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19 March, 2018

Shock-absorbing insoles for all?

Absorb means making something less intense or violent, compensate or decrease the effect of blows, jolts or brusque movements. It sounds good.

An example of this are the shock absorbers of a car or bicycle, which bring stability, comfort and, of great importance, safety: protection for the occupants as well as for the car itself.

If each vehicle, with its peculiarities, has its shock absorbers, shouldn’t we also absorb the impact of every step or stride we make when we move on foot? In this article we explain the reason for shock-absorbing insoles, in which circumstances they are recommended and tips for buying the most appropriate for you.

What do shock-absorbing insoles do?

In a marathon (42 kilometres), a person weighing 75 kilos withstands a load of more than 7,800 tons. Do you know what that means? It’s as if this person was carrying on their back… 37 elephants per kilometre! (Each elephant weighs 5 tons). We show you this clearly in this video.

It seems logical to think that faced with this we should do something to care for our feet, our point of contact with the ground and which withstand our body weight every day. Along the same lines, we must also protect our joints, which may be affected by the vibrations produced by this impact.

This is because, moreover, our lower extremities are not perfect. Our stride, and our footstep is often not the best (speaking technically) and this means that the loads are not suitably distributed, which also accentuates the negative effects of these overloads.

Using an external element such as shock absorbing insoles can help us reduce and spread the loads on the feet.

What should shock-absorbing insoles be like?

Now we have an idea of the impact we produce with each movement of the foot. If we want to reduce it we need good shock absorbing insoles, that is, which can really absorb the negative vibrations that are propagated by the body with each step taken.

Today there is a great variety of insoles, of different shapes, colours, materials and densities: whether of gel, resin, viscoelastic, carbon fibre, some softer, some harder… if our aim is to absorb the impact we should take special care in the material they are made of and look for those that can really certify a greater absorption capacity. There are scientific studies, such as the drop test, which certify that viscoelastic material such as NOENE absorbs 92% of energy (*).

The fact is that, especially in questions of health such as we are dealing with here, it is important to refer to professionals and compare the information. If we are guided by just our first impression we can confuse comfort (a subjective sensation) with the capacity of absorption (a property that can be scientifically demonstrated). So, for example, if we try some gel insoles, they may give an initial feeling of wellbeing, but we should not forget that on dealing with an elastic material, more than dissipating the energy, it “rebounds” it.

Who should use shock absorbing insoles and when?

It is clear that the body receives an impact every time our feet touch the ground, but always with the same force? The energy generated will depend on multiple factors:

  • our body weight
  • the hardness of the land
  • the type of footwear
  • the activity we are doing
  • the attitude/effort with which we move

 
A couple of examples: we do not step with the same force when we walk than when we are competing in a speed race, and neither is it the same playing tennis to hit the ball a few times with the racquet and pass the time, as taking it seriously and giving it all at 100% for each point.

The use of shock-absorbing insoles is particularly necessary for people who:

  • regularly do impact sports (such as running, trail running, tennis or padel).
  • do sport on a particularly hard terrain such as asphalt, or irregular such as the mountain.
  • have suffered a previous injury and/or want to prevent them.

 
Beyond sport, we can all benefit from the use of shock absorbing insoles, also in our day-to-day activities or leisure time. The fact is, simply by standing we are placing pressure on our feet and joints.

Below we show you some hints to choose the best shock absorbing insoles for you, according to your circumstances and needs.

Shock absorbing insoles for sport and daily use

As well as absorbing the impact, insoles can help us gain stability and comfort, improve problems of circulation in the feet, and repair inflammations in specific zones…

We suggest some examples to show you different types of shock absorbing insoles, designed for all ages and situations:

  • Shock-absorbing insoles, yes, but the lighter the better, because I don’t want to notice anything on my feet … Try the INVISIBLE-SOS1.
  • I need some shock absorbing insoles for running training, football, basketball, volleyball… The UNIVERSAL NO2 insoles can be used together with the original insole of your sports footwear or replace them.
  • Protection for the joints, yes, but I am also looking for stability and comfort in doing particularly intense sports… In these cases you should try using ergonomic insoles such as the ERGOPRO AC+ or ERGONOMIC-AC2.
  • I am looking for narrow shock absorbing insoles for everyday use, which adapt to my normal footwear… Yours is a model designed for urban use, such as the URBAN-LG2.
  • I have problems of circulation in my feet / I want to help my physical recovery after exercise… Shock absorbing insoles will help you that also have a hi-tech fabric that favours the blood flow, such as the OPTIMUM-OFP2.
  • I want to protect the heel zone in particular, because I know it is my weak point… You can use some heel-pads such as the SPECIFIC-TC4.

 
And if you are a runner and want more specific information about the different types of running insoles, check the article we published a few weeks ago.

 

 

(*) Assessment of the capacity of NOENE® insoles to attenuate vibrations during running. IBV, Instituto de Biomecánica, 2012.
(**) http://www.nexusfiber.com/pubblicazioni-studi-sport.html