Do Shoe Insoles Make You Taller?

If you’ve gone through life with a vertical deficiency, you’re often left wondering what it would be like to see the world from a higher perspective. You can’t help thinking extra height will give you confidence, maybe even make you more attractive to the opposite sex. So, in your search for a taste of the high-life, you’re wondering if shoe insoles are the answer.

Shoe insoles make you taller if you buy the right type. Standard insoles for adding cushioning, providing support or warmth, won’t add inches. Insoles that make you taller have a distinctive wedge to lift your heel; some have extra attachments that you can add to the base height if desired.

Before you begin your ascent to new heights, check out the rest of this article, as there are some things you might want to consider first.

What Are Shoe Insoles?

Standard Shoe Insoles

Insoles are an integral part of most shoes. They’re the layer of material that your foot sits on when you wear the shoe. The purpose is usually to add a degree of comfort.

In most shoes, the built-in insole is removable, and you can replace it with another insole. You’ve probably bought replacement insoles yourself. They can serve several different purposes, including buying insoles to help with plantar fasciitis issues.

You may have used them to increase the comfort of the shoe beyond that provided by the built-in insole, often by giving more support.

Or maybe you’ve used them to improve the fit of your shoe or provide a thermal barrier to keep your feet warm in the winter. They can also offer support and correct posture.

But that’s not what you need. Those types of shoe insoles aren’t going to affect your height because that’s not their purpose.

Shoe Insole Height Testing

Shoe Lift Insoles

We’re talking about an insole designed to increase your height. These types of insoles are commonly called shoe lifts. That’s a bit misleading when you think about it, because it’s not lifting the shoe, it’s lifting you.

According to a 2018 report, average heights in US males was 5’9’’ (175.4cm), and just under 5’4’’ (161.5cm) for women.

Given the way we perceive height, it’s little wonder that if you fall short of the average, you want to do something about it. Shoe lift insoles could be the answer.

How Do Shoe Lift Insoles Work?

Shoe lift insoles are essentially wedges that you put inside your shoe. Think of them as internal heels.

They can either be a partial or a full shoe length. The wedge section is at the heel end of the shoe, so that’s where the lift part comes in.

If the shoe insole is full-length, there isn’t usually any additional height added under the sole of your foot. That part of the insole is often to provide extra cushioning to help with comfort.

Many are adjustable in that they come with detachable modules. So, you add or remove modules, depending on the amount of lift you want.

An example of an adjustable full-length shoe lift insole is the ERGOfoot 3-Layer Height Increase Insole (Link to Amazon). It advertises height uplifts of between 1.2’ (3cm) and 3.5’ (9cm).

Well, it seems pretty straightforward. Shoe lift insoles are a discreet way to make you taller. But, there are things you might want to watch out for.

What to Look for With Shoe Lift Insoles

There are several things to consider when using shoe insoles to increase your height. These include advertised vs actual height, compatibility with shoe type, and usability.

The Advertised Height Uplift Isn’t Always What You’ll Get

If you’re excited about the thought of adding 3.5’’ (9cm) to height, take a step back. Or, in this case, down.

Because, to provide comfort, the heel section of the shoe insole needs to have a bit of space in it. It wouldn’t be much fun walking around on a solid block. Just ask anyone who has worn heels for an extended period of time!

Many shoe lift insoles incorporate a gel disc in the heel to provide cushioning, like shock absorbers. The advertised height of the lift is taken at the back of the heel, when not compressed.

When you put your weight on the heel, the gel disc will do its job, and it’s pressed downwards, reducing the overall height increase.

So, as a rough guide only, this is what you might expect:

Advertised Height GainActual Height Gain
1.2’’ (3cm)About ¾ (1.8cm)
1⅞’’ (5cm)About 1.06’’ (2.7cm)
2.5’’ (6.5cm)About 1.42’’ (3.6cm)
3’’ (8cm)1.7’’ (4.3cm)
Shoe Lift Insoles Advertised v Actual Height

The figures may vary depending on the type of insole and it’s construction. But it gives you a reasonable idea of what you can expect compared to the advertised height boost.

Now you know what to take it into account when deciding on the height of the shoe lift insole you buy. Always make sure to adjust your expectations accordingly.

Look at it as the price you have to pay for comfort, which increases the time you’re able to spend walking tall.

You May Not Be Able to Use Shoe Lift Insoles With All Your Shoes

Your Shoes May No Longer Fit

If you’re using full-length shoe lift insoles in particular, you might find that your shoes will feel tighter than usual. They may be uncomfortable to wear, and some may no longer fit at all.

That’s because the insole reduces the space in the shoe and acts like an insole you’d buy to enable you to wear slightly bigger shoes. So, if you want to use shoe lift insoles, you may need to buy the next shoe size up.

You might have a similar problem with shoes with zippers. The closure isn’t adjustable, so you may struggle to do up the zip when you use the shoe insoles.

Generally, shoe lift insoles will work better with lace-ups because they’ll give extra flexibility.

Your Foot May Slip Out of Your Shoe

Another issue is one that may limit your choice of shoes when wearing shoe lift insoles. That’s because the insole raises the height of the heel area in the footwear.

So, if it’s elevated too much, your foot will be prone to popping out of your shoe. You may find yourself trying to avoid this by clawing your toes to retain a grip on the shoe. That’s not good in the long term.

It won’t be easy to tell if this is a problem just by looking at the insole once you’ve put it in your shoe. You’ll need to try the shoe on, because of that compression thing we mentioned earlier. The heel end will compress under your weight, and this may reduce your foot’s height to a low enough level to sit back nicely in your shoe.

But, especially if you want to use larger lifts, you might be better off buying boots or shoes with high backs. You may also find these insoles aren’t suitable for slip-on shoes.


There are shoe insoles out there that will make you taller.

There are some potential issues with them. But, they’re a quick and inexpensive fix if you’re looking for a discreet way to gain a few inches and boost your confidence.

So, walk tall, but watch out for low doorways and ceilings.

Kate Edison

My name is Kate, and I created FootwearDynamics to provide information and guidance on problem feet as well as the struggles that arise from having common foot issues. Since experiencing my own difficulties, I’ve decided to share my knowledge with you in the hopes that you’re journey to happy, healthier feet can be less troublesome and quicker to figure out than most.

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