Less is more, when it comes to thin insoles. A common problem when buying insoles is their thickness. Often, insoles need to use a lot of material to provide cushioning, which reduces the space inside the shoe. For some people, the difference is barely noticeable. But if you’re like most people, stuffing your foot inside a shoe with a thick insole can feel suffocating and constricted. And if the alternative is sore feet and bad arch support, it can quickly start to feel like being caught between a rock and a hard place.
Luckily, you don’t have to choose. You can have your cake and eat it too. Cork insoles can support your feet without adding bulk to your shoes. High-quality cork insoles take up so little space that you hardly notice they’re there when you slip your feet in. But you certainly feel the difference when walking. So what makes cork different from other materials? And why can we be confident that cork can support your feet, even when the insoles are ultra-thin? Well, in this blog, we’ll talk about why people are using thin insoles. We’ll dive into the properties of cork, that make it a great material to make extra thin insoles. And we’ll explain why synthetic materials, quite literally, fail to make the cut.
Why would you want thin insoles?
Think of your favorite pair of shoes. Chances are, it’s not just the most stylish one or the newest one. Your favorite pair of shoes is probably the one that fits best. We all love the feeling of our comfy shoes that have been with us through thick and thin. And most of all, we don’t want them to feel any less comfy. But when people buy bulky insoles, they severely reduce the amount of space inside their shoe. And that can quickly turn a snug shoe into a suffocating one.
Thinner insoles also give you better sensory feedback than thicker insoles. They also give you more control and better balance. If you do any kind of sport where feeling the ground is important, such as hiking, thin insoles can give you benefits that thicker variants can’t. And in sports where split second decisions can make or break the game, this feedback is all but essential.
Finally, you don’t have to be a pro-athlete to enjoy thin insoles. The nice thing about them is that they fit in plenty of different shoes. We often hear that people use thin insoles for sneakers or for hiking boots. So if you want to use the same insoles in all your shoes, thin insoles are the way to go. So why, then, do we recommend cork insoles instead of synthetic ones? Well, that’s because of the following properties of synthetic materials.
Why are synthetic materials bad for thin insoles?
The short answer is that synthetic materials are usually of lower quality than natural materials. When synthetic insole manufacturers can’t mask these shortcomings by making the insoles thicker, these issues quickly become magnified. Consider, for example, the following shortcomings of synthetic insoles:
- Limited breathability: Synthetic materials often have limited breathability compared to natural materials. This leads to moisture buildup and a less comfortable environment for your feet. In contrast, natural materials like cork allow for better air circulation, helping to keep your feet dry and cool.
- Lack of odor control: Synthetic materials have a tendency to retain odors, especially when exposed to sweat. This results in unpleasant foot odor over time. Natural materials like cork, on the other hand, have inherent antimicrobial properties that help resist the growth of odor-causing bacteria and fungi.
- Unsustainable materials: Many synthetic materials are derived from non-renewable resources and have a higher carbon footprint compared to natural materials. In contrast, natural materials like cork are renewable, as they come from the bark of cork oak trees that can be harvested without harming the tree.
- Poor fit: Natural materials like cork gradually mold to the shape of the foot over time, providing personalized support and comfort. Synthetic materials lack this fit, resulting in a less customized fit for the individual's foot. Cork molds to the foot on a cellular level, so even thin insoles cork insoles have a better fit than much thicker synthetic ones.
- Environmental impact: Synthetic materials often involve complex manufacturing processes and release harmful chemicals during production. Natural materials like cork have minimal environmental impact, as they are harvested sustainably and require less energy-intensive processing.
Why should you choose thin insoles made of cork?
So how is cork different? Cork is an excellent material for thin insoles due to several reasons. For instance, cork is:
- Lightweight and thin: Cork is naturally lightweight and can be cut into thin layers without becoming weak as a result. On a cellular level, cork cells maintain a honeycomb structure. That means that even a thin layer of cork has outstanding structural integrity. This makes it ideal for thin insoles, as it provides support and cushioning without adding bulk or altering the fit of shoes.
- Shock absorbing: The unique cellular structure of cork also allows it to absorb shocks and vibrations. When used in thin insoles, cork helps reduce the impact on the feet, joints, and muscles, providing a more comfortable walking or running experience.
- Moisture-wicking and breathable: Cork has natural moisture-wicking properties, meaning it repels moisture and allows air to circulate. This helps to keep the feet dry, cool, and comfortable by preventing the buildup of sweat and getting rid of foot odor or fungal infections.
- Antimicrobial and odor-resistant: Cork is also naturally antimicrobial, making it resistant to the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew. This helps keep the insoles hygienic and odor-free, so your feet stay fresh.
- Custom fitting: Over time, cork insoles gradually mold to the unique shape of the wearer's feet. This personalized molding provides customized support and comfort, adapting to the individual's foot contours and distributing weight evenly.
- Eco-friendly and sustainable: Cork is a renewable and sustainable material. It is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees, which can be done without harming the trees. The process of cork production promotes biodiversity and supports ecosystems, making it an environmentally friendly choice.
So if you want to enjoy the feel of your shoes without feeling pain, thin cork insoles are the way to go. And when it comes to thin cork insoles, Primal Soles are simply the best bang for your buck. Because Primal Soles support you and the planet at the same time.
When you buy Primal Soles, you buy the only 100% recyclable cork insoles in the market in full 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 hiking, your insoles will wear out. But we’ll always be there, at the end of the trail, to give your feet the support they deserve.
So why not try Primal Soles. We make insoles for low arches 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.
Support nature. And let nature support you.