Whether you’re on the ice or the rink, proper-fitting skates are important not only for safety but also for performance. As is the case with shoes, skates often lack the necessary foundation to properly support our feet. However, most people don’t realize the importance of having a proper foot foundation in their skates, and many people never consider that a shoe insole can provide the support you need.
What Makes an Insole a “Skate Insole”?
Skates fit tightly on the feet, which means the first thing we look for in a skate insole is a low-profile design. The slimness of a skate insole will allow it to be worn in the skate without adding too much bulk, as excess bulk can actually cause more pain or a whole different set of problems. So the most important thing is to make sure the insole will fit comfortably inside a skate boot. A perfect example is the Superfeet CARBON Pro Hockey Insoles, which are specifically designed with skates in mind.
Next, you will want an insole with both a deep heel cup and arch support, which will provide foot and ankle stability while also ensuring that your foot remains properly aligned. We often recommend a semi-rigid orthotic arch support since these tend to provide a good combination of support and flexibility. An insole such as the SOLE Active Thin Footbeds are a great example of an insole with both proper arch support and heel support for skates.
Another thing that we want to consider is cushioning and shock absorption. Skating creates a lot of shock on the heel and forefoot in particular, so a good skate insole will have moderate cushioning, shock-absorbing pads, or a combination of the two to help relieve strain and shock on the foot. The currexSole EdgePro Insoles are great insoles for skates that feature Poron heel and metatarsal protection pads to absorb impact shock. This will help support and cushion impact, as well as capturing and returning energy for propulsion. Note that heavily-cushioned insoles often will be too bulky for skates, so a moderate amount of cushioning is best!
What Are the Benefits of Using an Arch Support in my Skates?
After even just a few hours of practice, skaters typically start to feel a tightening up of their lower leg muscles, sore foot arches, or knee pain. In most cases, these symptoms can all be prevented or minimized simply by having proper foot support in your skates. Having an orthotic arch support that is specially designed for hockey, ice, inline, or even roller skates can both prevent and treat the common aches and pains that are associated with these activities.
The combination of deep heel cup and semi-rigid arch support that are present in most skate insoles helps prevent the ankle from rolling more than normal and keeps the foot properly supported and aligned while on the rink. This helps prevent strain on the foot, especially the plantar fascia (the tendon that stretches from your heel to forefoot along the arch of your foot). In turn, then, arch supports will help prevent tears to the tendons of the foot that can cause inflammation, pain, and foot conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis.
The shock absorption and/or cushioning on skate insoles also helps alleviate strain on the foot, but more importantly it helps prevent the symptoms of foot fatigue and shin splints. These conditions are most often directly caused by impact shock to the feet, shins, and knees as a result of insoles and footwear not having built-in cushioning features. By adding these features to your skates with arch support insoles, you’ll find that you can skate harder and longer without feeling worn-out or sore as quickly.
We definitely recommend that anyone who skates, whether child or adult, consider using a skate insole for their skates to provide them with the best foot foundation. This will help keep your feet — and you — happy and pain-free both on and off the rink.