shoe’s not designed to accommodate a flat foot, it’s not going to help much.
For people who experience foot pain or have a flat foot condition, I highly encourage you to check this post first.
If you got any questions, suggestions, or would just like to have a chat…