by | Nov 28, 2022 | Health and Wellness, Product Design


Custom insoles can solve a significant challenge for shoe developers and designers – meeting the needs of diverse customers. 

Everyone has different foot shapes, gait patterns, and comfort and support needs, which can make it difficult for a single shoe insole to check all the boxes. But when an insole is designed using data from 3D footscans, checking those boxes becomes a lot easier. 

 Using 3D Footscan Data to Design Custom Insoles for Shoes

 At INSITE, we’ve collected human factor data from more than 120,000 3D footscans. This data allows us to create patented shapes that focus on a wearer’s gait, stability, and biomechanical efficiency.

We then combined the footscan data with outputs from even more extensive biomechanical testing conducted in partnership with Dr. Christine Pollard, director of the Functional Orthopedic Research Center of Excellence (FORCE) Laboratory at Oregon State University-Cascades (OSU-C).

When it’s all put together, we’re looking at rich, meaningful data to inform some of the most critical functions of an insole:

  • Comfort: We use pressure mapping to refine the insole design and foam selection so hotspots are reduced and pressure is redistributed for reduced gait impact. We can also quantify the wearer’s levels of perceived comfort using psychometric testing.
  • Endurance: We measure oxygen consumption and muscle response during athletic activities to determine the level of performance an insole can support, and ensure the insole design is appropriate for the type, duration, and intensity of movement required by the specific type of footwear.
  • Balance: We use 3D motion capture to track the body’s center of mass while using our insoles, as well as pressure testing to assess underfoot stability. 

What this information produces is ergonomic insoles like INSITE Contoura that fit up to 85% of wearers, right out of the box. That’s pretty decent customization for an insole (if we do say so ourselves). 

But we know that beyond a great-fitting insole lies a secondary challenge for shoe designers and developers – timeline. If you’re unable to get the insole you need to meet tight development timelines, it doesn’t matter how great the insole is. 

Custom Shoe Insoles on Your Product Development Timeline

We’re able to deliver quality custom insole samples to footwear manufacturers in as little as 2 weeks – that’s half the industry average. 

And did we mention – our insoles are made with a percentage of plant-based foams that  are sustainably-sourced? 

Our fast turnaround times coupled with our focus on sustainability help you better manage some of the primary challenges your business is up against in today’s market:

  • Increasing customer demands
  • Tight product development timelines
  • A growing emphasis on sustainability

When you’re able to use an ergonomic and sustainable insole that fits the majority of your customers, and you can access a sample in as little as 2 weeks, there’s really nothing holding you back from delivering a footwear product your customers will love. 

With INSITE’s rapid digital insole sampling process, we collect a 3D midsole scan and create a 3D-printed prototype shape based on your midsole in under one week. We’re then able to produce an insole sample, test it, and deliver it in the following week, meaning you get what you need in as little as two weeks – half the time of the traditional process. 

Let’s break it down a bit more:

Scan: We deconstruct your new or existing footwear and take a detailed 3D scan of the midsole or last. 

Design: Using data from the scan, we develop a 3D rendering of your custom insole, combining the contours of your midsole with our patented ergonomic shape.

Print: We print a 3D prototype to confirm the shape and fit of your insole. 

Sample: Using the best selection of materials for your specific footwear line, we create a customized sample of your insole.

Test: Our labs conduct industry-standard performance, safety, and bio-content testing before we deliver your sample insole.

Creating Sustainable and Custom Insoles 

Now’s your chance to set a sustainability standard with custom insoles made from plant-based foam compounds that are sustainably sourced using regenerative farming practices. 

And using insoles made from plants doesn’t mean you have to compromise on performance benefits – in fact, our sustainable PU foams add even more comfort and breathability to our insoles. 

The best part (or one of them) is that going green isn’t going to break your budget. There is a stable supply of the U.S. industrial field corn that we use for our insoles, so our biomaterials are always readily available. We’re able to roll this material stability right into the bottom line – so you can elevate your footwear with a cost-neutral and price-competitive sustainable option. 

We’ve talked a lot about the different needs of footwear customers, and how our goal is always to make life easier for shoe designers and developers by providing a custom insole that can meet a large majority of those needs. 

We know that footwear customers are looking for insoles for flat feet, insoles for long days on the job, or the best insoles for running – among many other things. Your footwear brand can answer those needs right out of the box, with a custom INSITE insole. 


Insole Insights