Review – SOLE Softec Response Footbeds

At the moment, I’ve got 7 pairs of running trainers. Yep…..7. They’ve all got different profiles, some of them I like more than others and some of them serve completely different purposes.
The only thing they have in common is that none of them give me any injury worries.

With this knowledge, I came to the conclusion that my legs and feet are pretty robust and so when I was offered the chance to try out these SOLE Footbeds, I said yes. I did have concerns at first that I was tempting fate by changing something in my shoes, but the fact that I seem fairly comfortable moving between different stack heights/heel-toe drops/different levels of support etc was enough to satisfy me that a moulded insole would be fine.
SOLE produce orthotic inserts, sandals & socks all designed to improve weight distribution across the foot by providing support where its needed.

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SOLE Softec Response Footbed
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Research showing pressure points whilst wearing orthotic

I understand that some running shops (Sweatshop for one) offer a service in-store where they do a 3D scan of your foot and heat-mould insoles for you if you want them. However, as they are a retail store, like any other, I’d always bear in mind that they are probably set targets on how many of these they need to sell every day and that you, the lucky customer, may not actually need them. Its also useful to know that you can simply buy the insoles yourself and mould them to fit using your oven at home.

So….lets say you’ve been to your running store, and you know you need some support in your shoe. And for whatever reason, there’s not a shoe that will provide it on its own, so you have a pair of insoles to help provide the support you need. Insoles can open up a whole range of neutral shoes to you which may provide better fit overall depending on the brand/style. Insoles could also supply the support in lightweight racing shoes, I can see why there’s a market for these things.

But what happens when you’re buying your shoes online? It can be a bit of a minefield… neutral/cushioned/support/control/racing blah blah blah. If you know your feet require a certain type of support then insoles could well be the way forward for you, giving you a bit more freedom to choose the shoe you like, rather than the shoe they say you need. Safe in the knowledge that when your shoes arrive, you can slip your insoles in and your arches will instantly love them.

And so we come to the product I have in my hand. The SOLE Softec Response Footbed (£38 straight from the manufacturers website). I’ve chosen my shoe, the Inov-8 X-Talons (chosen because on harder terrain, the studs tend to make them quite uncomfortable, I’m hoping that these footbeds might provide a little more protection)

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First things first – I need to mould them to my foot shape. I’m going for the heat method because I like warm feet.

Step 1: Remove the standard insoles from the shoes and cut the SOLE ones to match so they’ll fit inside your shoe. Pretty easy so far.

Step 2: Place SOLE footbeds in the oven at 200 degrees for 3 mins.

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Step 3: Insert into each shoe taking care that they don’t scrunch up.

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Step 4: put feet in shoes and stand in them allowing the footbeds to mould around the foot where it needs support. This takes about 3 minutes and don’t worry, they don’t burn your feet!

And thats it. Ready to go.

Which is exactly what I did next, I took them out for a 14 mile spin on the south downs. The route was made up of thick mud, puddles, hard packed limestone, tarmac, gravel and grass. A thoroughly enjoyable run on almost every terrain possible.

And how do I rate them?

Well, I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know they were there. My shoes felt snug around the ankle and midfoot but with enough space for my toes to move around still. I can only see this as a good sign. I don’t think they altered my foot position at all, I certainly didn’t have any trouble during the run, and no aches, pains or tenderness afterwards.
I’ll be keeping these in my shoes as that little extra arch support could be beneficial during a longer run, and they did indeed help with the feeling of the lugs coming through the underside of the shoe.
I think the fact that these are heat moulded to your feet whilst you stand in the shoes you’ll be wearing them in, means that its hard to go wrong, they’ll only provide as much support as your foot requires.

I don’t know how long these things last, I imagine they have a limited lifespan though, just like the cushioning inside your shoes so you’d probably need to replace them each time you change your trainers.

All of the above is my opinion. Take it with a pinch of salt. I’m the sort of person that finds reading peoples experiences and opinions helpful, even persuasive when it comes to making purchases and I hope that one way or another, these words might help you if you’re weighing it up.

To keep you fully informed, and in case I missed anything this bit comes straight from the manufacturers website:

BENEFITS

  • Custom orthopedic support
  • Equalized pressure distribution
  • Reduced plantar fascia strain
  • Increased balance and feel
  • Improved natural heel cushioning

“Through an ongoing partnership with Dr. Reed Ferber and the Running Injury Clinic, we’ve been able to help fund studies of the effectiveness of insoles on injury prevention and performance.

We found that SOLE Custom Footbeds reduce plantar fascia strain by up to 34% — a one third reduction! Reduced strain not only alleviates current pain but is also effective at preventing future pain.”

WEIGHT(half pair)

  • Men’s 10 – 69.5g (approx.)
  • Women’s 7 – 51.6g (approx.)

DIMENSIONS
Width – Forefoot (approx.)

  • Men’s 10 – 98mm
  • Women’s 7 – 87mm

Length – Heel to toe (approx.)

  • Men’s 10 – 290mm
  • Women’s 7 – 245mm

 

Update: I’ve worn these on several runs now and I’m still comfortable & injury free. Thumbs Up!

 

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