The Best Insoles for Work Boots in 2023, According to Podiatrists
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The Best Insoles for Work Boots in 2023, According to Podiatrists

Jun 09, 2023

Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. We may earn a commission through links on our site. Why Trust Us?

Because the hardest-working jobs demand the hardest-working footwear.

Whether you’re hiking, running, getting groceries, or crushing a 10-hour workday on your feet, there’s nothing more important than the right footwear. It starts with the best socks you can afford and ends with your best shoes or boots. It’s doubly true if you work hard in a demanding environment that requires safe, supportive, comfortable footwear. Not only do you need a solid pair of work boots, but the best insoles for those work boots, too.

But shopping for footwear can be complicated. There are widths and arch support and heel strike protection and a long list of OSHA requirements to consider—all of which can make finding the best insoles for work boots almost as hard as shopping for boots to put them in. We chatted with two foot specialists to get their expert opinions, including Dr. Brad Schaeffer, a foot and ankle surgeon and owner of Central Park SOLE in NYC. He was a runner-up in the 2023 Men's Health Ultimate Guy Search, and was also cast on TLC's My Feet Are Killing Me, where he showcased his expertise as a foot surgeon. Dr. Mark Mendeszoon is a board-certified podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at Precision Orthopaedic Specialties in Chardon, Ohio. He’s also the owner of Achilles Running Shops in Willoughby, Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania. He is an avid runner and enjoys coaching runners of all ages.

Our hardest-working staff members researched, compared, and personally tested dozens of top-selling work boot insoles over the last year. We noted everything from support and comfort to price and long-term durability. The final list below includes only our hand-selected picks for the best of the best insoles for work boots in 2023. Because, let’s be honest, your feet deserve nothing less.

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We’re superfans of Superfeet (get it?), and its deep catalog of excellent insoles. We’ve covered them before when they topped our list of the best insoles for shoes. The brand’s hiker-specific Hike Cushion insoles (formerly ADAPT Hike Max) have been a favorite of our outdoor team for a while now. So, it’s no surprise that Superfeet’s All-Purpose Support High Arch Insoles are topping our list of this year’s best insoles for work boots.

They’re a quick swap for most out-of-the-box, “factory installed” insoles, whether it’s for running sneakers, dress shoes, or, more importantly for this post, work boots. Our team loved the cut-to-fit design that makes it easy to dial in the perfect fit, right down to the centimeter. What stood out most for our team was the rock-solid support, thanks to a high arch, high-density foam construction, and a deep heel cup that helps alleviate foot, ankle, and back strain. The odor control coating does a fantastic job at crushing foot odor, too—especially important if you’re a hardworking sort used to dealing with sweaty (and possibly stinky) feet. “I wear these everywhere, no matter what I’m doing and they never get funky!” said one of our testers.

At roughly $50, these are pricier than most off-the-rack insoles we’ve tested over the last year—but not by much. They’re still significantly cheaper than buying custom orthotics (plus the cost of visiting your podiatrist), and we think they’re worth the extra money if you can afford to splurge a bit.

Read more: Best Hiking Boots

Dr. Scholl’s has been a household name in foot products for almost as long as humans have had feet. Its off-the-rack insoles—and its insoles for work boots, in particular—are a budget-friendly alternative to custom orthotics and pricier OTC insoles.

“I treat a variety of patients but I treat a lot of construction workers in NYC,” said Dr. Brad Schaeffer. “These patients always ask me the same thing: What boots or insoles can I buy to make my feet more comfortable? I recommend the Dr. Scholl’s Work Insoles because they have the perfect blend of support and shock absorption. I use them when I do work around the house and feel great in them.” Even Schaeffer’s dad is a fan: “My father wears them too and loves how the massaging gel feels.”Our team tested them, and we agree. The massaging gel does a great job of soothing achy feet and joints throughout our most active days. They also alleviate leg fatigue after hours on our feet. Our only gripe is that we found them to be softer and a little thinner than some other work insoles we tested. Whether that’s good or bad is really a matter of personal preference (more on that below).At less than $15, it’s easy to dismiss these as “cheap” insoles for your work boots. But, Dr. Scholl’s is a trusted brand, even according to the podiatrists we spoke with. If you’re looking for an affordable insole for your boots, they’re worth a shot. (Did we mention they’re only $13 per pair?).

Timberland and its boots have been a household name among hardworking men for decades. The Timberland Pro line, in particular, is built extra tough to meet the demands of the hardest jobs. That includes the Timberland Pro Anti-Fatigue Technology Replacement Insoles. They feature a unique “inverted cone” design that promises to be more shock-absorbent (important if you work long hours on hard surfaces) and return energy to your feet with a rebound that literally puts extra pep in every step.

We found this unique inverted cone design to live up to the hype. After three very full days of clearing land on his property, one of our testers noted that his feet “felt surprisingly good. My calves are actually buzzing a little (in a good way)!” We credit a large part of that to the extra thick construction. At a little less than one-half-inch-thick, these are among the thickest work boot insoles we tested this year, which makes for extra padding, extra comfort, and a lot more support. The only downside is that all that heft means they’re not great with snug-fitting boots. If your work boots already fit perfectly, these are probably going to add too much extra material to feel comfortable. But, we found them to be surprisingly good (for molded foam) at moisture-wicking and odor control, too.

These are some of the best-reviewed work boot insoles on Amazon with more than 17,000 reviews—85% of which are 4+ stars. They’re also surprisingly affordable for a premium brand, with a starting price around $25 per pair.

Keen’s been a rock-solid name in hiking footwear for forever. But, the company brings all of its expertise and much of the same great technology to its line of work-centric footwear, too, with its Keen Utility lineup. Case in point: The Keen Utility Men’s Utility K-20 Cushion Insoles.

Like the Timberland Pro Anti-Fatigue insoles, these are designed with maximum cushioning that runs the full-length of the insole. Our team found that translates to incredible shock absorption that’s among the best of any insole we tested this year. The high-rebound foam construction also helps return some of the energy of each step back to your feet, giving them a bit more bounce with each step. “These make my work boots feel just as comfortable as my favorite hiking boots, even after wearing them for weeks. Love ‘em!” said one of our testers. He also noted that these fend off stink incredibly well. That’s thanks to a proprietary Cleansport Nxt coating that, according to Keen, is “a quick-drying, natural, probiotic-based technology [where] microbe-producing enzymes break down the odor in sweat” to prevent footwear “funk."

Bottom line: We love these Keen Utility insoles as much as we love our favorite Keen hiking boots. The thick-cushioned design, rebound tech, and anti-odor coating make these a win, even at twice the price. But, we especially like them at less than $25 per pair.

Read more: Best Cushioned Running Shoes

Like most things these days, activewear and apparel have mostly gone to synthetic and synthetic blend construction. So, too, with insoles (for work boots and most other footwear). But, if you’re looking for a more natural alternative, FeetTouch offers a genuine leather insole option. The footbed is actually leather which is bonded with plastic and foam on the middle and bottom for maximum pliability and durability. It’s the best of all worlds.

We admit to being a little skeptical about these (leather insoles?), especially after years of using next-gen synthetic insole options. But our team was pleasantly surprised. The first thing we noticed is how breathable they are, especially compared to all-foam alternatives. This helped keep our feet surprisingly dry, even on hot, hard-working days in June and July. They’re also extremely shock-absorbent and supportive, providing legit all-day comfort, especially for those looking for serious metatarsal support (there’s a dedicated metatarsal lift pad built-in). Our main gripe? They’re not as good as synthetics when it comes wicking away moisture or fighting off odor. We found they hold stink a little too well for our liking.We’re big fans of synthetics when it comes to active-centric apparel, and our choice of insoles is no different. But if you’re after a more natural solution, these are your man.

Most over-the-counter insoles are relatively inexpensive but are designed to be replaced every 3-6 months, depending how much you wear them. That’s because they’re built to support “average” bodies with “average” daily walking miles, so they tend to wear out fast. Walkomfy bills its flagship insoles as “heavy-duty,” designed specifically for customers over 210 pounds. They’re built to literally go the distance.

We gave several pairs to the largest and tallest members of our testing staff. Straight out of the box, they noted that these insoles are noticeably thicker and “beefier” than almost every other work boot insole we reviewed over the last year. They’re roughly one inch high (2.8 cm) at the heel with a deep heel cup and four centimeters at the arch. All that cushion translates to excellent comfort and support for our feet, ankles, and ultimately our backs. It does mean, however, that these aren’t ideal for snug- or already tight-fitting work boots. These got high marks in the “all-day comfort” department, but our testers noted that these did not fend off odor as well as some others we’ve tested this year

Still, the midrange price tag (around $30 per pair) and excellent cushioning make these an attractive option, especially as alternative to orthotics. Our staff also liked that the design seems flexible and supportive enough to help with a long list of common foot ailments, including plantar fasciitis and flat feet.

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, you know it’s no joke. It can be hard to find footwear to alleviate the pain. Walk-Hero’s aptly named Plantar Fasciitis Feet Insoles Arch Support Orthotics are among the best insoles to support plantar fasciitis, whether you’re wearing work boots, sneakers, or dress shoes. As a #1 Best Seller on Amazon, they’re also among the most top-rated with more than 37,000 five-star reviews.

Our entire team of testers put these insoles through their paces (literally), but we paid special attention to those on our staff with chronic foot pain. One tester, in particular, said that he “could not believe how much these $16 insoles helped my feet. For the first time in three years, I feel like I can actually go running again!” That’s thanks to a combination of essential tech that supports plantar fasciitis, namely: very high arch support, a deep heel cup, and high-density foam cushioning. They’re also somewhat unique, with a sized design that requires no cutting. Just pair these with the same-sized work boots you’re already wearing, and they’re ready to roll right out of the box. One note is that these feature a very high arch which may be uncomfortable for some wearers.

Podiatrist Dr. Mendeszoon confirmed this is a “multiple layer insole that has a good price point with good reviews, and is accommodating and comfortable.” For less than $20 per pair, we couldn’t agree more.

Finding “just right” arch support can be tricky, especially if you’ve never shopped for work boot insoles before. Tread Labs makes it a little easier with its Ramble insoles, available in one of four arch heights: Low, Medium, High, and X-High, so you can find the perfect support for your footwear.

Straight out of the package, our team agreed that these work boot insoles felt like a cut above the rest. The premium material feels like a high-quality product. We love the sized design that, like the Walk-Hero insoles above, means zero cutting is necessary. Just pick the same size insoles as the work boots you’re already wearing, and they should fit perfectly. With several arch heights available, each of our testers was able to dial in the right one for them. That, combined with a deep heel cup, made for an excellent fit that felt nearly custom.Our team unanimously loved everything about these insoles—they were a favorite for the majority of our testers. Our only real complaint? The upfront cost. At $60 per pair, they’re among the priciest insoles for work boots we tested in 2023. But we believe in the “you get what you pay for” mantra, and these are no exception. Plus, these are also the only insoles we tested with replaceable parts. That means, when the top cover wears out, they can be replaced separately without having to buy a fresh pair of insoles. If you stick with the same pair of insoles for at least a few years, this should save you money in the long run.

Hardworking folk know that good footwear can mean the difference between a “tolerable” day and a “miserable” day at work. This is doubly true if your job requires you to spend a ton of time on your feet. But unless you have chronic foot pain or medically documented foot issues (e.g., plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, or diabetic neuropathy, for example), custom orthotics probably aren’t necessary. It’s often best to try complementing your existing footwear with a pair of over-the-counter insoles for your work boots before taking that next step.

“Most top-of-the-line (and even some decent) work boots typically have a good insole,” said Dr. Mendeszoon. “However, if that insole is not comfortable or doesn’t provide enough support or shock-absorption ability, then I would recommend full-length inserts. Depending on the individual’s foot type, an insole can be helpful to provide shock absorption, support, comfort, or even protection on the bottom of the foot. There are multiple over-the-counter insoles that can help with diminishing pain or discomfort.

Trying them on “the right way” is key, says Dr. Mendeszoon. “It's important to buy and install them directly into your work boot, as opposed to just buying the insole and bringing it home. Most insoles run true to size, so buy the insert that matches your existing shoe or work boot size. It is important that the insole provides cushion and support and that it fits comfortably, holding the heel at a good position, and providing enough room in the forefoot so your big toe and/or little toe do not hang off the insole.”

He also recommends a good, long “try-on” period. With the insoles installed, “Make sure that your work boots lace up properly, and wear them for a few minutes to see how they feel. Most insoles take between a few days to up to two weeks to get acclimated to. It's important to break in insoles (and new work boots) gradually. Start with three to four hours for the first day and about 60 minutes per day thereafter. If, after 2+ weeks, there's discomfort or if the insoles are uncomfortable, go back to where you bought them, and perhaps they can be adjusted.” This is another reason it’s key to buy work boot insoles with a solid, money-back guarantee or flexible return policy.

What are the best insoles for work boots?

Insoles are a very personal thing. The “best” insoles for work boots are the ones that are most supportive and comfortable for you. Dr. Brad Schaeffer recommends Dr. Scholl’s Work Insoles with Massaging Gel, which happen to be the most affordable insoles we tested this year. Sometimes orthotics are the best option, however. “If someone needs more custom support due to a long-standing issue, then I will scan them for 3D custom molded orthotics in my office at Central Park SOLE,” said Schaeffer.

How do I know what type of insoles I need?

The right type of insole (for work boots or any footwear, really) comes down to four simple questions: What activities will you be using them for? What sort of arch support do you need? How firm do you need them to be? What type of shoes are you buying them for?

Are thicker insoles better?

In general, yes. Thicker insoles often provide more support and better comfort to alleviate strain on your feet, ankles, and back. However, some people prefer thin (or thinner than usual) insoles to maintain a better feel between their feet and the ground. Again, this is always a matter of personal preference.

Over the last year, our hardworking team of editors and writers here at Men’s Health researched and personally tested dozens of insoles. We carefully compared everything from comfort and support to durability and price to narrow down our search of hand-picked recommendations. We also consulted with two professional podiatrists for their expert takes on how to shop for a good insole and what makes a good insole. The final list above represents our honest picks of the best insoles for work boots of 2023.

Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South Africa, and survived a near-miss great white shark attack in Mexico. His travel advice has appeared on the websites for Forbes, Travel + Leisure, CNET, and National Geographic. He loves the great outdoors and good bourbon, and (usually) calls Tulsa, Oklahoma home. Mike also enjoys speaking in the third person.

Dr Mark Mendeszoon is a board-certified podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at Precision Orthopaedic Specialties in Chardon, Ohio and owner of Achilles Running Shops in Willoughby , Ohio and Erie, Pa. He still enjoys working out, running and coaching runners of all ages.

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Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis | Best Arch Support Shoes | Best Shoes for Standing All Day | Best Work Pants | Best Work Shirts for MenRead more: Best Hiking BootsRead more: Best Cushioned Running ShoesWhat are the best insoles for work boots?How do I know what type of insoles I need?Are thicker insoles better?