The number of technologies that are being used in shoes has increased over the past couple of decades. The use of memory foam in the inner soles of the shoes is a popular trend. The question that plagues most people’s minds is ‘What are the advantages of using memory foam?’.
To understand the advantages, one must first know a little more about the technology that is being used.
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is a substance that is made of polyurethane. There are a number of other chemicals that help add to its density. The foot molds itself to the contours of the material due to temperature sensitivity that the foam possesses.
Advantage of Using Memory Foam in Shoes
One of the main advantages of using memory foam is the even distribution of balance. While this helps provide a lot of comfort when used as a pillow or a mattress, you will find that it increases the comfort of the shoe too!
The memory foam is designed to ease the pressure that a runner feels on the ball of his foot. For that matter, everyone experiences this pressure even when walking. The intensity however is felt more when you run. In addition to this, the memory foam is also designed to absorb heel shock. Most manufacturers state that it also helps improve the stability of the shoe. This is why shoes with a memory foam insole are popular among people who suffer from foot pain.
Disadvantage of Using Memory Foam in Shoes
There a few disadvantages that memory foam insoles pose. One prominent one is the retention of body heat. Most sneakers are designed to be breathable. They are light and easy to use. Memory foam shoes however lack this ability.
Since the shoes do not have much of breathing space, the wearer tends to sweat. This makes the shoe feel particularly uncomfortable. To add insult to injury, the accumulation of sweat tends to give off a foul odor. Another unpleasant smell that is associated with memory foam is the off-gassing. New memory foam releases this odor. Experts advise airing the shoes before wearing them to deal with this.
Popularity of Memory Foam
Despite the drawbacks that memory foam possesses, the popularity of shoes with memory foam has steadily risen. The shoes seem to be more popular among individuals with foot problems like Plantar Fasciitis. Many experts advocate their use because they take away the stress from the plantar ligament.
Memory foam shoes are also popular among people whose jobs require long standing hours. Nurses, teachers, postmen etc all rank high on the list. Memory foam helps to take the stress of the feet and prevents pain.
The debate as to whether shoes which use memory foam are good or not continues till this day. A lot of people who have used these shoes can attest to the fact that they have helped them deal with pain. This is probably the base reason why the shoes have gained popularity. Since airing the shoes helps reduce the smell of new memory foam, most people choose to buy the shoes and deal with it.
For others memory foam either does not help to relieve their foot issues or it actually causes the the pain to worsen. So it works for some feet and not for others. But the memory foam shoes seem to be getting popular by the day.
Marilyn Grishman says
I am highly alergic to latex. Iwas instructed to carry self administered shots with me. After wearing sketchers for a whole day I had the same muscle cramps and bright red feet both at the same time as I had with latex. i returned I pair to the store but was stuck with the pair I wore.
You should warn people about the possibility of serious reactions to sketchers
I bought a pair of sketchers with memory foam. Thinking that once you take them off. That the memory foam went back to like new, before being stepped on. Well after wearing them for a week, l am not impressed. One shoe fits comfortably, the other feels in the ball of the right foot. I have tried insoles but then it makes the shoe tight. Makes me wish I bought cheap shoes at Walmart.
I had a similar experience with Sketchers memory foam. After loving them for several weeks I started to feel unbalanced in them and couldn’t seem to stand still in them. Then I googled them and found out why. No more memory foam for me! It seems the foam loses it’s memory after some time and causes all kinds of problems from minor to foot fracture. Also my feet didn’t feel comfortable without them which I found strange.
Beverly S says
I recently bought a pair of sketchers with memory foam. I love them except after wearing them consistently over several weeks, the balls of my feet are hurting. Could you please give some suggestions as to what this may be? They are otherwise comfortable.
My podiatrist reccomends NOT to wear memory foam as the uppers lack any lateral support too often. Would like to see a citation where you got your “doctors for memory foam” information. I’m sure some do but perhaps only when certain factors apply.
I tear out all the memory foam insoles. My feet start tingling when wearing these shoes. I am so tired of that material being in all the shoes.
There is no other choice left for comfortable shoes. I replace the insoles with insoles that I buy at Walgreens. I hope that we get away from that material. It is plastic.
Yvonne Dennis says
Memory foam does the same thing to my feet, tingly. I have neuropathy in my feet and makes if way worse. I thought I was the only person this happened too.
I work in retail and I am on my feet all day long. I’ve tried Memory foam sneakers a few times. After an hour or so, when the memory foam flattens out, my feet are in such pain! I would not recommend memory foam if you a job on which you are on your feet all day!
Thanks for the advice.
What’s the best hoes if u work in retail stores?
I developed plantar facitis from wearing memory foam shoes. The sad part is you can’t find shoes that do not have this garbage insole. I have been looking for shoes for months and sneakers, so far no luck. I need a wide especially in the front toe area. I hate anything memory foam, these days you can’t find anything that doesn’t have memory foam, pillows, cushions, back support
Everything. Who is the idiot who came up with this junk memory foam? Oh and yes, I have torn out the insole and replaced them. Sometimes it works but the shoes or sneakers are formed for the memory foam.
Try a shoe like the New Balance 840, 880 or the Brooks Ghost. All shoes are neautral in support, refrain from using memory foam, and the 840 features a wider toe-box, while the 880 and Ghost models feature a firmer support.
Eric j Lutz says
Agree, Sketchers used to be the best for plantar fascia until memory foam took over. My toes tingle and go to sleep within an hour.
I have found some alternatives.
I’ve had mixed results with memory foam shoes. They are more comfortable overall especially when you have bunions. However, standing on a hard concrete floor for very long in them seems to cause some soreness in my heels. Also, sometimes walking after standing for very long feels like walking on sand – as in unsure traction.
Memory foam is really great in easing the pain. The first day I put them It eased the pain and now when I walk with them I hardly feel any pain. I still cannot walk without them painless.
In addition to being hot, memory foam does not provide support for a long day of standing, walking, or anything else. I have one pair of memory foam shoes and one pair of “fresh foam” shoes. By the end of the day, my legs and feet are achy and tired. However, when I switch to my old shoes, I do not have the same ache in my legs and feet, despite the fact that my old shoes are worn to the point of having holes in the balls of the shoes.
Unless someone has a very specific problem with their feet (such as diabetics who need cushioning, even at the expense of support), I cannot imagine reputable podiatrists recommending memory foam in an all-day-wear, walking or running shoes. I, too, would like to see the credentials of the “doctors” referenced in this article.
Not only have I personally never heard anyone (from my sedentary mother to my marathon-running ex-sister-in-law) say they liked memory foam insoles, a sales rep at the store where I bought my last shoes, said one of the most common questions customers ask is “do you have anything without memory foam?”
The reason so many people buy soft-foam-insert shoes is simply because it has become almost impossible to find shoes without foam.
Memory foam house shoes are great on a cold day. Memory foam running or walking shoes are terrible.
I guess it depends on the person and the shoes you wear. I have plantar facitis, which was caused by years of on my feet. I tried expensive insoles and didn’t work. I ended up buying Sketchers D’lites and they work great on my feet. Even when I am home I will not walk barefoot in the house. I will but on my isotoner memory foam slippers. I think for now this will we work until I have to have surgery.
Kathy G says
I purchased Sketchers with memory foam and they were fine for a little while, then I started experiencing extreme leg cramps. I even went to the Doctor and had blood work done and they couldn’t find anything to cause the leg cramps, but I was being woke up every night with the muscles in both of my calves knotting up to the point I couldn’t move and I would have to wake my husband to push my foot forward until the cramp relaxed. I talked to one of the ladies at work who told me that both she and her husband had experienced leg cramps from memory foam shoes and they had both switched and the leg cramps stopped. Well, I decided not to wear the Sketchers this weekend and I did not experience leg cramps Saturday or Sunday night. So for those of you out there who may be having leg cramps and are wearing memory foam shoes, you may want to take them off for a few days and see if the leg cramps stop. Me, I’m throwing away the Sketchers when I get home this evening…..
Jackie Cheetham says
I bought Sketchers to help with Plantar fascitis – i was going on holiday and needed a quick fix. They worked perfectly and I wore them constantly. Then, after about two weeks I kept getting cramp in my feet and lower legs, especially at night. In light of what you’ve said I’m going to put them to one side for a few days to see if there’s a difference.
Janet Littleton says
I must wear memory foam in my shoes because i can’t wear a shoe that feelslike concrete and i hate walking like Frankenstein. Most new shoes are to hard for me. Even shoe inserts are super hard. My son worked in a shoe store and he’d have me try on shoes and tell him which shoes were the most comfortable. Those shoes he sold the most of. I have tender feet and ankles. You can put up with rock hard shoes. I can’t.
Jin Holly says
I tries 3 shoes with memory foam insoles, all of them cause pain in my feet, and worse on the left foot I don;t know why. My doctor told me harder insoles are much more comfortable for majority of people.
MG Kapoor says
Today I got Dr Scholl’s men’s sandals of Bata brand through Amazon. They had memory foam. No sooner did I wear than I started having burning sensation in the soles of my feet. I removed the sandals and wore the old sandals. The burning sensation was gone. I saw the review in respect of same sandals and I found similar complaint from another customer. Hence a search on Google. I have shoes with memory foam. I got similar burning sensation from them too, but wasn’t able to figure it out. Also sought doctor advice qua the burning sensation. But no doctor could figure out the reason. I am lucky to have bought these sandals that have ultimately given the diagnosis of the burning sensation in the soles of my feet. This needs to be further researched and if memory foam is bad, it must be banned for use in the footwear. I have since asked for return of the sandals. So try and avoid footwear that have memory foam.
D. Bethune says
Sounds like the memory foam is not so popular with everyone. I’m with you. I bought a new pair of slip-on house shoes in early May 2021. This the first week of June and the memory foam is flat, flat!! No cushion, no comfort! And I only wear them a few hours in the evenings, not all day long! I, too, wish shoe manufacturers would find something better, something that holds the cushioning for a long time, and get rid of the memory foam.
I find that wearing memory form help with my foot pain. It helps with shock resistant. However. I just discovered. I can not wear them form a long periods of the day. Within a 8-hour day work day I have to alternate from memory foam to just regular hard shoes. Sometimes you have to try a mixture of both hard and soft.
Along with soaking my feet and feet massage the whole regimen taking pain pills and all not one thing makes it okay