It’s hard to find a pair of work boots that strikes the perfect balance between ruggedness, safety, and comfort. Most of the really comfy work boots out there aren’t very rugged, and a lot of the industrial ones are painful to wear all day.
Our suggestion: get boots that are rugged enough to handle your job, make sure they fit, and then add an insole! It’s the best way to prevent and resolve chronic issues like plantar fasciitis.
A replacement insole can improve your work boots immensely, and last you through several different pairs of boots! These footbed inserts will give you the support and cushioning you need to stay comfortable, in a convenient design which fits into your rugged work boots!
We’ve included a range of options here, to suit a variety of foot styles and comfort preferences. There are full-length inserts to replace the factory footbeds, and 3/4 length inserts to pop on top of factory footbeds which can’t be removed easily.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to all our favorite insoles, and help you figure out which ones are the best option for you!
Here’s a quick look at our top three picks, to get you started!
Best on a Budget
Best Insoles For Work Boots Reviews
- Powerstep Pinnacle Orthotic Insoles
- Vionic Orthaheel
- SuperFeet Heritage Green
- Birkenstock BirkoSport
- Birkenstock Blue Footbed
1. Powerstep Pinnacle Orthotic Insoles
Our cheapest recommendation for work boot insoles are these Powerstep’s. They’re super popular, and for good reason! They’re affordable, effective, and comfortable. We think they’re an easy way to figure out if an insole will solve your foot problems, or if you need to look for completely different boots.
They’re super cheap. You can usually find pairs of these for under $30, which is half the price of some of our recommendations! That’s ideal for people on a tight budget who need an affordable solution.
They’re soft compared to some inserts, like the Birkenstock’s. These have have two layers of cushioning, and they’re specifically designed to be soft enough to relieve foot pressure. The top layer is an adaptive, variable cushioning to relieve pressure and move with your feet. The bottom layer is EVA foam that’s durable, and intended to absorb impact as you walk.
Having so much cushion makes these one of the cheapest options we’d recommend for folks who work on concrete floors a lot. They’re also one of the better choices for people with acute pain from pressure, rather than a muscular symptom like plantar fasciitis, which is due to a lack of support.
They’re made in the US, so they have really good quality control and consistency.
There’s a top layer of fabric which wicks moisture and has antimicrobial properties.
They have strong arch support, and a level foot plane. There’s enough support here to control mild to moderate pronation. A lot of people find that they alleviate plantar fasciitis symptoms, and these are popular recommendations from podiatrists.
They don’t last as long as the more expensive options. You’d be lucky to get more than a year out of these. Many buyers find they only last a few months of everyday wear. They develop holes in the foam and lining, and eventually the layers will delaminate. They’re a good first insole to try, but we think spending a little more on something that will last longer is a better idea for anyone who knows they’ll be wearing insoles for the life of their boots.
They’re thicker than other insoles, so if you don’t have roomy boots, they might make yours fit too tightly. Plan on them being thicker than the factory insoles, even at the thinnest portions.
They don’t have as high an arch support as other models. These are more for people who need basic support than for those with high arches who need something more pronounced.
Even though they’re cushioned, they’re not as adaptive as other options. That’s because they have a plastic frame, which doesn’t mold to your specific foot design. Birkenstock’s, for instance, shape to your own feet, since they’re made of cork. So, while these do break in slightly, you’re either going to love them or hate them. They won’t change drastically, aside from wearing down.
Some people thought they were too stiff and cheap feeling, even if they were the proper shape.
2. Vionic Orthaheel
These Vionic Orthaheel’s are another best-selling insole that’s a good budget solution for people who can’t spend a lot on their work boot inserts. They have much stronger support than the Powerstep’s, for close to the same price. They’re much more corrective, so they’re good choices for people who need gait alignment, especially those with joint issues or heel pain.
They’re thinner than the Powerstep’s. These should come out to about the same size as your factory insoles, aside from the thicker arch mound. They’re easy to fit in pretty much any work boots, even Keen’s which are pretty snug. You can also cut them to fit, which is very handy.
Like the Powerstep’s, these are fairly inexpensive. They’re still less than $50, which is a bargain compared to custom orthotics. They’re the cheapest solution we’ve found for people who need lots of structure.
That brings us to their support! The Vionic’s have much firmer support than the Powerstep’s. They have a strong, rigid arch mount, and they’re simply less squishy overall. They’re more like what we’d call “motion control” in a running shoe. In work terms, that means that they’re much more corrective of things like wobbly gait, or poor alignment.
So, they do a really great job relieving joint pain that results from misalignment! They’re very popular among people who had suffered knee and hip pain from their work boot insoles. Any issue that comes from overpronation, these are designed to correct!
If you’ve tried a lot of softer ones, like Powerstep’s, and had no success, these may do the trick. They’re still not a high arch support, but there’s much less padding to pack down.
The strong arch mound is also good for taking pressure off heel (hence the name Orthaheel!). If you have spurs or other ankle issues, these could be a good budget choice. They do a good job on plantar fasciitis as well!
They’re made for athletic shoes. That’s good news for you, since if they can handle being in running shoes, they can definitely stand up to all-day wear in your work boots!
They last a bit longer than Powerstep’s, though not as long as our other recommendations. That’s thanks to the firm EVA material, and especially the nylon fabric liner, which is much more durable than the fabric on the Powerstep’s. We think you should be able to get about a year out of a pair of Vionic’s.
They’re very firm. These are designed for pronators, people with joint issues, and anyone who needs a lot of support, rather than cushion. As a result, buyers found they were simply too firm for them to be comfortable. Some found that these actually exacerbated their P.F. pain. You should only buy these if you know you both need and enjoy firmer insoles with lots of structure.
They still won’t last you more than a year of everyday wear. That’s better than the Powerstep’s, but nowhere near as good as Birkenstock’s.
Like the Powerstep’s, they don’t adapt much to your feet. If you don’t like the feel in the first few days, you probably never will.
We like the nylon fabric lining because it lasts longer than the fabric on Powerstep’s. It doesn’t do quite as well at minimizing odor, though. We’d suggest taking these out to air after your shift.
3. Superfeet Green
If you’re a worker with high arches, these Superfeet’s should be right up your alley. They have the highest arch supports of any of the insoles in this guide, and they give you lots of structure and pressure relief. They have more cushion than the Vionic’s, but they’re not as mushy as the Powerstep’s. They’re our recommendation to any workers with high arches and gaits which tend to roll outward.
They’ve got higher arch mounds than the Powerstep’s or the Vionic’s. These are specifically designed for people with medium to high arches, which won’t be supported by the Powerstep’s or Vionic’s. People who have high arches and plantar fasciitis symptoms will especially love these!
They have a super deep heel cup, too. It’s ideal for people with heel spurs and ankle pain in their work boots.
They’re made with a smart layered construction. At the bottom, there’s a rigid stabilizer cap, which keeps the heel aligned to straighten your gait. It also keeps the rest of the insole from shifting around. On top of that, there’s a high-density layer of foam cushion for the length of your foot, shaped to support your arch.
At the top of it all is a layer of a natural, vegan fabric that’s free of harmful ingredients and allergens. It doesn’t have any latex, formaldehyde, or other irritants which can be used in cheaper products. We like having an antibacterial fabric material that’s not packed with harmful chemicals!
They’ll last you longer than a year! These are actually fairly durable, even if they won’t last for years and years like Birkenstock’s. That’s good news for people with high arches, since you need firm support that stands up to wear!
They’re twice the price of the Powerstep’s or Vionic’s, even though they’re made of pretty similar materials, and imported. While the Birkenstock’s are even more expensive, they’re made in Germany from nicer materials. These are really a slightly nicer version of the Vionic’s, specific to people with high arches. So, the price increase isn’t completely justified in our opinions.
They’re quite high-arched. If you have flat feet, you might not find them comfortable.
Then again, some people with very high arches said these didn’t quite do it for them. If you need more than these can provide, you’re probably going to be looking at a custom
The high arch design requires some more room in your boots. If your boots are already tight around the top, you might have some trouble using these.
They’re not very soft. These are slightly more cushioned than the Vionic’s, but not by much. We wouldn’t recommend these for boots that don’t have a nicely cushioned midsole to support them.
4. Birkenstock BirkoSport
Birkenstock makes a range of inserts and insoles, but these full-length insoles are our absolute favorites for work boots right now. They have two pieces: a full-length cushion, and a sturdy cork arch support and heel cup piece, just like you’d find in a Birkenstock sandal or shoe. They’re an easy way to retrofit your work boots to be as foot-friendly as Birk’s, while adding some extra cushioning. They’re the best-feeling, longest-lasting insoles we’ve found to date!
They’re made with two distinct sections: a cork/latex heel cup and arch mound, and a foot-length EVA cushion which nestles on top. The two pieces work together to give you the support we love about Birkenstock’s traditional cork footbeds and the cushion and impact protection we need in work boots! Overall, they’re the best balance between comfort and correction that we’ve found.
They have a great mid-range arch height. Birkenstock’s arches end up somewhere between the Superfeet and the Vionic’s, with strong support that doesn’t feel aggressive. We think it’s appropriate for flat feet, collapsed arches, and healthy feet with all but the highest arches. It’s firm, too, since it’s a cork base.
Where these differ from the rest of our recommendations is the width of the arch mounds. They’re a lot wider than the American insoles we’ve recommended, and they provide more full-foot relief, rather than just propping up the edge of your instep.
As a result, they massage the whole plantar fascia muscle, and provide a lot more metatarsal relief than our other recommendations. They’re superb for resolving plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, and other chronic pain conditions.
They have a deep heel cup, too, like the Superfeet’s. In fact, the Birkenstock’s are designed to realign your feet the way they would be in Birkenstock sandals, with a minimal heel drop and weight off the fronts of your feet.
They’re actually the most corrective insoles here, but not in a stiff or uncomfortable way. Instead, they train you to walk in your boots the way you walk naturally, without shoes on. So, they balance your weight along the foot, taking pressure off the metatarsal area and plantar fascia.
They’re great for your posture, since they promote an even, supported gait. That’s better for your joints, your back, and your whole body!
They get even better the more you wear them! The natural cork at the base of these inserts adapts to your feet as you break them in. That gives you a personalized fit, without being mushy or unsupportive.
They add some cushion to the Birkenstock footbed. Most Birk’s are just cork, and so are the 3/4 length inserts below. These have an extra layer of padding that can be really great for people who work on concrete floors, or folks whose boots don’t have lots of midsole cushion.
They last a long, long time. The cushion piece is made from EVA material, which will eventually pack down but won’t tear. The cork component is the same–it will eventually compress, but it won’t collapse like the plastic frame on our cheaper choices. These can easily go a few years, even if you wear them every day.
They come in two different widths.
They’re all made in Germany. Birkenstock also have a very consistent millimeter size chart which makes it easy to always get the right fit with their products.
Birkenstock’s aren’t for everybody. Some people didn’t like how wide the arch mounds were compared to American footwear companies. They definitely take some getting used to, if you haven’t worn Birkenstock’s before.
They also take some wearing in, before the cork fully shapes to your own foot shape.
With both pieces, they’re a bit thick. If your boots are already snug, these might not fit well, even after removing the factory insoles.
They’re expensive. These usually cost $60+.
5. Birkenstock Blue Footbed Arch Support
Our last recommendation is Birkenstock’s popular Blue Footbed. These are 3/4 length inserts as opposed to full-length insoles. Instead of replacing your factory insoles, they sit right on top! So, they give you just as much relief without needing as much room as a full insert! They’re sturdy, incredibly supportive, and a terrific option for people who don’t have room for a full replacement insole, or boots where the factory insoles are sewn in.
They’ll fit in pretty much any boots. They’re a 3/4 length footbed that sits right on top of your factory footbed. They don’t raise your heel, so they take up virtually no space in your boots except for the arch mound. You don’t have to tear out a glued-in factory insole, or lose the cushion of the factory footbed when you add arch support.
They’re perfect for Muck Boots, for instance, where you have a sock liner instead of a factory insole. They’re also great for work boots with completely flat footbeds, since those tend to have lots of cushion. You can keep all that bounce and simply add support and structure! We’ve found that they’re a popular choice for people working in steel toe boots, where the toe is often too constrictive or weirdly shaped to fit a full replacement insole.
Since they’re so compact and easy to remove, you can swap them between different pairs of boots and shoes for different jobs.
They’re made from natural cork and latex, just like the bottom pieces of the BirkoSport’s. They’re essentially the back 3/4 of a Birkenstock sandal footbed, without the outsole or the upper. They have a strong arch mound, which provides lots of relief across your foot, and a deep heel cup to take weight off the fronts of your feet.
Overall, they give your boots the same arch support, metatarsal relief, and gait alignment as the full-length BirkoSport’s. They’re great for posture issues, joint and back pain, and for all chronic foot maladies. Buyers reported excellent results with these when they used them to alleviate heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and achilles tendonitis–just to name a few.
The silk lining on the top is odor-resistant, moisture-wicking, and very durable. We also like how smoothly you can get your feet in and out of your boots with these inside!
They stay in place really well. A lot of half-length and 3/4 inserts slide around annoyingly through the day, or have to be glued in place. These have a clever little bar on the bottom which sinks into your boot’s footbed to keep them in place as you walk. You get a secure fit without the hassle of gluing them in or ripping them out!
They last a long, long time–up to several years! Cork is incredibly durable, and it’s the ideal material for work boots that take a beating. Foams and plastics wear down or crack in just months, but these will serve you well for much longer.
They come in two different widths.
They’re made entirely in Germany, and have extremely consistent sizing.
They don’t have any extra padding. These are just the cork footbeds, so they feel like a traditional Birkenstock instead of the BirkoSport’s with the extra foam layer. We recommend these to people who like a lot of support and structure. They’re probably not a great option for people on concrete, though, unless your boots already absorb impact well in the midsole and outsole.
They’re about as pricey as the BirkoSport’s. Plan to spend $50+ for a set of the Blue Footbed’s.
Again, these are Birkenstock’s, so you’ll either love them or hate them. They have wider arch mounds than American insoles, and they’re much stiffer than anything made by Dr. Scholl’s. We suggest that you give them a try, though! They’ve been popular for more than a century, and for good reason!
Now that we’ve looked at all of these options, which is the best for your boots?
The Powerstep’s are an obvious choice for workers on a tighter budget, since they’re so inexpensive. They have basic support, decent cushion, and a very affordable price tag. They’re a good budget option for workers who need more arch support than their factory insoles can provide, without sacrificing cushion. Don’t buy them if you have high arches, though, and don’t expect them to last as long as more expensive insoles.
The Vionic Orthaheel’s are our budget recommendation for those who need lots of support and correction on a shoestring budget. They’re still very affordable, but they have much stiffer arch support and heel alignment than the Powerstep’s. They probably won’t last more than a year, though, and some people found them too stiff to be comfortable.
The Superfeet’s are the obvious choice for anyone who has super high arches, since they have the most prominent arch mounds of the bunch. On the downside, they’re a bit overpriced for what you get, and they don’t add much in the way of cushion.
The BirkoSport’s are our top quality pick, and we recommend them to anyone who can afford them and fit them in their boots. They’re the most expensive insoles here, but they last several times as long as any of the American recommendations. They have the best balance between support and cushion, and they’re the healthiest for the average foot. The only downside for us is the price. They’re also slightly thicker than the cheaper options, which may or may not be an issue for you.
The Birkenstock Blue Footbeds are our alternative to the BirkoSport’s for anyone who needs something to fit over a factory insole. They’re also the better choice of the two for people who know and love Birkenstock cork footbeds, since they give you an all-cork base rather than the padded BirkoSport’s. They can fit in pretty much anything, and they last for years. The only thing they’re missing is some cushion at the front end, so make sure your factory insoles have enough!
Here are a few things to think about as you’re deciding between insoles to use in your boots:
The whole reason you’re buying insoles in the first place is to get the exact support and cushion your feet need. So, make sure they fit your feet! Think about how high your arches are, and whether you prefer your arch mounds further forward, or further back. Do you like Birkenstock-style arch mounds, which stretch across most of the foot, or more American-style arch supports, which are just at the edge of your instep? Figuring out all those things up front will help you decide which models to go with.
You should also make sure your insoles fit your work boots! First, decide whether you’re going to be replacing your factory insoles (or if you can even remove your factory insoles). If you are, you should buy a full-length insole to replace it! Look for insoles you can cut to fit your boots, since any aftermarket insole will be slightly differently sized than your boot insoles. If you can’t (or don’t want to) replace your factory insoles, look for a 3/4 length insert you can pop on top.
Most importantly, you need to establish what you like your footbeds to feel like! That comes down to two key elements: cushion and support.
Cushion is important for absorbing the impact of concrete floors, and for keeping your feet comfortable through a long shift. If you do best with padded insoles, look for models with foam upper layers, or an all-foam construction. However, the softer your insoles are, the less corrective they’ll be! If you have work boots with lots of cushion in the midsole and outsole, you probably don’t need as much cushion.
Support is what you need to straighten your gait, support your foot’s natural anatomy, and resolve chronic pain symptoms. You need plenty of arch support to massage your plantar fascia muscle throughout the day. It’s also important to get an insole with a deep heel cup, to bring weight off the front of your feet, where it can become painful.
If you have pronation in your gait (or wobble, in laymen’s terms), you should look for something that’s very supportive. Stiffer insoles will straighten your gait, which helps to prevent joint issues and pain.
If you have an acute pain issue like plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, or achilles tenderness, you’ll want to look for lots of arch support and a deep heel cup.
Average feet with no serious issues or abnormalities do best with a moderate amount of arch support, and a heel cup with little to no raise.
The insoles which strike the best balance between cushion and support are made from either natural cork or synthetic EVA material. Both materials shape to your feet over time, to give you a more personal, adaptive fit than insoles made of plastic or squishy foam.
Budget vs. Durability
Insoles can cost anywhere from $20 to $75, depending mostly on the materials used.
The cheapest insoles are made from plastic and foam. They’ll give you basic corrections and decent support, but they don’t last very long, and they only provide rigid support. They won’t contour to your own feet like expensive insoles can.
More expensive options are made from EVA or cork, both of which last much longer than plastic or foam. They also contour slightly to your feet, without collapsing. We suggest these insoles for anyone who can afford to buy them!
The more you spend, the longer your insoles will last, and the better they’ll be at providing the exact support you need. If you can afford them, we think a good pair of $60 insoles are a better buy than a so-so pair of $20 insoles. The $60 insoles will more than pay for themselves after you factor in all the replacement $20 pairs you’ll avoid paying for!
We also encourage you to think about your foot health as an investment. If you’re in your work boots for a 40 or 50-hour work week, you owe it to yourself to spend a little more to keep your feet, joints, and back happy. After all, even the most expensive insoles in this guide are hundreds of dollars less expensive than the ones you’d get at a podiatrist’s office!
To see sizing charts and current prices for any of the models we’ve recommended here, just click on the links to check them out on Amazon! If you’re in the market for some new work boots as well as insoles, head over to our main guide to work boots! We have lots of great recommendations there, many of which have nice insoles included!