Best Insoles for Cycling Shoes

There are a few greater pleasures than taking your bike out from your shed and hopping on to cycle around the neighborhood. What is now seen as a leisure activity used to be a childhood staple.

Large groups of friends would gather to roam around the whole town, not caring about frivolities like helmets and kneepads. The attire did not matter, nor did the accompanying footwear. All that did matter was feeling the rush of speeding through a sunny street.

Comparing this to our current situation, where even the thought of cycling has us preparing a checklist in our minds, is a funny thought. We need to ensure that we have a pack for snacks and drinks, clothing suited to cycling, and shoes that prevent pedals from digging into our feet.

Since most pressure is concentrated towards the foot region, it is a valid concern that additional support is required. Hence, the list below has compiled the best insoles for cycling shoes. 

Best Insoles for Cycling Shoes

SQlab 215 Support Gold Mid Arch Cycling Shoe Insoles

SQlab 215 Support Gold Mid Arch Cycling Shoe Insoles (XL)

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Even though the name may hint that these insoles are specifically designed for cycling shoes, they can also provide regular shoes the same support. You can easily slip them inside joggers or sneakers before setting off on your ride. These insoles are designed to boost your arch. May it be a low, medium, or high arch, the insert will mold itself to rectify any shortcomings present in your foot.

There are three functionalities of these insoles. The first is keeping your arch healthy by giving support. The second is the power you will save while cycling as these insoles will keep your feet in the correct position. Finally, the round stroke your foot makes on the pedal will be done so in a precise manner.

Powerstep Full Length Orthotic Shoe Insoles

Powerstep Original Insoles, Low Profile Arch Supporting Shoe Insert, Blue/Black, Men's 12-13

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This Powerstep insole may not be specifically designed for cycling shoes but provides unparalleled support levels to the whole foot. The insole itself is flexible and can be placed inside any kind of shoe. There is a deep heel cradle that will encapsulate your heel and keep your whole foot in position. This stability is also necessary while cycling, as you do not want your foot to slip.

There is support for any type of arch, as a lot of the pressure applied on the pedal is at times done through the arch. There is a foam base for the complete protection of your foot, especially targeting sensitive areas, and a polyester covering that prevents moisture from seeping inside.

Superfeet Black Premium Insoles

Superfeet unisex adult Insoles, Premium Flexible Thin Insoles for Orthotic Support Tight Shoes, Dress and Athletic Footw Insole, Black, 9.5-11 Men 10.5-12 Women US

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Where you would find cleats at the bottom of cycling shoes, you can have similar ones present in your insole. A cup present in the heel region provides a structure for the whole foot, and combined with the cleats, it delivers proper positioning inside the shoes. The insole material is a lightweight foam that will not weigh down your feet while you cycle.

Since pedaling generates heat, and your foot is enclosed inside tight sneakers or joggers, your feet may begin to perspire and create discomfort. A coating present on the top layer will repel both moisture and bacteria to thwart sweaty feet.

These insoles are especially great for people with flat feet due to the added arch shaping and control present.

Sof Sole Men’s AIRR Performance Full-Length Insole

Sof Sole Men's Airr Insole, Black, 11-12.5

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When you push down on a pedal with little to support shielding your feet, you can feel hardness dig into your bones. The more power you apply to gain speed, the more stress is experienced by your feet. Hence, a cushioning effect must be provided for the whole foot. A company that has Sof in its name also delivers that promise in its product offerings.

Cushioning in this insole is concentrated in two areas. The first is protection in the forefoot through a gel layer. The second is air bubbles present in the heel and arch region to absorb any shocks encountered while cycling. The pressure of cycling on a rough road can be offset by the bubbles present.

Finally, in order to maintain a cool temperature in your feet, the top layer is made of wicking fabric.

Superfeet GREEN Insoles

Superfeet GREEN - High Arch Orthotic Support - Cut-To-Fit Shoe Insoles - Men 7.5-9 / Women 8.5-10

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You might be thinking that the only difference between these green insoles, as compared to the previous black ones, is the color change. While the company is the same, and there are similarities such as the insole being made out of foam, rest assured there are stark distinctions present.

While the previous insoles had cleats at the bottom, these have stabilizer caps. These caps help in maintaining the structure of the insole and provide overall support.

These insoles also adapt themselves according to the shape of your shoes to give you maximum relief. A deep heel cup present is meant for you to keep your balance while you ride your bike through uneven patches.

Dr. Scholl’s Running Insoles

Dr. Scholl’s Running Insoles // Reduce Shock and Prevent Common Running Injuries: Runner's Knee, Plantar Fasciitis and Shin Splints, Men's 7.5-10

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You might be asking yourself why are running insoles being recommended for cycling shoes. The concept remains the same; your feet need protection while you are in motion, to prevent subsequent foot pain.

The more you exert on your bike, the greater the strain on your knees and ankles. Since Dr. Scholl is a favorite of mine in footcare, I have highlighted these insoles as they reduce shocks’ impact by forty percent.

They also target to shield the three main sensitive areas present in your foot. There is a heel cup to minimize damage from bumpy impacts. Your ball of foot area is protected as the padding will distribute pressure throughout the foot rather than it being concentrated in one location.

Finally, there is arch support for keeping your foot stable during weight transitions.

Superfeet CARBON

Superfeet Carbon Shoe Inserts Thin Orthotic Inserts & Athletic Running Insoles, Unisex

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Superfeet makes a lot of insoles models that you can purchase according to your preferences and requirements. This particular variant will work effectively for cycling shoes that have a compact build. The insoles themselves will not take up that much space as they are very thin.

Being thin, however, does not mean they do not provide comfort. They will curve themselves around your foot to maintain a stable position inside your shoes.

The insoles have a stabilizer cap made from carbon at the underside. This cap will ensure that the insole structure remains intact, no matter which direction you bend your foot. The insole also has a top organic layer that is treated to fight against sweat and bacteria.

Superfeet FLEX

Superfeet FLEX - Comfort Foam Insoles for Workout Shoes - Men 9.5-11 / Women 10.5-12

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If you are worried that these insoles might be too big for your cycling shoes, the company has already addressed that concern by providing a trimmable area. The parts you cut out will not affect the functionality of the insole.

These Flex insoles are dynamically designed to reduce pressure felt while moving. The design also includes bright orange and blue colors, which are aesthetically pleasing.

There is additional foam cushioning present in the heel area that resembles a spring. It will provide energy for your foot to bounce back from the ground, without feeling any sharp aches. Finally, there are ventilation holes present in the forefoot region to keep your feet dry.

SHIMANO Men’s Universal Cycling Shoe Insole

Shimano Men's Universal Cycling Shoe Insole (Normal Last - 45)

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An insole that is designed explicitly for biking is actually pretty similar to insoles you would typically buy. They reinforce your arch to distribute pressure in your entire foot and have a molded cradle to keep you balanced. These insoles are firm, yet comfortable. They also have adequate ventilation for air to pass through.

A point to note about specifically designed insoles is that they are at a higher price point. There are many substitutes available that will have similar characteristics.

However, if you want to splurge on the authentic version, these insoles will be a good bet.

wernies Running Shoes Inserts

Wernies Running Shoe Insoles-Arch Replacement Sports Shoe Inserts-Comfort and Extra Support for Heavy Duty, Fits Work Boots, Casual Shoes & Sneakers

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The primary purpose of shoe inserts is that they should be functional. You can slip them inside any shoes, and they will give the support they promise. These wernies insoles deliver on precisely that claim.

They are made from high-quality materials that will not wear down with consistent use. The foam and gel should still bounce back after hours of cycling, and they will in these inserts.

If your feet happen to perspire, the top layer will absorb the moisture and let your feet air dry. You also do not have to worry about your muscles tensing up after cycling as these insoles will reduce that pain.

Best Insoles for Cycling Shoes Buying Guide

You might be wondering if cycling shoes are much different from regular shoes and the answer is, yes.

Cycling shoes are essentially made to grip the pedals. When the bottom of normal shoes is flat, and the pedal is flat, it is highly likely your foot will slip. Cycling shoes have patterns at the bottom that lock onto the pedal and keep your feet in place. The design of cycling shoes also looks sleeker than their standard counterparts. 

It is a point to note that the need for cleats at the bottom of cycling shoes is somewhat fulfilled by insoles that have stabilizer caps and cradles at their undersides. They too perform the function of locking your foot into place.

It is ultimately your decision as to what kind of shoes you require. Either way, you will still need insoles to minimize any foot damage. Before purchasing insoles, you will need to keep the following attributes in your mind:

Durability – You do not want to purchase one-time insoles that lose their firmness after a few hours. Especially in cycling, the pressure is constant, and you will require added support all day. The foam, gel, or leather should be of a quality that will last you at least a few months if used consistently. 

Arch Support – There are three types of arches: high, low and medium. Most insoles are designed to support a medium arch. If you have flat feet, you might want to look for insoles that contour themselves according to the shape of your foot, and equally redistribute the weight from your arch.

Ventilation – Considering that if you set off on a bike, chances are you will remain on it all day, ventilation is really important. When feet are enclosed inside shoes, it can lead to foul odors and bacteria cultures. Hence, ensure that your insoles are porous, and have an antimicrobial layer to resist microorganisms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the pros and cons of separate cycling shoes, with or without insoles?

A significant pro is that there are insoles designed explicitly for cycling shoes to relieve some of the pressure while you are pedaling. They are also more efficient than regular shoes since energy is not wasted in keeping your foot stable. Overall, you will have more control over your bicycle and will be able to avoid accidents.

However, a major con is that they are an additional purchase, along with which you will have to buy the pedals your shoes will fit into. You will consequently also have to replace the previous pedals with these new ones. Quite a hassle if you are not an avid cycler. Similarly, since your feet will be locked in, you might fall over when trying to stop your bike. They take practice to fully control.

Hence, I would suggest that if you are a beginner and do not have cycling shoes, you should place insoles in any shoes that would aid you while cycling. These inserts will provide the control you require, while simultaneously shielding your feet from any hurt caused by shocks. 

How to insert insoles inside cycling shoes?

Cycling shoes are usually a tight fit. Hence, it would be best to make sure the insoles you purchase do not take up too much room inside your shoes, while also maintaining their comfort levels. 

Placement is done the same way for all insoles. You can place them inside to check whether any trimming is required or whether they will need to replace the original insoles. Some inserts grip the shoes themselves, while others have adhesive to stick themselves with; it will be mentioned along with the insole you buy.