by | Jan 20, 2022 | Science and Technology


Everyone’s feet are different, and coupled with the just-as-diverse needs of footwear customers, shoe designers have a significant challenge to meet.

More standardized, flatter insoles can typically suffice for the average wearer, and make for an efficient solution in the footwear design process. But we would argue that the insole is just as important as the other components of a shoe that entice footwear customers. Even if they’re not thinking about the insole when they buy, the ones who later turn to an aftermarket insole for the comfort, performance, and support they need have just had a less-than-ideal experience with your brand.

Meeting the Insole Expectations Your Footwear Customers Didn’t Even Know They Had

Simply put, insoles matter. A lot.

A recent market study found that Americans turn to aftermarket insoles for three top reasons: to ease foot pain, for added comfort, and for better arch support.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), more than three-quarters of Americans suffer from foot pain, and more than half of all Americans had to miss at least one day of work due to foot pain. And we know that footwear lacking proper support can contribute to – or even cause – foot problems.

As a result, the aftermarket insoles market is booming. A 2021 orthotic insoles market survey found that sales of soft or accommodating custom insoles are growing at an annual rate of 12%, while that growth was just 5.8% in 2016.

Customers experiencing foot pain or who are simply not satisfied with the standardized insole in their footwear are left to search for an aftermarket insole for their type of shoe and how they’ll be using it.

Meeting the Insole Expectations Your Footwear Customers Didn’t Even Know They Had

With so much uncertainty surrounding the best insole to buy, how much to spend, and whether to get a professional fitting with a foot specialist, why put footwear customers in that position in the first place?

It is possible to provide your footwear customers with a shoe equipped with an ergonomic insole that is designed to fit the needs of a majority of wearers.

Insoles designed using human factor data and biomechanical research uniquely accommodate how people really move and the impact of those movements on the foot during specific activities. Doing so enables a more preventive approach to footwear and insole design, as well as a better understanding of how the two can work together.

There are several critical components of this type of data and research approach, but for the purposes of this blog post, we’ll highlight the two big ones relative to human movement:

Human Factor Analysis: Analyzes how people move during specific activities and the forces behind those movements.

Biomechanics: Measures how the muscles, tissue, ligaments, and other elements of the foot are impacted during specific activities.

At INSITE®, we leverage data from more than 120,000 prescribed foot scans to create a patented shape algorithm for ideal support and relief. Our shape is combined with ergonomic foams engineered to mimic the characteristics of human foot tissue, giving your customers the features they’re looking for in an insole:

  • Resiliency and durability
  • High rebound
  • Podiatrist-designed support
  • Design to help reduce injury
  • Elevated performance

Even those customers who would have made it work with a standardized insole will recognize and appreciate the better fit of an insole designed for the way they move.

Insoles Matter

The most pressure when wearing a heel is placed on the ball of the foot, which causes the metatarsals (the five long bones that extend down the foot) to feel stretched, leading to pain. Depending on the heel, it might take a very short time for an individual to begin feeling discomfort.

It’s no wonder consumers are seeking out insoles for high heels that promise greater cushion, support, and stability.

We mention heels because whether your footwear product is a hiking boot, a running shoe, a steel-toed work boot, a ballet flat, or a high heel, insoles matter. Your footwear customers know this.

Without the right insole in your product out-of-the-box, there’s a high likelihood that many of your customers are seeking out aftermarket insoles to address their specific footwear needs.

Footwear brands that utilize an ergonomic insole designed using science- and research-driven data are more likely to satisfy their customers’ needs and provide a memorable brand experience. Why make a shoe that requires some of your customers to find a way to make it more comfortable?

Elevate your footwear to meet today’s demands for comfort, performance, support. The right insole can change the entire customer experience with your brand.

Learn more about how INSITE uses data-driven research to craft the perfect insole for your customers’ needs.

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