So I’m sure you’ve all heard about Gel insoles, theres a lot of info flying about about them and I’ve definitely heard conflicting information, and sometimes you might wonder if a reviewer has been paid, or influenced in some way to write this. I shall try to approach this as objectively as possible, bringing in various points of view.
First of all lets see how these things work, the idea is the gel moulds to your feet and reduces the pressure on your feet, the gel is also meant to absorb the impact of walking. Now these things are do genuinely reduce pressure while standing, and do give you an extra half hour of so of standing, but if you walk properly most of the impact is taken by your heel and straight up your body so it doesn’t make much of a difference, on the other hand if the shoe is loose it really messes your balance up while walking, especially if the insole doesn’t fit properly.
You may have seen this advert on the TV recently (if you still watch TV), it claims to give your heels “the sneaker feel” but lets be honest, you’re still putting all your weight through the balls of your feet, and theres no way you’ll want to stand for a full day in these.
Insoles are also great if your shoes has a bit of wiggle room at the toe, they’ll essentially add 5mm to the bottom of your feet, and can fill that gap, they may also come in handy if when soft leather stretches. However if your shoes fit correctly or are on the snug side, insoles are only going to make them tighter. Generally all-leather shoes tend to mould snugly to your feet, leaving little or no space for insoles, however shoes that incorporate synthetics in the upper or sock of the construction may benefit from gels, especially after a lot of wear causes the lining to crack or split, just tightening up the shoe will help restore some structure.
When you put these, they actually want to be put in quite back, otherwise you’ll squeeze your toes too much. You can see that they don’t show with peep toes but probably won’t work for anything strappier. In my Alejandro Ingelmos (front) they make them a little tight.
Over time, the gel can sometimes break down, I definitely have noticed them becoming less effective after a number of wears. Typically they need to be replaced after a couple of dozen wears or so. There are definitely limitations for these insoles, and I they are no magic bullet, but there are some times these things are useful, however you won’t be parting me from my leather just yet. So I would be inclined to say this is a plausible solution.