If you have ever considered insoles for your running shoes, here’s a product that might work for you. It really just depends on what problem you’re trying to address and how much money you want to throw at it. I had a painful bout of plantar fasciitis years ago and decided to pay $200 for custom orthotics which I ordered from my physical therapist. If SOLE custom footbeds were around back then, I might have tried this product first.
These products serve to correct leg and knee alignment in repetitive sports like running and cycling. Arch support in the foot influences the ankle, then the knees, hips, and lower back. A well-engineered footbed assists the muscles in maintaining the anatomical position of the arch, preventing problems in other areas.
SOLE Custom Footbeds has six heat-moldable insole types, with models made to provide arch support, better heel cup fit, extra padding, added volume, and sweat wicking. These custom footbeds are clearly better than standard insoles simply because they can be molded to the contour of each foot. They are molded by baking them in your oven at exactly 200° F for two minutes. The size 12 insert was exactly the same size as my orthotics which I wear in a size 12.5 running shoe. It took a full five minutes in my oven before the patch went from silver to black, indicating they were ready to be molded in my shoes. I placed them in my shoes, stepped in and laced up. They hold their shape within two minutes.
I found the fit most noticeable in the arch and heel areas. I guess that’s where they’re supposed to work, but I found the fit a little less comfortable than my orthotics. The orthotics are made from a mold of your foot so they should fit better than any heat molded footbed. I know some people swear by their orthotics and others have not had success with orthotics and wouldn’t walk to their mailbox without SOLE footbeds.
It’s hard to really know how well the products are working until you can put some miles in them under different conditions but I’ll admit I’m still a bit of a skeptic. Maybe it’s because I’ve been paying for expensive orthotics for years which I replace every two years and I need to justify my investment. I recently switched from a stability shoe to a neutral running shoe–the Asics Landreth. I realized I had too much support with the previous shoe/insert combination. The Landreth allows the orthotic to do it’s job and I’m never been more comfortable running. I also prefer not to mess with success. I haven’t had a significant running injury since I started wearing the orthotics, so I’m not inclined to change just because I found a cheaper alternative. However, I’m going to try the SOLE in my Vasque trail shoes. I wear trail shoes a half size larger than my running shoes and Vasque tends to run a bit large, so my orthotics are a tiny bit loose in my trail shoes. I’m also going to try the cool looking SOLE platinum sandals for my next pair of sandals.
If you’re considering a less expensive alternative and you don’t necessarily need the stability of a rigid orthotic, this product is a great althernative. Prices on the SOLE web site range from $34.95 for a light weight model to $49.95 for the signature editions with double the amount of cushioning. I tried the mid-range “Softec regular” size. They claim to last for at least one year under normal use conditions and can be re-molded up to five times before they lost their supportive shape. They can also be used without molding them, especially if you require the maximum amount of support. They only come in full sizes, so if you’re between sizes, order the next size up and always trim from the toe area. The manufacturer provides an “ulitmate fit money back guarantee.” If you are not satisfied, you can return them within 90 days for a replacement or refund.