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Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > SOLE Active Footbed > Test Report by Alyssa Kimber

SOLE Active Thick Footbeds

Test Series by Alyssa Kimber

Initial Report - March 26, 2019

Tester Information
Name: Alyssa Kimber
Age: 25
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 10" (1.8 Meters)
Weight: 130 Pounds (59 Kilograms)
Email address: alyssakimber at hotmail dot com
City, Province, Country: Fernie, British Columbia, Canada

Backpacking Background: I started backpacking two years ago after moving from the prairies to the Kootenay region of British Columbia. I’m relatively new to backpacking but I have significant outdoors experience having enjoyed camping and day hiking for many years. My trip length is generally one to three nights and ranges from prairie hikes to mountainous terrain. I am a 4-season hiker and typically a 3-season backpacker. My pack weight varies depending on the trip, but I tend to sacrifice weight savings for comfort.

Initial Report

March 26, 2019

Product Information & Specifications
Manufacturer: Sole
Year of manufacture: 2019
Manufacturer website: https://yoursole.com

Manufacturer's listed specifications:
  • Sizes available: Women's size 5-19, Men's size 3-17
  • Width - Forefoot (approx.)
    Men's 10 - 98mm (3.9 in)
    Women's 7 - 87mm (3.4 in)
  • Length - Heel to toe (approx.)
    Men's 10 - 290mm (11.4 in)
    Women's 7 - 245mm (9.6 in)
  • Available Colours: Black
  • MSRP from website: $55 CAD ($49 USD)
Actual Specifications:
  • Size tested: Women's Size 9
  • Weight per pair: 106 g (3.7 oz)
  • Length: 26.5 cm (10.4 in)
  • Width - Forefoot: 9 cm (3.5 in)
  • Colour tested: Black
The Sole Active Thick footbeds (I will call them footbeds for the remainder of the report) arrived in minimalist cardboard packaging that allowed me to easily see and feel the footbeds without removing them from the package. The package included two footbeds and instructions. The footbeds are described on the Sole website as a customizable support footbed for everyday comfort. The footbeds have "Polygiene" odor control technology, with the active ingredient being a silver salt to prevent odour. The footbeds are composed of 5 parts: a top sheet, a 3.2 mm "Softec" cushioning layer composed of open-cell foam, a moldable orthopedic base, accomodative arch support, and a deep heel cup. The active thick footbeds are designed for footwear with wiggle room, thick factory insoles and a wider shape such as hiking boots, work boots, loose-fitting running shoes and winter boots. The benefits of the footbeds as listed on the Sole website are:
  1. Provides highly cushioned support
  2. Reduces plantar fascia strain
  3. Improves balance
  4. Promotes natural foot alignment
  5. Distributes weight and pressure equally
  6. Heat and wear moldable for customized fit
Below are photos of the footbeds packaging and the footbeds.

footbed package    footbeds    side of footbed

Reading the Instructions
The instructions for molding the footbeds are provided with the packaging. The instructions for wear molding are to place the footbeds into my footwear and wear as with any other shoe. The footbeds should mold after a few days. Heat molding will provide the highest level of customization in the shortest amount of time and involves heating the footbeds in an oven before wearing them. Specifically, heat the footbeds in an oven at 200 degrees F (90 degrees C) until the opti-therm indicator turns black or for a maximum of three minutes. Place the footbeds in the footwear and stand in the footwear for two minutes.

Trying It Out
I tried the footbeds out in my 3-season hiking boots to make sure they fit. I removed the original footbeds and replaced them with the Sole footbeds. The footbeds fit inside the hiking boots well. I did not have to cut them down to size, which I have had to do before with other insoles I have purchased. I compared the Sole footbeds to the original footbeds in my hiking boots. The Sole footbeds are rigid and thick compared to the original footbeds which are thinner and flexible. See photos below of the footbeds side by side.

footbed comparison    footbed comparison side 1

Initial Impressions
My initial impression are that the footbeds are very sturdy and rigid. This gives me the reassurance that they will be durable but also the fear that they will be uncomfortable. I tried on my hiking boots with the Sole footbeds inside, and my hiking boots felt tighter than with the original footbeds. This is likely due to the significant shape and thickness of the footbeds. I do have bunions that usually become painful when I hike long distance (e.g. over 15 km) and I am worried that the footbeds will actually worsen this condition by decreasing the wiggle room in my boot and causing the bunions to rub. However, I also get sore and tired feet after hiking long distances and I am looking forward to seeing if these footbeds will bring relief.

Summary

Pros
1. Sturdy
2. Footbeds are ready for install, no cutting required

Cons
1. Thickness of footbed decreases wiggle room in my hiking boots

This concludes my initial report.  The field report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report.  Please check back then for further information.

Thank you Sole and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.


Read more reviews of SOLE gear
Read more gear reviews by Alyssa Kimber

Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > SOLE Active Footbed > Test Report by Alyssa Kimber



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