Travel Comfort Tip: Gel Soles

a close-up of a shoe brushEver since I can remember, I have been in love with shoes. Throughout junior high and high school, my mom would constantly get on to me about my extensive shoe collection. In college, my roommates were aghast at the precarious mountain of shoes in my closet. And one of the ways in which I knew the Home Warrior was The One (besides how much he loves his dog) is that when he saw my extensive shoe organizing system, he didn’t bat an eye. True love. However, as much as I love shoes, as a general rule I don’t wear heels. Why would a self-avowed shoe fanatic separate herself from the vast majority of fabulous footwear? you ask. About six years ago I fell and sprained my right knee and ankle, and ever since have had some real balance issues. As in, falling on a regular basis with no apparent reason. So, despite my bottomless well of passion, no heels for me. Combine balance issues with constant travel and a lot of work presentations, and you’ve got a girl who has learned to appreciate flats. In fact, I would say that I love flats-cute ones, that is. And contrary to popular opinion, there are a zillion pairs of cute flats out there. Pointy, ballet, peep-toe, simple, bejeweled…. Virtually everywhere you go there is a cute pair of flats waiting for you.

Unfortunately, cute doesn’t necessarily mean comfortable. It baffles me that so many of these shoes, specifically designed to be comfortable, hurt to wear. People buy flats in order to be on their feet for long periods of time, yet shoe manufacturers insist on making adorable ballet flats with absolutely no support. Or they make fabulous jeweled pointy-toed flats with a paper-thin sole. I wore one of these so-called comfortable shoes last week, and could literally feel every rock on the sidewalk on my feet. After complaining to Home Warrior that I don’t care how cute they were, I am throwing these <expletive deleted> shoes away as soon as we get home, he said something so smart. “Why don’t you put some of those gel soles in it? They made my dress shoes way better.” The man is brilliant.

Gel soles are awesome. They are a girl’s best friend, a traveler’s best friend, a presenter’s best friend. Whether you are male or female, wear heels or flats, a home warrior or a road warrior. If you have a pair of shoes that you like, but doesn’t have enough support or cushioning on the bottom, add some gel inserts. There are a ton of varieties that range from padding under the toe to a little extra cushion throughout the foot to full-on arch support. They come in a range of prices, and are available everywhere from shoe stores to Walgreens to Target. My favorites are the classics from Dr. Scholl’s, the “For Her Comfort Insoles”. They are around $12, fit in most shoes, and have saved many a pair of shoes from getting thrown out.

So the next time you wish your shoes were just a little more comfortable, try gel insoles! Trust me, your feet will thank you.


  1. I have a pair of Skechers that I adore but my foot used to slide around in it, ending up with blisters on the souls of my feet! Now I have a “ball of foot” gel pad in there & it’s FANTASTIC! No more blisters & very comfortable.

  2. I think that TSA prohibits the kind that actually have liquid in them – they tend to be the blue ones. The ones that are really soft and flexible rubber are okay.

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