Should Insoles Hurt at First in Work Boots?

Insoles, especially those in work boots, aim to prevent foot injury while promoting good foot health. However, even with the best insoles for work boots, a little discomfort is quite common initially because the insoles adapt to the foot shape and vice versa. This adaptation will, in turn, help treat the underlying problems better but cause slight pain.

The length of the discomfort period, however, varies significantly. Usually, factors like the foot shape, type of insoles, and the foot problem affect the duration and severity. I’ve found that it often takes a couple of weeks for the insoles to mold into the foot shape, but there have been times it has taken up to a month.

If your feet still hurt after a month, though, you should find some other orthotics as chances are you have the wrong ones. One of the best things I did, eventually, was to purchase some custom-built insoles as they fit right from the start and didn’t cause any discomfort at all.


Factors Affecting the Break-In Period of Insoles

The time that it takes for the insoles to conform to the feet is called the break-in period. This period often entails blisters and abrasions, hence causing pain.

The length of this period varies significantly, especially in work boots, depending on various factors. For one, if you have a narrower foot shape, the insoles will fit more comfortably within the shoes, hence hurting less.

Moreover, a slight foot problem will reduce the chances of blisters, thus diminishing the pain significantly.

Furthermore, you should choose the insoles’ type carefully, according to your requirements. This way, you can reduce the severity significantly. If possible, I would highly recommend getting custom-built thick insoles.

To further shorten the period, you can follow the tips below.

    • •  In the beginning, wear them around the house and take the boots off if the insoles cause discomfort. Wear the work boots at work only once they feel comfortable enough.
    • •  At first, some stiffer parts of the insoles are more likely to hurt by causing friction. You can, however, reduce this discomfort by using moisturizers or petroleum jelly.
    • •  If possible, you should buy a couple of pairs and switch them after every few hours. During your extensive outdoor work, this will allow the insoles to rest.

Why do insoles hurt?

Insoles hurt and cause various foot problems due to many reasons. For one, thin insoles usually don’t provide enough support and protection, leading to discomfort.

Improper fitting that fails to provide adequate medical support can also worsen the foot conditions further. Additionally, using different work boots insoles than previously will require time for the feet to stick to.

At first, the insoles will also be stiff and cause extensive friction, causing pain and discomfort.

Inadequate heel or arch support can also result in excruciating pain, especially if you have plantar fasciitis or flat feet. Therefore, you need to determine your foot shape and choose the insoles accordingly to keep the foot in the correct orientation.

A comprehensive biomechanical assessment can help understand the foot structure better.


How do I know if I need an orthotic adjustment?

If your foot pain persists for longer than five weeks, it indicates that your orthotics need adjustment. In the long term, your orthotics need to relieve pain, and their inability to do so proves that they are ill-fitted.

As well as that, if you notice a faster wearing down of your insoles than usual, you should get them checked. Incorrect orthotic size often quickens the wearing-down process due to added friction.

Extensive compressing, cracks in the insoles, or other damage also indicates the need for orthotic adjustment.

I would recommend getting the insoles checked every few months, even if they do not cause trouble. This check will help assess their performance and know if they need adjustment. Getting this done is especially important for work boots, which necessitate precision.

In some cases, the insoles might not cause foot discomfort but a pain in the lower back, hips, or even the knee. This pain is often due to an odd posture and can be relieved through an orthotic adjustment.


A Quick Recommendation

Superfeet Unisex Premium Flexible Thin Insoles

The Superfeet premium orthotics, for me, gave a lot of support. They are a lightweight and made of full-length foam, which I found to provide much longer-lasting comfort. Their signature shape was highly flexible, with a low-profile structure too. This, I felt, further reduced fatigue throughout the feet, which made it much easier in those long and demanding days at work.

Moreover, I noticed that these orthotics remained quite dry and didn’t appear too damp in hotter conditions. When doing some research, this is probably down to the high-density and closed-cell technology they have created. Also, the firm base enhanced durability compared to others, which again helped prevent muscle stress. The deep heel cup also seemed to provide additional support, which I thought helped stability too.

There’s an extra layer of coating in these orthotics, which is said to hug the insole and reduce odor-causing bacteria. Everyone tends to have a bit of foot odor after long days, but I must say that these didn’t seem to smell that bad compared to others that I have used.

Written by Chris

I'm one of the founders of this site and having worked in environments were I'm on my feet most of the day, I took a side interest around the different work boot products and what they are best used for. I now write part-time, adding more content as my knowledge expands.

August 27, 2021

Work Boot Insoles

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