Insoles for neutral feet are designed to provide cushioning and support without significantly altering the natural alignment of the foot.
What is a neutral foot type?
As many runners know we classify foot types as supinators, overpronators and neutral. A neutral foot has a moderate arch, which means there is a slight but not excessive curve along the inside of the foot.
Individuals with neutral feet typically have a balanced gait pattern. When they walk or run, their feet naturally roll inward (pronation) to some extent to absorb shock, but this motion is not excessive.
The wet foot test gives you an idea of what foot type you have. Stand on a piece of paper with wet feet and examine your footprint.
Do I need an insole if I have a neutral gait?
Although those of us lucky enough to be blessed with a neutral foot type, we can all use a bit of help. One hundred thousand years of evolution have designed us to walk on soft surfaces such as sand or grass. As a result the shape of the foot has evolved to be most efficient on a soft surface.
Micro-traumas to soft tissue caused by our everyday lives let alone sporting activity on surfaces FAR harder than those we evolved to move around on in Africa are a major cause of injuries for everybody. Adding protection with an advanced polymer that blocks 95% of these high-frequency shock-waves is key to minimising risks for injuries over a lifetime.
Most people are bilaterally unbalanced. This means they do not have completely identical feet. Therefore, unless you are neutral AND have exactly the same size feet you will have one leg slightly longer. As a result, you have a lower foot arch as your body attempts to level the hips resulting in more lower-limb and knee rotation.
What insoles are best for neutral feet?
The best insoles for neutral feet have some arch support along with excellent cushioning. Pronation is your foot's natural shock absorber. As your foot rolls in, it absorbs running impact forces. Therefore, your foot should roll in or pronate to a certain extent.
The Advanced F3D Neutral Insole is perfect for neutral feet. It has a full 3mm foam damper which dissipates up to 95% of shockwaves each time your foot strikes, reducing the impact.
A PU foam core with an advanced design arch brace creates stability and support to hold your foot in a more biomechanically ideal position. As a result, this helps assist with both propulsion and correct alignment - making running and walking more comfortable and less likely to lead to an injury. The Met Pad or metatarsal pad helps spread the load across your forefoot.
How do insoles help prevent injury?
Whilst no product completely prevents injury, wearing insoles helps mitigate the risk somewhat, not only in your feet, but also in your ankles, shins, knees, hips, back and neck.
By improving your foot biomechanics with insoles for neutral feet you make your running style more efficient. As a result, this is not only likely to improve performance but reduces the forces transmitted through your soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) as you run. Instead, forces are transmitted more through the bones of the lower leg which is biomechanically more efficient.
If your foot rolls in too much then in turn your lower leg rotates inwards. Therefore your Achilles tendon twists, and your knee joint becomes misaligned making you more susceptible to overuse injuries. However it doesn't stop at the knee, the groin, hip and lower back are all affected.
You wouldn't build a house without getting the foundations right!
Remember that insoles are just one part of the equation. It's crucial to pair them with properly fitting shoes that offer adequate support and cushioning. The bottom of your shoe should be flat so the insole works properly. Make sure you remove any existing insoles first before fitting them.