A decisive criterion when purchasing a running shoe is wear-comfort. The runner’s perception of wear-comfort can be significantly raised by using appropriate insoles.
Following a systematic intervention approach the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopaedics at the German Sport University recently finished a study about runners’ subjective perception of comfort. It tested the insoles of manufacturers claiming their products improve running shoes’ wear-comfort and traction between foot and shoe.
A key task that running-shoe insoles need to fulfill is to improve shoe comfort without increasing stress under the foot. Some manufacturers promise their customers “heavenly comfort” and “guaranteed injury-free running” on the product packaging.
Biomechanical researchers at the German Sport University Cologne therefore compared the products of those manufacturers covering most of this market (currexSole, Powerstep, Sidas, Sole, Superfeet) regarding wear-comfort and pressure distribution under the foot. The pressures under the foot were measured for all test subjects wearing the same model of running shoe and at an identical running speed, in order to ensure the highest-possible reproducibility and comparability of the test results.
In the blind test, these experienced runners (N=31) gave better wear-comfort scores to the product with a dynamic-flexible construction (currexSole) than to the more rigid constructions (Powerstep, Sidas, Sole, Superfeet) that currently dominate the international market. The biomechanical experts were astonished not only by the improved comfort perceived by the runners, but above all by the reduced peak plantar pressure under the sensitive mid-foot area.
The runners in this study experienced the highest gain in wear-comfort without an increase in foot-sole stress when wearing the dynamic-flexible insole.

Dr. Björn Braunstein
Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopaedics
tel: +49 (0)221 4982-5621

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