Wondering how to pick the best height increasing insoles?
To find the world's best shoe lifts, simply type 6ftclub.com into your browser's URL bar, and select any of the options present.
That was so easy, right? We just wanted to give you a helping hand because we're such good guys and have no conflicts of interest in writing this blog whatsoever. You're welcome.
The end. El fin. Das ende. Fine. 结束.
Okay, okay, if you're still reading, you catch on quick. Of course we sell shoe lifts and want you to pick us over the other guys, BUT we're also going to try and make this blog as impartial as our biased brains can.
So, here are seven factors to look at when deciding what kind of height insoles are right for you:
- Height offered
- Shoe type fit
- Compression and comfort
- The full-length vs. half-length increasing insole
- Quality of insole
- Flexibility of insole
- Price of insole
We'll go into detail on each one below. If you don't need all the detail at any point, just skip to "the verdict" sections for the recaps. Let the matchmaking begin!
Factor 1: Height
Chances are, if you are looking to buy the best height increasing insole, you want to achieve a maximum height increase.
Well, what is the maximum height for a guy that wants to be taller? One inch? Two inches? Four inches? Eight?
The truth is probably that a lot of us would love to add eight inches to our height, but alas, that really irritating word that stops us in our tracks: reality.
So instead the question becomes not how much height do you want, but rather how much height can you fit?
There are elevator insoles offering as little as half an inch in height (which you could probably get already by buying some well-made orthotic insoles) to shoe lifts offering up to five inches.
Well, five inches sounds really great until you order your lifts and excitedly unwrap them only to discover that they don't fit in any of your shoes. That's what happens in about 90% of cases (disclaimer: no studies on this, that's just a guesstimate). So what happens in the other 10% of cases?
It ain't pretty.
We've seen guys walking around with five inches hunched forward because of the giant slope they're trying to manage with every step. No joke. Putting aside all the ankle safety concerns, just think about what that does to your posture. It'll cause you to lose whatever aura of confidence the height may have given you.
If you want "maximum height," you have to think realistically, and we would say that anything beyond two and a half inches or so is probably not going to work for your shoes—or your posture.
Pro tip: If you're a super technical dude, you could always measure the heel room given in your preferred shoes. For instance, let's say you stick a ruler in your hi-top shoe, and it has five inches of space from the factory insole to the top of the shoe. Most guys will want to have at minimum 2.5 inches for their foot, or risk the heel popping out while walking. This means the selected shoe should be able to accommodate a height increasing insole 2-2.5 inches tall.
And speaking of shoes that can accommodate a good-sized shoe lift, we'll now check out the second factor for selecting the best height increase insole: shoe type.
Factor 2: Shoe Type
No doubt you have your own sense of fashion (even if you don't think of it that way—hey, pajamas at your work-from-home job count too) just like every guy has his own style. Some guys love pants, some shorts, some both depending on the season. Some men like casual tees, others professional collared shirts, some both depending on whether it's work or recreation.
And some guys prefer high ankle support shoes, some low-tops, and others sandals (or all three depending on the time of year).
Just in case you need a quick shoe fashion refresher, here's a quick definition of each of these three types:
High Ankle Support Shoes (aka High-Tops or Hi-Tops)
These enclosed shoes are pretty much what they sound like—they encompass your entire ankle with the top of the shoe wrapping around the lower part of your leg. Most boots would be categorized as high ankle support shoes, but there are also other softer, more sports-like shoes (for example basketball shoes) that fit within this category. The key is that the shoe extends beyond the top of your foot and wraps around your lower leg, above the ankle.
Low Top Shoes (aka Lo-Tops)
In contrast to hi-tops, lo-tops are enclosed shoes that stop right at your ankle. Think of them as the kind of shoes that would just barely make visible any ankle socks you're wearing. These kinds of shoes include your traditional tennis or running shoes, most casual shoes, and dress shoes.
Yeah, we know you for sure know what sandals are, so we won't insult you by writing it out...then again, we once had a guy ask us if our height increase insole would work in his sandals, so I guess you never know. I suppose they could technically work if you don't care that everyone can see them :D
In looking for the best height increase shoe insoles, you'll want to consider which shoe types you use the most, or which shoe types you're willing to use to get different amounts of height.
Since high ankle support shoes have extra height in the heel area, this helps to hide shoe lifts and create more room for the foot much better than low-tops. (Remember our example for the technical dudes using rulers earlier? Yeah, that.) Essentially, this means that you can usually fit more height into high ankle support shoes, for example 1.5 to 2.5 inches.
On the other hand, if you really like to wear low-tops and still want added height, our recommendation is to use height increase shoe insoles that are 1.5 inches or less. Anything more than that will likely result in your heel popping up out of the shoe when you walk.
And for sandals, we'll let you judge for yourself. As we said, it may not be the most discreet option.
You can usually make height increase shoe insoles work with any shoe. The key is that the shoe you choose should match the height offered by your height increase insole.
If you go too big with the height and are trying to stuff your lift into a small shoe, chances are it ain't gonna work. On the other hand, if you go with a large high ankle support shoe but buy a lift with only a small height increase, you aren't achieving maximum height.
So to recap with some actual height increase numbers:
High-tops lover: 1.5 inch to 2.5 inch shoe lifts work fine for max height
Low-tops lover: 1.5 inches and below are best
Sandals: probably not going to happen, even on a good day
The great news is that there are special kinds of height inserts that allow for use in multiple shoes. These height lifting inserts are designed with multiple layers, allowing for flexible height adjustment. More on this later though—right now, it's time to explore the next big (somewhat controversial) factor: compression.
Factor 3: Compression
Compression is a touchy subject when it comes to getting taller with height increase insoles. On the one hand, you want the insoles to stay firm enough to maintain their height, and on the other hand, you don't want the knee or foot pain associated with walking around on an unforgiving surface all day long.
If you haven't heard the studies about joggers running on concrete most of their lives and needing early knee surgery, the correlation is real. The science geeks will cite Newton's famous third law of motion, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
When we push downward into a very hard surface like concrete, dense wood, or to make our point, dense plastic, those hard surfaces push back up against us—and while our feet bear the first of this burden, our knees and backs ultimately bear it too.
So long story short, beware any elevator insoles made entirely of unforgiving materials such as hard or very dense plastic and wood.
Then of course, there's the other side we mentioned: even though it provides comfort, compression ultimately takes away from the height you achieve.
If you want to get the most out of your height insoles, you don't want to order any that are made of super soft materials. If the material is too soft for example, it can cause an entire one inch insole to become as small as one-quarter inch.
If you're looking for increased height (and we're guessing if you're reading this article, you are), where's the sense in that?
A commonly used and overly soft material is memory foam. Some insoles boast of a top memory foam layer, usually to help mask a very hard material underneath. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory foam deflates almost immediately with your weight, and after some time is too crushed to even be felt anymore. Of course, memory foam can be effective for a nice feel in combination with another moderately dense material, but on its own offers little comfort and has no impact whatsoever on height.
Aside from memory foam, some height inserts boast of an air cushion that helps people avoid foot pain. This air cushion is meant to serve as a shock absorption feature, ultimately increasing comfort while not compromising too much on height (probably an eighth of an inch to a quarter inch lost at most).
While we would all love to step into some nice, maximum comfort lifts, it's also important to understand how compressing shoe insoles for increased comfort becomes a trade-off with height.
Our best recommendation is to find height increasing shoe insoles that have medium compression to balance health and well-being with maximum height.
Next, we'll review the fourth factor when choosing the best shoe lifts: whether to get full-length or half-length insoles for increased height.
Factor 4: Full-length versus half-length height increasing shoe insoles
Which is better? Full-length height increase insoles, or half-sized heel lifts? Well, it depends.
The main point here is this: you don't want your foot at a steep incline when you walk. This is true for a couple of reasons.
One, the steeper the incline, the more likely you are to step in a funny manner and roll your ankle. Two, walking at a strange angle can wreak havoc on your feet, knees, and back because it's not natural—even though you can do it, the body just isn't built for it.
A full-length rise insole helps minimize these risks by creating a gradual slope for the foot that gently tapers out at the toe. This is why they are particularly effective for greater height (e.g., 1.5 inches and up). The greater the height, the more gradual you want the slope to be.
In general, it's probably healthiest to go with full-length height inserts.
Of course, there are downsides too. Sometimes having just that extra little bit of padding and comfort toward the toe of the shoe insole can cause additional pressure on the top of your foot. Also, since most full-length shoe lifts are trim-to-size, cutting them to fit your shoe size may feel like a hassle.
That's where heel lifts come in. As long as a heel lift has a generally gradual slope and doesn't involve too much height (e.g. over 1.5 inches), the loss of the remaining insole probably doesn't matter all that much. And avoiding the hassle of cutting the heel lift to size is just a cherry on top.
The two most important aspects of a full-length shoe insole versus a half-length shoe insole are how gradual the slope is and whether there's enough room at the toe of the boot or sneakers to accommodate the extra piece.
In general, we recommend these guidelines:
Full-length insoles are best for maximum height (like 1.5 inches and above) plus body health and well-being. They're not the best if there's too much pressure at the toe of the shoe (though this depends again on the shoes you choose).
Heel lifts are fine for less height (under 1.5 inches) as long as they have a gradual slope. As a bonus, they're hassle-free (no trimming required) and allow more room in the toe of the shoe.
Now we'll move onto the factor to consider with anything you're buying: quality.
Factor 5: Quality
When it comes to your feet—you know, those things you need to walk on all day long—quality matters. Not to mention, it feels great to receive a quality product when you're spending your hard-earned money on something.
Height increasing insole quality comes in a few different forms. We've already discussed parts of it above, like what kind of material is used in the insole's construction. You want to make sure your insoles are made of quality material that won't be too hard or too soft on your foot.
Another quality aspect is foot support. You have to be careful with this one. While some shoe lifts claim to have foot support, the truth is they really don't.
Can you see where the arch support is, where the instep of the insole rises? Can you see a deep heel cup, possibly with an air cushion underneath? In general, does it look like your feet will feel supported by these insoles?
In the end, you'll need to judge for yourself whether the foot support provided is adequate for you. But also be careful—maybe you are young and don't think foot support is a big deal, but just remember that feet are those things you have to walk on for the rest of your life.
Aside from foot support quality, there's also the quality of the multi-layer lock design to consider. Let us explain.
There are different versions of multi-layer shoe lifts out there—basically height lifting inserts that allow for height adjustment. They break down into two or more pieces so that you can add or subtract layers as needed.
When it comes to quality, the worst ones we've seen don't even fit together. I kid you not, we have seen top layers with giant rectangular holes on the underside and bottom layers with small round pegs that stick out—and the company wants you to believe that these parts actually fit together.
We aren't dumb. We can see for ourselves they don't fit, and worse, they slide around like crazy.
Do you want to feel like there's a constant piece of plastic sliding around under you while you walk? Don't think so.
Check the shapes in between layers before you buy. That way, you'll use your hard-earned money on multi-layer insoles that actually lock together and don't create a rolling earthquake as you go about your daily business.
There are other things too, like breathable design, that factor into quality. You want to have an insole with breathable design to help avoid foot odor—no one wants to experience that.
Don't compromise on quality when it comes to elevator insoles because the wrong ones can negatively impact the well-being (or smell) of your feet, and by extension, your knees and back. No plantar fasciitis here, please.
Look for overall medium compression material, adequate foot support, and properly locking layers if you're buying multi-layer height insoles.
And speaking again of multi-layer height lifting inserts, our next factor is flexibility.
Factor 6: Flexibility
How does getting two height increasing shoe insoles for the price of one sound? What about getting three for the price of one?
The multi-layer shoe lift will do exactly that for you.
As we mentioned already, some shoe lifts come with multiple layers for height adjustment while others are just a single layer. When searching for the best height insoles, flexibility is something to consider.
The more flexible the height, the more likely you are to experience success when using the product. For instance, if you have a height insole that provides 2.5 inches of height, all that height may not fit in your lower profile shoes...but if the insole breaks down into three layers, suddenly you have options for different shoes. You may be able to use only the primary insole (top insole) in your lower profile regular shoes and the primary insole plus additional layers in your high ankle support sneakers.
For any height insoles exceeding 1.5 inches, we would recommend getting insoles with layers so you can adjust the height to fit various shoes. Otherwise, you might get stuck with a lift that only fits in one pair of your boots. A single layer can work fine for anything less than 1.5 inches, though it's still not great. You might still have trouble in very low profile shoes, like dress shoes for instance.
Multi-layer height insoles are ideal to create options for use in different shoes while achieving maximum height. Single layer shoe lifts can work for any height under 1.5 inches, but we generally like having flexibility ;-)
Also, quick refresher from our advice on quality: check that the multi-layer lifts have properly locking layers to avoid potential injury.
And now onto the final factor in choosing the world's best height insoles: price.
Factor 7: Price
Ah, of course we can't forget about price. We've seen height increasing insoles priced as low as $5.50 and others as high as $200. It really is quite the range.
From our experience, we'd guess the average price is somewhere around $20, not including the cost of shipping.
For the very, very cheap height insoles—let's say under $10—sometimes, these are shipped directly from the overseas manufacturer to your doorstep. In this case, you may have to trade getting an insanely cheap price for waiting weeks to receive your order.
Say goodbye to instant gratification, or anything close to it.
But...if you don't have a pressing upcoming event like a first date, party, or client meeting, then it really goes back to quality. Not all of the very cheap insoles are poorly made, but if you're spending under $10, chances are you will sacrifice quite a bit of quality for cost. And that may not be the best decision when it comes to daily wear on your feet.
For shoe lifts in the average cost range, anywhere from $10 to $25, you might notice that many of them look alike. Oftentimes these are companies that take a pre-existing insole from the overseas manufacturer, whip 'em up in bulk, and then sell them here in the U.S.
There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, but you'll probably notice that many of these insoles don't have proper arch support or comfort and are made of lower quality material. Some of them also offer a great amount of height (e.g., 3 inches plus), but you can see the slope of the foot would be quite uncomfortable—and then again, you have the issue of getting different shoes that can accommodate this kind of heel space.
Finally we come to the higher priced insoles, anything over $25. These usually involve insoles that are sold by just one company, meaning they are not simply plucked from overseas and resold here. Oftentimes, they're higher quality than the less expensive insoles and more thought has been put into their creation in terms of materials, design, flexibility, and foot support.
In the end, factors around price usually boil down to trade-offs. Lower to average priced insoles may mean less money out of your pocket in the short term, but longer term issues like foot and back pain, getting stuck with a low quality product, and waiting weeks to receive your order. Average to higher priced insoles mean more money out of your pocket up front, but a greater likelihood of quality material and design in addition to faster shipping times.
Well-made shoe lifts can usually last up to 4-6 months of wear before needing a replacement.
Then again, there's also just what your pocketbook can handle at the time of purchase.
When setting out to become taller and buy your first pair of height increasing insoles, you'll want to consider the seven factors guiding you toward the best shoe lifts. To recap, consider the following:
- The amount of added height: there is such a thing as too much height, so it comes down to what height you can fit
- Shoe types: choose the right-sized insole for the shoes you already have, or find shoes that accommodate your favorite height increase insole
- Compression and comfort: find a height increase insole that balances firmness to maintain height with compression to maintain comfort
- The full-length increasing insole versus the half-length heel lift: 1) full-length insoles with a gradual slope are preferable to half-length lifts with a drastic slope, and 2) gradual half-length lifts allow for more room toward the toe of the shoe and don't require trimming to size
- Quality: always consider the material, whether or not the height increasing insole has adequate foot support, and whether or not the layers lock together properly for the multi-layer shoe lift
- Flexibility: using multi-layer elevator insoles provides greater options for different shoes, ensuring greater success with the product
- Price: while you may enjoy greater savings with cheaper insoles, this can come at the cost of long shipping times and poor quality materials and foot support. While more expensive insoles are costly up front, you'll usually get a better quality product offering adequate foot support and fast shipping times
These factors pile up fast and may seem like a lot, so we recommend picking the factor that's most important to you and then going from there.
We hope these tips helped you out and wish you luck on your search for the best men's shoe lifts.