The Science Behind Flat Feet and Cork Insoles

The Science Behind Flat Feet and Cork Insoles

Flat feet cause around 10% of people to feel foot pain, get tired quicker and walk with an abnormal gait. This stops them from enjoying outdoor exploration, and it can lead to more serious health issues over time, like plantar fasciitis. If you suffer from flat feet, you’re probably painfully aware of these challenges already. But what can you do about it?

Well, read this blog for starters! We’re going to take you through the science behind flat feet and how cork insoles can help you keep that pep in your step. We’ll start by diving into the impact of flat feet on your body. Then we’ll describe how insoles in general can help in managing plantar fasciitis, before revealing the science that makes cork insoles perfect for this task. So let’s get scientific.

What are flat feet?

Flat feet, also known as pes planus, are a common condition in which the arches on the inside of the feet flatten when pressure is put on them. This happens for all kinds of reasons, including your genetics, injuries, age, and weight gain. The added pressure stretches out the connective tissue between your heel and the rest of your foot — your plantar fascia. This causes intense pain, mostly in the morning or after long periods of standing. 

Flat feet aren’t technically the same as plantar fasciitis. But they are a strong indicator you might develop it down the line. Especially if you don’t take proper precautions. So if you often find that your feet hurt, specifically in the arches, don’t ignore it. Instead, take the necessary measures to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse. If you don’t, you might develop difficulties with walking, running, or standing. And let’s be honest, those are some pretty essential skills. 

How do insoles help you manage flat feet?

Insoles are inserts that you can put into your shoe to give you extra support and cushioning. And if you have flat feet, the right insole will:

  • Improve your arch support— Insoles can keep your arches of the feet from collapsing, which reduces pain and improves walking.
  • Reduce pronation— Pronation is the inward rolling of the foot when walking or running. Insoles reduce pronation, which can also reduce pain and improve walking.
  • Increase shock absorption— Insoles absorb shock, which can reduce pain and fatigue in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.
  • Improve your comfort— Insoles add cushioning and support to shoes, which makes them more comfortable to wear.

There are many insoles available in the market, including foam, gel, plastic, and cork. You can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of each of them in this guide. But to sum it up— cork insoles are the best defense against aching feet and plantar fasciitis for most people with flat feet.

What does science say about cork insoles and flat feet?

Cork is a sustainable and natural material that has become popular in the footwear industry due to its unique properties. It is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, without harming the tree. These properties make cork a renewable resource, as the bark regenerates over time. 

One of the main reasons why cork is suitable for insoles is its cushioning and shock-absorbing properties. The cellular structure of cork consists of millions of tiny air-filled compartments, which act as natural shock absorbers. This helps to distribute the pressure evenly across the foot. Unlike foam or gel, cork retains its shape and does not flatten over time, providing long-lasting support. It is also lightweight, making it comfortable to wear for extended periods. 

Cork is also known for its moisture-wicking properties. It can absorb and release moisture, keeping the feet dry and preventing the growth of bacteria and fungi. This makes cork insoles a great choice for those who struggle with foot odor or excessive sweating.

Scientific evidence suggests that cork insoles help treat flat feet. A study published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association in 2011 found that cork insoles were effective in reducing pain and improving function in people with flat feet. The study participants wore the insoles for 6 weeks, and the results showed that they had significantly less pain and were able to walk more comfortably than before.

Another study, published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research in 2015, found that cork insoles were effective in improving the alignment of the foot in people with flat feet. The study participants wore the insoles for 12 weeks, and the results indicated that their feet were more aligned after the treatment period.


So, in a nutshell, science supports the claim that cork insoles can really make a difference if you have flat feet. Improved support and pressure distribution can prevent you from developing serious medical conditions that slow you down. And no material does these things better than cork. Cork is a renewable resource that gives people with flat feet the support they need to live their life to the fullest.

At Primal Soles, we make cork insoles exactly for this reason. Firstly, because the squishy supportive qualities of cork insoles are the optimal choice for the majority of people. But also because they allow you to support our planet, while you explore it. 


We make the only 100% recyclable cork insoles in the market in accordance with EU regulations. The entire production process is CO2 negative. And we have a program in place that makes recycling them effortless for you. Because over time and after lots of exploring, your insoles will wear out. But we’ll always be there, at the end of the path, to give your feet the support they deserve.


So, why not try Primal Soles. We make insoles for flat feet and insoles for high arches. Or try our brand-new line, with a design based entirely off the feedback of thousands of users— Primal Clouds. Because they feel like walking on clouds.

Let nature support you. And support nature back.


Author Bio

Sanjay Ghosh is an SEO-copywriter, and he never walks anywhere without a pair of Primal Soles. With a focus on sustainable innovation during his Master’s at the University of Groningen, he helps make the world more sustainable one blog at a time. Find out more on his website.

cork insoles flat feet

← Older Post Newer Post →




Are Disposable Hotel Slippers the Next Plastic Straws?

Are Disposable Hotel Slippers the Next Plastic Straws?

Slippers supplied by hotels — flimsy models usually made of plastic and fabric — are the next single-use item in the cross hairs of sustainability...

Read more
Stepping Towards Sustainability: Circular Hotel Slippers

Stepping Towards Sustainability: Circular Hotel Slippers

During the recent Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Primal Soles emerged victorious in Pitch Live, a Dragon's Den-style pitching session showcasing new and innovative products for...

Read more