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Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > SOLE Active Footbed > Test Report by David Wilkes

Test series by David Wilkes

SOLE Foodbeds

Initial Report - March 28 2019
Long Term Report - July 16 2019

Tester Information

Name: David Wilkes
E-Mail: amatbrewer@yahoo.com
Age: 52
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Gender: M
Height: 5'11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 210 lb (90.7 kg)

Biography:

I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions the Northwest has to offer.  I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. I have finally managed to get my basic cold weather pack weight, not including consumables, to under 30 lb (14 kg).

Product Information

Manufacturer:

SOLE

Year of Manufacture:

2019

Manufacturer’s Website:

yoursole.com

MSRP:

$49 USD

Weight:

Listed: Not Listed
Measured:  
112 g/4 oz

Product pix

Product Description:

 SOLE Men’s Active Wide Medium footbeds

These are customizable footbeds (aka insoles). The “Active” line comes in thin, medium, and thick models and each has a wide version. They are heat moldable and feature odor control technology and a moisture wicking topsheet. They are advertised as offering cushioned support, reduce plantar fascia strain, improve balance, promote natural foot alignment and distribute weight/pressure evenly. They are also latex free (vegan!) and have zero drop.

Initial Report

March 28 2019

packed in stuff sacksI chose the wide version of the medium thickness US Mens size 10 (43-44 European). They are available in full US sizes ranging from 3 to 14 (Men) 5-16 (Women) [this range covers European sizes 36-47].

We normally do not remark on product packaging but I would note that SOLE is a “1% for the planet” company and the packaging reflects their environmental stance. The main body of the package is made from 100% recycled post-consumer card stock and the plastic (also recycled) is made to be easily removable from the card to ease recycling of the materials.

Heat Molding:
The insoles include  heat/wear moldable base layer to provide a customizable fit. The product can be used with our without heat molding. The packaging and company's web site has instructions on how to heat mold the insoles and even include an “Opti-therm indicator” that changes color when heated to the proper temperature for molding. The basic idea is to place the insoles in a preheated oven (90C/194F) for 2 minutes, then immediately insert into shoes (in place of the original insoles) and put the shoes on. Then stand straight for two minutes to allow the insoles to mold to the users feet.

Upon receiving the product I compared them to the insoles of my Nordic ski boots and they were a close enough match that I could simply put them in without altering them. I put them on and walked around for a few minutes. They seem to fit fine, at least as good as the original insoles. The heel cup is not quite a snug as I would like, but as I have wide feet with a narrow heel, this is normal for most insoles that I have used.

Likes/Dislikes:
I like that the company supports environmental causes not just in word but in action, and the footbeds seem well built and comfortable. I also like that they are offered in an assortment of sizes, widths, and thicknesses so I can choose the product that fits my needs. Finally I appreciate that they can be custom fit to my individual (and somewhat unique) feet.

Long Term Report

July 16 2019
Use:
  • Nordic ski (Ski Patrol) White Pass Ski Area Washington 5 days
  • Day hikes – Eastern Foothills of the central Washington Cascades – x4
  • Backpacking – short early summer 'shake down' trip in the astern Foothills of the central Washington Cascades
  • Home/work

After receiving the insoles I placed them in my Nordic ski boots, which by the way was the main reason I applied for this test. A typical patrol day involves at least 4hrs of skiing and assorted related activities including aid room duty and light trail maintenance. The insoles were a surprisingly good fit with no trimming. They did an excellent job at reducing some excessive space in my boots and preventing my feet from shifting in the boots while not affecting the performance of the boots. This was a relatively warm winter and I had only one day where the conditions were well below freezing (the rest of the days ranged from just below to just above freezing). The insoles provide a noticeable increase in insulation to my boots and allowed me to wear a lighter weight sock which further enhanced the comfort and moisture control. I have wide feet with narrow heels so I appreciate an insole that cups my heel and does not allow it to shift and move, these do well in that regard.

After the ski season was over I moved the insoles into a pair of light weight low top hiking boots. I prefer to wear the minimum footwear necessary so adding a structured insole to my boots was not without some trepidation. This turned out to be unwarranted. The one backpacking trip was the first of the season, my annual short trip (~3 miles / 5 km) at a local trail to check out and reorganize my gear. The trail was a mix of dirt and mud and mostly flat. Temperatures were about 65F/18C. During the 3 day hikes I did about 5 miles (8 km) of mostly good trail with some rock and talus, but also a some pea gravel. The insoles were comfortable and mostly unremarkable until I hit the pea gravel. I was pleasantly surprised at how much the additional structure from the insoles helped improve my footing and reduced the amount of effort it took. Despite the additional insulation I noticed with my ski boots I experienced no noticeable increase in heat while using them in my hiking boots in warmer weather (temps ranged from about 60F/16C to 82F/28C). One of the day hikes was a trail condition scouting trip on the Pacific Crest Trail. I did about 11 miles (18 km) with rock, dirt, and some sections of snow. My feet were comfortable for the duration and the added structure helped with footing on the snow sections.

Overall I am happy with the insoles they did a good job at molding to my feet and boots as well as add some insulation without causing my feet to get excessively warm. I experienced no movement of my foot, nor any hot-spots or blisters. While the insoles did improve footing and traction in some conditions I still prefer to wear the minimal footwear necessary so at the conclusion of this test I plan to move the insoles back into my ski boots for next years ski season where I think I will get the most benefit from them.


This concludes my report. I would like to thank the folks at SOLE and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.

 



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Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > SOLE Active Footbed > Test Report by David Wilkes



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