Insoles (or orthotics, to use the technical term) are padded or cushioned inserts that fit inside your shoe (or both shoes) to bring extra comfort. But the comfort doesn't just apply to your feet – if you have a problem with your feet, it can often manifest itself in heel pain or trouble with ankles, calves, pelvis and even your back, and the right insoles can help more than you might expect.
We have to point out a very important fact before we continue. Problems with your feet, such as flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or pain higher up your legs or back, are not things you can diagnose yourself. If you're suffering any such pain, it's important that you see your doctor or a chemist, who might refer you to a foot care specialist, known as a podiatrist, to diagnose the problem properly.
Left to your own devices, you might try shoe insoles that make the problem worse, for example, arch support insoles when the problem is with your heel. It might even turn out that the problem isn't with your feet, but with your shoes. In the UK, podiatry consultations are free on the NHS, and your occupational insurance should cover it too – it's not an uncommon complaint.