DIY Shoe Inserts

Updated April 17, 2017

Do-it-yourself shoe inserts will save you money and work just as well as store-bought pads. Cut homemade insoles from materials in your garage or home such as rubber or bubble wrap, and be on your way to more supportive footwear.

Possible Materials

You can make shoe inserts from pieces of an old inner tube from a truck or car tire, plastic bubble wrap, or craft foam. A rubber insole made from an inner tube provides a sturdy and durable insole that you can wash and reuse. Although plastic bubble wrap does not last as long as rubber, it is comfortable and can provide extra warmth to your feet on a cold day. Craft foam insoles provide a cushioned feel much like store-bought insoles.

Getting the Right Fit: Rubber Insoles

Getting the right fit means measuring properly. For a rubber inner tube, cut the material into two long and wide rectangular strips with a strong pair of scissors. This will give you enough room to measure your feet and make the final cuts. Use a piece of white chalk to trace around your bare or socked feet on the rubber. Cut directly on the chalk line or slightly outside, because you can always modify a larger cut. Put the rubber insoles in your shoes and make any final modifications. You can leave the inserts as is and wear them in different shoes, or affix double-sided tape on the bottoms to secure them in one pair of shoes.

Getting the Right Fit: Plastic Insoles

Bubble wrap is sold at many craft stores, but chances are you've got some lying around from a package or gift you received in the mail. Get the right fit by standing on the bubble wrap in your bare feet and tracing around them. Leave about 1/2 inch outside the pattern line to get better coverage of your toes and to ensure the plastic will not slip inside your shoes. Getting the right fit may take a few cuts. The bubble wrap should lie flat along the bottoms and up the sides of your shoes. Test your new insoles for a day. If you're satisfied, use the pattern to create several more to keep in your car or bag for use when you need extra padding and warmth.

Getting the Right Fit: Foam Insoles

Many store-bought insoles are made with foam, but you can save money by making your own with supplies you buy online or at a craft store. Buy sticky back foam sheets. One package usually has several sheets, so you can make multiple insoles or thicker insoles. Trace your feet on the foam and cut about 1/2 inch outside the patterns to allow room for error. Before you peel off the sticky backs, check the fit in your shoes. For more comfort, stick another cut of foam directly on top of the first. You'll still have foam left over.

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About the Author

Katie Brennan is an award-winning freelance writer in Denver. She realized her passion for prose at age 12, when she published a non-fiction essay in a national book. Brennan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and English from the University of Iowa.