Watch Dr. Scholl’s ads, and you’d think that putting two pieces of plastic in your shoes would make your day. People wearing the company’s Massaging Gel insoles appear nothing short of blissed-out. Likewise, if you’re lucky enough to be wearing Walgreens W Cushion Duo Gel insoles, expect those babies to “massage your entire foot with every step.”
We tested four insoles designed for men’s shoes. Nine male panelists used them, wearing a new sample of each (usually in loafers) on at least two days for 6 to 7 hours a day and walking a total of at least 5.4 miles in all. Panelists evaluated comfort, ease of placement, and cushioning. They also said whether they’d buy the insole themselves.
The men saw some benefit to insoles and said they’d probably use them in the future. Of the six panelists who attended a wrap-up discussion, five said they liked three-quarter- length Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Slimsoles slightly better than the other products. They provided good arch support, didn’t make shoes feel snug, had a smooth transition at the toe, and were easy to position.
The other insoles satisfied slightly less. With the three-quarter-length Profoot, some panelists felt as though their toes were hanging off the front. W and Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel are full length and must be cut to fit the shoe. They were harder to put into shoes than the shorter insoles, tended to make feet feel warmer, and occasionally made a squishing sound when panelists walked.
Panelists found insoles most useful when shoes were uncomfortable, too big, or uncushioned. In those cases, try Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Slimsoles, but don’t expect bliss.