Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > SOLE Active Footbed > Test Report by joe schaffer

SOLE Active Footbed

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - March 17, 2019
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 71
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

Product: SOLE footbedsMen's Active Thick footbed

Manufacturer:  SOLE (TM)
        Weight: not found
        Men's sizes: US 3-15        
        Features: (from mfr. website)
          • heat and wear molds to foot
          • Polygiene (R) odor control technology
          • 3.2mm (0.13 in) Softec cushioning
EVA base
          • moisture-wicking
• density mapped
            • heel & ball same height
• latex free
• Accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association  
• no animal products or by-products
            ideal for hiking boots, work boots and footwear with removable insoles

MSRP: $49 US

Received: March, 2019
Layer art from mfr. website

layersMy Specs: 
        Weight (pair): 4 1/4 oz (122 g);  L 2 1/8 oz (59 g); R 2 1/8 oz (62 g)
             Length: 11 1/4 in  (28.6 cm)
             Width: 3 3/4 in  (9.5 cm)
             Thick: 3/16 in (4.8 mm)
                Heel cup depth: 7/8 in  (2.2 cm)
             Arch rise: 1 3/8 in 
(3.5 cm)

My Description:
       The product is a three-layer footbed designed to mold to the user's foot with body heat and wear. The bed is quite flat on bottom except for the arch rise, with pronounced arch rise and heel cup. The top layer is slightly textured fabric about 1/32 in (<1 mm) thick. It is glued to a compressible middle layer about 1/8 in (3 mm) thick. This middle layer is glued to the bottom layer of EVA about 1/16 in (1.6 mm) thick. The three layers appear to be uniform in displacement; and each layer appears to have uniform thickness throughout the construction of the bed. Coinciding with the front of the arch rise, about 4 in (10 cm) (all) of the forefoot is quite flexible; the balance of the bed rather inflexible.
The top and bottom layers are black; the center layer is blue. The right bed suffers an emblazonment of logo occupying virtually the dimension of the bed; and the left a much more discreet logo in the heel cup.
     My first thought was that with all due respect to marketing realities (presentation is everything), the 2 1/2 oz (70 g) of plastic and cardboard packaging seem in considerable conflict with eco-conscious product thinking.

    The beds strike me as substantial. The heel cup is deep and the arch support quite firm, but not solid. I'm eager to stuff these in my clodhoppers and feel how well the Softec actually adapts to my feet. I'll also be looking for durability indications. The top layer is so thin, will it wear off? Will the compression layer retain resiliency or simply smash hard. The EVA layer takes a beating micro-sliding around on the sole--will it be up to the challenge? Will all three layers stay securely glued? Does the bed seem to wick off moisture or accumulate it? Of course I want to take note of whether the odor control technology seems to counter the capacity of my feet to generate unpleasant characteristics for the nose. I'm thinking the reference more likely means the product itself will not accumulate particularly foul odor, though it won't do anything to the cat box surrounding it.

     Vendor description says 'Targeted density provides support where it's needed most'. I'm a long-term user of feet, but I confess to not knowing where footbed support is most needed. The compression layer, which I would think is the middle layer, appears to be the same thickness throughout. From squeezing the bed I can't tell any difference anywhere on the bed. I wouldn't think the density of the EVA changes, but if it does, perhaps that bit of engineering would be specifically noted. The EVA layer seems a little soft in a pinch, but it's certainly possible that finger-pinching applies more pressure per unit of area than 220 lb (100 kg) of static weight distributed across a larger area.

    I am reasonably familiar with aftermarket footbeds, having them in several pair of hiking shoes. These appear to be about as substantial as any I've ever used. I've not had any claiming to form fit from body heat and wear.

Quick shots:
    a) sturdy
    b) appear supportive
Thank you SOLO and for the opportunity to test this product. Field Report to follow in two months and Long Term Report in four.

Read more reviews of SOLE gear
Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer

Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > SOLE Active Footbed > Test Report by joe schaffer

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson