Beauty Wednesday: Insolia Inserts

insolia review(I know: this doesn’t quite qualify as a “beauty” item, but in my mind it makes sense to talk about it here…)

I’ve been a fan of the cushion-y, almost gel-like inserts that you put under the ball of your foot for years now — so I was intrigued when I was sent free samples of the Insolia “weight-shifting” insert, which is a hard piece of plastic that goes beneath your heel and below your arch.  “Keep trying them out,” the product engineer urged — “they’re a little like a contact lens for your foot.”  (Which is true — it feels like there’s something in your shoe at first, and then you get used to it and it feels like there’s nothing there.)  After one wearing, I must say I was even more intrigued — I survived a night out with some of my highest heels! — and have continued to have good results.  I can’t explain the science behind it, but I will definitely be giving these a try the next time I have to wear heels that are higher than my comfort zone.  You can get 3 pairs at Amazon for $19.97, or buy them direct from the Insolia website, where code corporette will give you a 15% discount through June 30, 2010.

Check out our Guide to Comfortable Heels for even more ideas! 

Please note: all products sent to Kat for review are subject to the Corporette Review Policy.


  1. Can these be moved from one pair of shoes to another, or does one set permament affix to one pair of shoes?

  2. From the FAQs, it looks like they don’t move from shoe to shoe, but are stuck permanently to one pair. It sounds worth a shot though. I love that it was designed by both a podiatrist and a rocket scientist! Too funny.

  3. I high extremely high arches and have tried several different products to improve the contact between my arches and the shoe. Insolia does work for me, but only in shoes that already have better arch support. For shoes with medium arch support, I greatly prefer AirPlus’s Ultra Arch inserts. For sandals, I use the women-specific line and for pumps I actually use Ultra Arch for men.

  4. Where do these shift your weight to? The heel? That’s usually where I find myself trying to put my weight after wearing heels for extended periods; the ball of my foot is usually what starts killing me. Is that the problem most people have with heels?

    • yep, that’s my problem. I use the gel inserts, which work ok, but not fabulous, so I may have to try these.

    • Hi – I’m the product engineer – Yes, the weight is shifted back to the heel. That was the real insight – rather than trying to “cushion” the pressure at the forefoot, the answer is to keep the weight back at the heel. That is why Insolia Inserts are installed in the heel of the shoe, NOT, the forefoot. You can learn more here.

    • I’m skeptical of these. When I stand in anything higher than a 1/2 inch heel, my weight is over my heels anyway. In terms of biomechanics, it’s better for the rest of my body if my weight is over the ball of my foot (which, granted, is where I start to get foot pain and the main reason I generally stick to flats. My low back feels best when I’m balancing en pointe, but that’s a quirk for another day).

      Personally, I would love to find a shoe, or an insert, that actually supported a high arch so the bodyweight could be distributed over the arch, the way it’s supposed to be.

      • The BEST thing for high arches is Spenco Full-arch insoles (the green all foam ones, not the plastic ones.) I buy the men’s sizes and trim them down to fit into my pumps. Total life/back/knee savers!

  5. This is SO exciting. I actually own a pair of DKNY pumps that have Insolia technology in them, but I didn’t realize they made separate inserts. Holla! Ordering now…

  6. Can you remove them if you hate them without destroying your shoe? (Understanding that it takes some time to get used to them – but my feet are very weird, so I may not.)

    • Yes, the ones I have are sticky enough to stay put while wearing, but remove easily with no adhesive residue. I have 3 pairs that I rotate among all of my heels, and I just rinse them off if they become too gritty to stick.

    • Yes – this was one of the major product engineering challenges – find an adhesive that is strong enough to hold the insert in place, yet, can be removed cleanly. I recommend that you peel them from the toe end back towards the heel to remove the insert, as this reduces the stress on the sock liner of the shoe.

      • Thanks for answering (and anticipating in your product design) the question!

  7. None of these things ever stay in my shoes – after a few times wearing them, the adhesive wears out and then they slide all over the place. I’ve tried a million brands and finally given up.

    I’ve had better luck with the non-sticky memory foam ones. They wouldn’t workf or open-heeled shoes, but I swear by them for flats, and you can switch them between pairs pretty easily. They don’t slide around because they are bigger and just sort of stay in place somehow.

    • If the adhesive fails in Insolia Inserts let us know and we will mail you replacement adhesives. We have worked to improve the adhesive to minimize this kind of problem. One thing, if you’ve used foot lotion in shoes before you install the Insolia Inserts, the oils released into the shoe will affect the adhesive.

  8. legalicious07 :

    I will try these! I have flat feet, and my weight is distributed oddly about my foot. Maybe this will help…

  9. With a lot of shoe inserts, I end up having to go up 1/2 a size. If the product engineer is still answering questions or if anyone else knows, is going up a 1/2 size also necessary w/these or will it be good to go in my old shoes??

    • I was wondering the exact same thing

    • Here’s the scoop on sizing. Insolia High Heel Inserts come in 4 sizes – Petite, Small, Medium & Large. The Petite is a perfect US Woman’s 4 and works for 4 thru 6. The Small is a perfect US Woman’s 6 and works for 6 thru 8. The Medium is a perfect US Woman’s 8 and works for 8 thru 10. And I’m guessing you’ve figured out that the Large is a perfect US Woman’s 10 and works for 10 thru 12.

      The inserts are symmetrical, that is, there is no left or right. That is the way the back of the foot works. That means that if you have feet that are slightly different sizes, i.e. a 7 1/2 in one foot and an 8 in the other, you can buy packs of Small and Medium, and you’ll have 6 pairs of working Insolia Inserts.

      Also, because Insolia High Heel Inserts are located in the heel of the shoe they do NOT take up precious real estate in the toe box of your shoes unlike all the forefoot pads in the market.

      I’ve a blog post with fitting tips that you can find with the link below.

      Hope this helps,


  10. If these do the trick, Coprorette, I will owe you bigtime. Ordering on Amazon one=click right now.

  11. I get blisters very easily, especially on the ball of my feet. I sometimes wear orthotics and if I wear them without thick socks the edge of the orthotic is enough to give me a blister on the bottom of my foot. Can anyone with sensitive feet comment on whether this will be a problem with Insolia? I’m tempted to try them.

    • Eponine:

      Being a guy, with big feet, I can’t say I’ve tried them, but, the edges of the Insolia Insert are about 25/1000ths of an inch thick. I can say that after the tens of thousands of pairs we’ve sold, we’ve never gotten a comment about blisters due to the edge of the insert. We’ve never gotten a comment about blisters…

      Also, to get a little technical, in a 3 inch heel, about 75% of your weight lands on the balls of your feet. The addition of Insolia High Heel Inserts will shift weight off the balls of your feet, getting you close to a 50/50 weight distribution between your heels and the balls of your feet. That should really help reduce the risk of blistering at the balls of your feet.

      Finally, we do offer a 30 day money back guarantee. If you are unsatisfied for any reason, just return your Insolia High Heel Inserts to us, together with a printed copy of your email receipt, within 30 days of shipment, and we will refund the full purchase price, as a refund to the credit card used to make the purchase.

      Hope that answers your question.


      • wow brian, thank you so much! i love heels and wear them all the time but my feet hurt whenever i spend several hours standing in them on a night out. i will definitely give these a try. thanks so much for answering all the questions on this post!

        • Stella:
          I’m delighted to have a chance to answer your questions. The usual PR/Advertising route assumes no one cares about the technical details, so I’m answering all these with a smile!
          All the best,


    This shop in Chelsea (NYC) sells something very similar for same price. The salesgirl swears by them. For those of us who dance in heels (in our leisure time and not of the seedy sort:) we are always seeking better add-ins. Wish I’d bought some to try- will soon.

  13. I have these in about four pairs of heels. They are terrific. It take some experimentation with each pair to get the precise location right, but whenever I find that a pair of heels puts me too far forward on my toes, I use a pair of these to shift my weight. I have a backup stock for just that purpose. And, for those of you with sensitive feet, I have mild chronic joint pain in all those small joints in my feet that can be aggravated by any number of things, but has not been aggravated by the inserts.

  14. Wow, I didn’t think Insolias worked, but now I see that I wasn’t putting them in right.. They need to fit in the heel, not on the arch. Doh :o will try again!

    • My first piece of advice to anyone trying Insolia Inserts for the first time is this.

      “Don’t be a Guy – Read the Instructions!”

      I’ve followed up on women who put them under the ball of the foot… At least you had them in the right end of the shoe!

      Our experience shows most women will find the right spot for Insolia Inserts after one or two adjustments. I’ve had a few that took almost ten… That’s one of the reasons we don’t recommend moving them from shoe to shoe – once you find the sweet spot – which can vary from shoe to shoe – you don’t want to mess them up.


  15. Just ordered a pair, and am excited to try them out. I had bunion surgery at age 26 (young, I know) and, while I’ve been back in high heels for a few years now, I still have sensitivity at the ball of my foot after extended wear (especially after walking around the city all day and/or dancing at weddings). Does the height of the heel matter? I.e., will these inserts work on my 4 inch party shoes just as well as my conservative office heels?

    • Maria:
      You’ve asked a great question. One way of thinking about what Insolia Inserts do is “extending wear time”. That is, if you have heels that start hurting you in the office about mid morning, i.e. about 2 hours, with Insolia Inserts you should be good for 6 to 8 hours before the discomfort sets in. That is, we expect Insolia Inserts will at least triple the wear time of your high heels.

      So, if those 4 inch party shoes of yours are 15 minute “sit down” shoes, we’ll get you to about an hour. But, if they are 1 hour shoes, we should get you to three to four hours.

      Bottom line, the higher the shoe, the less time you can wear them before the pain sets in. But, Insolia Inserts should increase your comfortable wear time by at least a factor of three and that can make all the difference.


      • if that is really the case, i am super stoked. i bought 2 sets but will buy more for all my shoes if it really does extend wear time by 3 hours.

        • Stella:
          The trick is to notice. One of my favorite reviews said, “I can wear most any high heels, particularly if they are 3 inches or less. So, for the sake of this experiment, I broke out the one and only pair of truly uncomfortable shoes I own. These babies are 4 1/2 inches of pure pointy toe divaliciousness poised on a single thin stiletto with nary a platform in sight. Seriously, they are so high that I practically get a nosebleed just by putting them on. They are not shoes for the weak at heart.

          When I got the Insolia situated, after a rather involved and confusing procedure that required me to reposition several times, and finally tried on my shoes I was unimpressed. They felt just like the shoes always do when I first put them on: high, and not exactly sneaker-ish, but not painful. 10 hours later– after a full day in the office and then hoofing it around the city from mailbox, to grocery store, to dry cleaner– they felt the exact same. No happy spa feet feel. No squishy softness. I was disappointed until I stopped and thought about it. 10 hours in 4 1/2 inch stilettos and they still felt the exact same as when I first put them on. Damn. That’s impressive.”

          Point being, if she hadn’t been doing a review she wouldn’t have noticed. Surprisingly, it’s hard to notice the absence of pain. So, I suggest you start with a pair of shoes that are well calibrated, that is, you know when they will start to hurt, then see how you do with the Insolia Inserts installed – and again – don’t be a Guy – read the instructions!

          Final caution, Insolia Inserts can make good shoes great, they can’t make bad shoes good. Insolia Inserts are not going to stretch your shoes if they are too small or hammer down those errant nails sticking up where the heel is nailed on. (I’ve seen $300 plus shoes with protruding nail heads!)

          I look forward to hearing how your experiment goes.


  16. Are these available in Australia?

  17. Oh I am so totally trying these.

  18. I just want to know if the inserts still work if your wearing socks or tights????????

  19. these are GREAT!!!! i almost gave away shoes i was in love with that my feet could not tolerate until using these. now i’m good for 8hrs :)