When it comes to the feet, there are a lot of things that can cause aches and pains. One such trouble spot in the foot is the heel. This area is ripe with all kinds of pitfalls. From plantar fasciitis to stress fractures and even pinched nerves, there is a whole lot that can go wrong in this seemingly small area. It’s the intersection of a lot of bones, nerves, muscles, and ligaments, and because of that, it becomes an area where a lot of people- whether you be active or inactive- can develop lingering issues. Today, we are going to be looking at some ways for you to put an end to that pain, chiefly by giving you a buying guide on the best heel cups on the market. We’ll break down all you need to know about them so that you’ll be ready to get to feeling better. So, let’s get you one step closer to that relief and get going!
Top Heel Cups Comparison Chart
|Product||Feature||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. Brison Breathable Gel Heel Cups||Breathable heel cushions||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|2. MIUSSAA Anti Slip Gel Heel Cups||Anti-slip||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|3. KidSole Sport Traction Lightweight Gel Heel Cups||Shock absorption||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|4. KidSole Gel Heel Strap Sports Sock||Double layered cotton||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|5. Heel That Pain Plantar Fasciitis Heel Seats||Firmest inserts||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|6. Tuli’s Heavy Duty Gel Heel Cups||Shock absorption||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|7. ViveSole Silicone Gel Heel Cups||Shock absorption||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|8. Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Heel Cushions||Shock absorption||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|9. Pnrskter 3 Pair Gel Heel Cups||Stretchable & durable||$||Check Price On Amazon|
Heel Cups Buying Guide
What’s a Heel Cup
First and foremost, it would be nice to talk about what a heel cup is. A heel cup is a piece of material that you fit into your shoes to amplify the effect that the footwear is supposed to give you. By working in tandem with decent footwear, it is hoped that your condition, whatever it is, will be able to be improved upon. At the very least, a heel cup is going to be something that you can count on to give you some relief. It won’t hurt like Hades, hopefully, while you are wearing one, even if it doesn’t just fix your issue overnight. There are all sorts of approaches that heel cups can make to help you. Some of them are going to be less aggressive with this endeavor than others are, so it’s just going to depend on what you ultimately decide to go with and what you don’t.
Causes of Heel Pain
We’d be totally remiss to look over the things that can cause your pain to occur. After all, that’s really why you are here. If you didn’t have some sort of problem in the heels, then you would not need a heel cup. Most people don’t just try and cut off the possibility of pain before it exists by taking preventative measures. That would be too costly and it would be unnecessary in so many cases. At any rate, let’s take a look at some of the central causes of heel pain so that you can hopefully start to get some relief.
One of the biggest causes of pain in the heels is going to be that of plantar fasciitis. This is a type of pain that is not only chronic in some cases but is also annoying. Plantar fasciitis, it is believed by some, is not something that ever truly goes away. It can be treated, but if you wear improper footwear or overwork yourself, it can rear up its ugly head in quick fashion. Those who have flat feet are especially prone to this, and the best way to stop it from occurring is to wear good, supportive shoes. Unfortunately, stuff happens and this is not always possible. The condition can be caused from running, working out, and all kinds of other sports, particularly ones where you do the same motions time and time again. This is very taxing to the body, so it’s easy to see why this can occur.
We have all heard, or you probably have heard, of bone spurs before, but it’s something that doesn’t really compute for some reason. At least it doesn’t in ours, so we’re going to give a better description. This, at its root, is caused by the existence of calcium in the heel bone. Oftentimes, this does not lead to any negative symptoms, but for those times when it does it can be especially painful to deal with. Most often, this crippling condition is caused by strains in foot muscles and tendons of athletes. Running and jumping are the two main causes of heel spurs, but they are not the only things that can cause them. Being overweight has been shown to be one cause, while those that have either ‘special’ arches (flat feet or high arches) are also prone to developing them as well.
Bursitis is a condition that can occur in a few places in the body, including your elbows as well. Bursitis is literally when your bursa (which as sacs that have fluid in them near joints) become swollen. This inflammation, as with many types of inflammation, can lead to a lot of pain. It can be a burning, tingling feeling that can be very off-putting, especially for the first time, so it’s not something many would volunteer to deal with. The unfortunate thing with bursitis is that it’s very much akin to plantar fasciitis, making it hard to discern which of the two you indeed have. While activity can cause it, it’s also going to have a lot to do with your genetics, in this case. Shoes that cut and scrape the heels can also contribute to this, leading to us to call for properly fitting shoes all the more as a result.
While those are the chief ‘big’ culprits, there are still other issues that can arise and inflict its toll upon you, too. It’d be wrong of us to glance totally over them, but we also don’t want to solely talk about foot pain, either. Stress fractures are one potential cause of heel pain. Stress fractures, as you can probably guess, happen over time and result from constant use of a certain part of the body via a motion that is the same time and time again. This is very prevalent in basketball due to the jumping and for runners as well. There is a condition called ‘tarsal tunnel’ syndrome that you should also know about. Think about carpal tunnel in the hand and wrist area, and that’s the foot equivalent, basically. It’s a nerve in the back portion of the foot that get compressed and causes pain. Then you’ve got other issues. You can simply just not have enough cushioning, perhaps due to having flat feet, or just due to preference. That can cause aches and pains, even if it’s nothing lasting and long term. Tendinitis is another one. That occurs as you age usually, or after you have taxed your body over and over again. There are just so many possible causes really.
Features a Heel Cup Need
All heel cups are not going to be the same, as we can tell from the above section of our guide. That’s because there are various conditions that you could be dealing with. With that said, there are still some common things that need to be found in all good heel cups, so we will take a general look at those here in order to help you identify which is better for you and which you don’t want.
One of the main things that any foot insert is going to bring to the table, or at least should, is a good level of shock absorption. If a pair of shoes do not have shock absorbing qualities to them, then your best bet is to turn to a pair of inserts that bring that to the table. The same needs to be said of a heel cup. If a heel cup does not give you feet the chance to let that excess energy out a little bit, then you will find yourself in serious jeopardy. The best way to look and see if a heel cup or pad has this feature is to look and see what kind of design they are made into. If there are waffles, or something similar, you’re probably in pretty good shape!
While cushioning seems like it would be high on the list, you should keep in mind that it is not the end all with heel cups. Remember, a heel cup is different than an ordinary insert. It won’t be placed in the balls of the feet or at the toes, hence the name. It will be at the heels only, meaning that it’s not super useful to have a ton of cushioning in that spot alone. Cushioning, though, is still quite useful to you because it gives you a way to have more comfort as you walk or run. For many that have chosen shoes that are just not comfortable to them, this can be more than enough for them to have. Cushioning is the lowest common denominator, so don’t find yourself settling for a heel cup that has it because that’s the very least you should be asking of one.
One of the main things you may need to do is to address the way in which you walk and run. Your style of walking, or the pattern in which you do it is called your ‘gait.’ Your gait can be the cause of many of the conditions we talked about earlier, helping lead to the pain you find yourself in. Sometimes our own bodies betray us, as we just get used to doing things a certain way. Sometimes our footwear causes our gait to change and become unhealthy, though this is not something that is likely to happen unless you persistently wear poor footwear. At any rate, some heel cups, and definitely other orthotics and inserts, are going to work to help you correct your alignment issues. Things like pronation and supination can be fixed little by little by helping hold your ankles in and keeping them from turning one way or another. This can stop any further problems from developing, so you might find them very useful to have handy.
Other Things to Consider
There are still other features that can also play a role in usefulness of a heel cup, so it’s going to be wise of us to take a closer look at those here below. These things are not essential, but they can be big nonetheless and can sometimes steer you either toward or away from a particular pair of heel cups.
Just like with your shoes, you need to have a pair of heel cups that fit you. If they don’t stay in place well, due to slipping, then you’re not going to get a ton of positives from them at all. You also need to think about how well they conform to your foot. You don’t expect a cheaper priced one to be like you are walking on cloud nine, but you also would like to see a bit of flexibility and maybe some ability to mold the material to fit to you. Some offer this by allowing you to submerge the cups in water to better match your feet.
Another thing you have to think about is whether or not the heel cups are going to be conducive to being worn. Sometimes you will encounter something that feels and looks great, but when you get it on you just go ‘oh.’ If you are too hot due to the material not breathing, this can occur. While shoes do go a long way in deciding this, some of the heel pads and cups will just be better than others. You will want to look for gel ones if you want this, since they are cooling and naturally breathe a bit better. You might also want to look for a heel cup that has the ability to rid you of bacteria and fungi. If you find a pair of them with this, then you will no longer have to worry about potentially smelling poorly since you will have that working to prevent those from building up and causing the odor.
Last but not least, we should talk about the price. The overall price you pay is going to vary depending on what you end up going with. The brand is going to have a say in this, though you don’t always see the brand determining the price. For example, most of us know Dr. Scholl’s but you might be surprised that they have some of the lowest prices out there. It’s just their model and way of doing things. As it relates to price, you usually are going to be getting more quality and more durability with a higher priced option. This is not a guarantee by any means, but there is a decent chance at this. With that said, you can find some awesome deals online and might have a great, cheap pair fall into your lap unexpectedly. By the same token, you can also end up with a ‘dud’ when you purchase a more expensive offering, too.
The Top Nine Heel Cups of 2019 Reviews
Brison Breathable Gel Heel Cups
Our first offering on the list today is one that is going to help anyone that is active stay on the move and do so more comfortably. These heel cups are reusable and super breathable, thanks to the use of gel, and will be able to help you take those hard, consistent shocks time and time again. Best used for heel spurs and other pains associated with the area as well, these are made with a soft elastic fabric that makes them much more comfortable than many of the gel-only items that are available on the market. This is one of the reasons so many people love them and that they have risen to take the top spot. Another reason is that they fit everyone and all kinds of shoes, making them ideal to get you on your feet and keep you moving forward.
- Comfy thanks to fabric
- Gel pad disperses pressure evenly
- Very breathable choice
MIUSSAA Anti Slip Gel Heel Cups
Coming in at second place is a more traditional, literal gel cup in the form of this type. However, unlike a lot of the inferior heel cups out there, you will not have to worry about these slipping. These all gel cups are made to be super cooling and relaxing to you, all the while helping you eradicate all of that pain that you are sick of dealing with. In addition to being able to help with the conditions we talked about earlier, these are also effective at dealing with blisters and calluses, too, which is another plus to make note of if you suffer from those. Made from medical grade silicone, these have shown a very resilient nature and ability to hold up under constant use, making them something you will want to take a look at if you need something to depend on a lot.
- Cools and soothes
- Stays in place without sliding
- Very durable and resilient
KidSole Sport Traction Lightweight Gel Heel Cups
One of the worst things you can encounter is seeing a child in pain, and this offering goes a long way toward helping getting rid of that. These gel cups are different from many out there that are made for adults because they are much less aggressive. They don’t have a ridiculous amount of thickness to them like so many for ‘older’ folks, and because of that, they cause much less trouble for kids and are also lighter for them to wear. All the while, they are doing the job of giving them a bit more support and protection and ensuring they don’t come home from school hurting as badly as they used to. The bottom of the pad is one area they have done extremely well with. It has extreme traction to ensure that no child slips while wearing them, meaning they will not be made uncomfortable while trying to correct the problems they once had!
- Tailored just for kids
- Won’t slip and slide around
- Not overly thick or heavy
KidSole Gel Heel Strap Sports Sock
If you need to go a little above and beyond that, then there is a further choice from the same company here in this gel ‘sock.’ While this is a bit different than the gel pad or cup, it’s in the same genre and is generally trying to accomplish the same thing. These are going to wrap around the heels, much like a sock does, to give more support than you would normally get. Rather than having to change out the pads and place them in shoes, you can just go with this option to save time and trouble. Inside the sock is gel to help reduce pain, all while keeping you cooler thanks to mesh being used all over to let air in and out. These are perfect for any kids that are on the go constantly and have experienced pain before, even if it does seem to be a little overkill at first glance.
- Easier to switch from shoe to shoe
- Very breathable design
- Double layered cotton strengthens
Heel That Pain Plantar Fasciitis Heel Seats
Up next is a pair of heel ‘seats’ that don’t have quite as much of a ‘cup’ to them yet still qualify for this due to their useful nature. Made to help combat a number of the ailments we discussed earlier, these pads are made to do so by applying what they call ‘acupressure’ to the heel, which allows for a gradual easing of the condition. On top of that, they have 360-degree motion control that will help you to improve your posture as you walk, something else that can help you from getting more negatives that could cause heel pain. These are extra firm, so they do take a more aggressive approach than many out there do or are capable. This gives you more firmness and support through maximum pressure. The only downside to these is their price, which is the highest on the list.
- 360-degree motion control
- Very firm and supportive
- Gradually ease pain
- Pricey for heel cups
Tuli’s Heavy Duty Gel Heel Cups
With a patented waffle design to them, it’s easy to see why Tuli’s is one of the most trusted names in the game of heel cups. These cups are made with raising the heel bone in mind, providing it cushioning while getting it off the ground and avoiding big pains from setting in and running their course. With the waffle beneath, you get a ton of shock absorbency, helping to not only aid in the heels but also taking pressure off the knees, hips, and so on as well. Their gel comes in at a lighter weight and is also softer than many of the others, giving you a nice low profile despite being very resilient. If you are unsure about this approach to the market, then you can rest assured. They have a lifetime warranty attached to them, driving up your confidence tremendously in them.
- Waffles absorbs shocks
- Light and soft yet resilient
- Lifetime warranty offer
ViveSole Silicone Gel Heel Cups
If you are looking for a low cost way to curb some of the heel pain you are dealing with, then look no further than these gel cups. These cups are going to be cooling and breathable due to being all gel, but they also have shown to be effective at absorbing shocks to help reduce tension and stress throughout the feet and ankles. With a self adhesive to them, you can count on them staying in place, though you will not find them to be all that great if you have multiple pairs of shoes. That’s a bit of a downer, or could be for you. Apart from that, they are made without latex to ensure that you won’t have any issues if you are allergic to that. With a 60-day guarantee after the point of purchase, you also get some protection and the chance to get your money back if you don’t like how you feel.
- Won’t budge inside your shoes
- Breathes and cools
- 60-day guarantee
- Not very conducive to multiple pairs
Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Heel Cushions
Coming in at a very low price point, we have this offering from Dr. Scholl’s. With them, it can be very hit and miss. Some people are huge fans, while others don’t like them as much, so you have to weigh it yourself. At any rate, these heel cushions are made more for those that need help with low to moderate levels of pain in the heels. These are more for people who are on their feet all day and just want a bit more support than they are getting from your shoes. If you go with them for that purpose, you will be doing yourself well. They would be better than nothing if you had to use them, but if you have plantar fasciitis there will be better choices. With a fit that requires no trimming from you and a money back guarantee as well, you will be able to get lasting protection.
- Very low price
- Great for minor niggles
- No trimming or work needed
- Not the best for heavy duty issues
Pnrskter 3 Pair Gel Heel Cups
If quantity is what you are looking for, then this is the way to go. As far as value goes, it’s even higher on the charts than the Dr. Scholl’s is per cup. With that said, you are going to be getting a gel design with soft fabric that will keep you moderately happy for a while yet. These are easy to wash and are fairly durable, though they are not the best things in the world if you are dealing with extreme pain. These are a good choice for someone looking to manage minor pain or the possibility of it, more than anything above. They are easy to use, as they are one size fits all, and they are made to help reduce odors as well, which is a nice touch to have added to them. They are tough to get to stay on, requiring shoe gymnastics each time you wear them, but other than that they fight well above their weight and do a good job relatively speaking.
- Fits all wet due to surprising stretch
- Extreme value
- Durable and an easy wash
- Not the utmost in quality, to be fair
Conclusion And Final Heel Cups Recommendations
Finding anything online in 2019 isn’t as simple as it might seem at first glance. Sure, you’ve got a multitude of options to pick from. But that in and of itself only serves to hamper many people’s ability to discern the good from the great and the bad from the good. After our buying guide and our reviews today, however, you will have a much better understanding of where to go. Heel pain is not something to be overlooked. Whether it’s indeed a chronic issue or just something that you are dealing with for the moment, you need to get that taken care of. One of the best ways to bring you relief is to use a heel cup, and now you’ll be armed (footed?) with the best information available!
FAQ’s About Heel Cups
How Long Will Heel Cups Last?
The durability of a heel cup is going to depend on a number of factors. The brand that makes it, the quality of the materials, the method of construction used to make them, and the price can all contribute to how long- or short- a pair of heel cups last. The amount of time you use them is also going to have a big say. If you wear them 16 hours a day for months, they will wear out faster than someone that uses them more occasionally. Taking care of them by following instructions given to you will also help give you a longer lifespan of use. Generally speaking, you don’t want to have a pair of them after you have replaced the shoes they were in. That’s usually a good time to make a call the proverbial bullpen.