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Do shoe inserts really help ease foot pain?

March 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
According to a recent survey, 90 percent of U.S. women wear shoes that look good, even though they kill our feet. Could adding insoles to our shoes help ease the pain?

Makers of shoe insoles claim their products can help "prevent foot aches and pains" or provide "all-day comfort" and "cushion the entire foot area." So Consumer Reports put shoe insoles to the test, checking out four that cost $8 to $13.

Fourteen women tried each of the insoles in a pair of her shoes that had at least 2 1/2-inch heels with some as high as four. Each tester walked a total of almost five and a half miles.

The results were not great for Dr. Scholl's For Her High Heel Insoles and Insolia High Heel Inserts.

"My shoes didn't feel any more comfortable than they did without them," said panelist Valerie England.

Foot Pedals Killer Kushionz did make shoes feel a little more comfortable. But the package says they're "not recommended to remove and reuse." Turns out the adhesive damaged some of the shoes, tearing out some of the lining inside the shoe.

As for the Fab Feet Three-Quarter Insoles from Target, they also made shoes a little more comfortable, but were easier to remove. Although most of the women thought none of the insoles were worth the money.

When it comes to comfortable shoes, Consumer Reports said a big problem is people often buy shoes that are too small, selecting the size they've always worn. But your feet change, so it's important to get measured each time you shop for shoes.

A good-fitting pair should have a pinkie's width between the end of your toes and the tip of your shoe.