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Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > SOLE Regular Heat Moldable Footbed > Owner Review by Jennifer Koles

SOLE Heat Moldable Custom Footbed-Regular Softec
Owner Review
Jennifer Koles
January 13, 2008

Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Koles
Age:  33
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country:  Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Backpacking Background

I started taking overnight backpacking trips four years ago in the Uinta Mountain Range in Utah. I found myself taking entirely too much gear. I am finding out slowly how to minimize my needs and not require extra luxuries. My previous outdoor experiences consisted of 4-wheel-drive camping in primitive areas and day hiking. I use a four season convertible tent or a three season tent for my shelter. I plan to take more trips, increase my duration, and reduce my two to three day backpack base weight from 17 lb (8 kg).

Product Information

Manufacturer: SOLE Custom Footbeds
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.yoursole.com/
MSRP: USD $44.95

Listed Weight: not indicated on manufacturer's website
Measured Weight Each: 1.80 oz (51 g)

Size: women's size 9
Sizes Available: US men's size 3/women's size 5 through US men's 17
Thickness: 1.6 mm

Color: red top sheet, black bottom, and red cushioning
Colors Available: no other colors are available in this model

Other details: SOLE Custom Footbeds offer a few different product lines. The SOFTEC Series offers cushioning and support. The Slim Series offers pure support. Each of these product lines offer footbeds for various footbed volumes, varying degrees of cushioning, and various top sheet options.

Warranty: If the purchaser is unsatisfied with the footbeds for any reason, they are to return them within 90 days for a replacement or a refund. No questions asked. "Guaranteed to be the best you have ever owned."

SOLE Regular SOFTEC Footbeds

Top of SOLE Regular footbed

 

Bottom of footbed

Bottom of the SOLE Regular footbed

Product Description

The SOLE Regular SOFTEC footbed is made for medium to tightly fitting footwear. These are designed per the manufacturer to provide shock absorption in footwear with reduced volume. The SOLE Regular SOFTEC is constructed of 1.6 mm of proprietary cushioning material, SOFTEC. They are indicated to provide excellent support and a heat moldable, custom fit.

The arch of the footbed is aggressive and can be heat custom molded for additional support and comfort. The heel cup of the footbed is deep. I noticed that it cradles my heel in place and does not allow heel sliding. The top sheet fabric is constructed of a moisture wicking material.

The manufacturer's instructions note that: "Diabetics and people with poor circulation or lack of sensation in their feet should consult their health care professional before using this product to ensure appropriate treatment and care.

The manufacturer also warns not to heat them in the microwave and not to trim them too short.

Fitting Them

The footbeds come with fitting instructions and the SOLE website has a nifty video to watch that walked me through the custom molding process step by step.

There are seven easy steps to custom molding the footbeds:

  1. Pre-heat the oven on bake to exactly 200 F (93 C).
  2. Remove the original insole from the footwear.
  3. Use the old insole as a guide to trim the footbeds to fit the shoe.
  4. Place the footbeds on the oven rack for two minutes.
  5. Immediately put the footbeds into the shoes.
  6. Then it is time to put the shoes on. The heels must be placed against the back of the shoes and have them laced up during this process. The knee cap should be aligned (when the knees are bent) over the top of the second toe during the fitting process.
  7. To complete the fitting process the person being fitted needs to stand with their feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forward for two minutes.

I have a few different types of SOLE footbeds (Ultra Softec and the Slim Sport Series) so I am not new to the fitting process. I wear the Ultra Softec footbeds in my backpacking boots and the Slim Series in my two pair of cycling shoes. After taking them out of the packaging and comparing them with the original footbed from my Vasque trail runners, I realized that no trimming was needed and I was ready to mold the footbed. They were a perfect match. I originally tried the SOLE Ultra Softec in these shoes prior to obtaining these and I found that the footbed took up too much volume for my liking. The manufacturer recommended the SOLE Regular Softec. I still had the original footbed from Vasque and I compared it with the SOLE footbed. The SOLE footbed was definitely more rigid than the Vasque footbed. The SOLE footbed was not foldable like the Vasque one was.

I was ready to mold the footbeds. It was easy as pie. I pre-heated my small oven to 200 F (93 C). I followed the enclosed directions and placed the footbeds in the pre-heated oven for 2 minutes. I then checked the footbeds to see if they were properly heated. I did this by looking at a sticker on the bottom of the footbed. This sticker is called the Opti-therm Molding Indicator by the manufacturer. The sticker turns from a silver color to a black color when the footbeds are heated to the proper temperature. I noticed that the indicator was black. This indicated that the heating process was complete. I immediately placed the footbeds into my shoes and placed my feet into the shoes with my heels against the back of them. I then laced them up and stood with my feet shoulder width apart and my toes pointed forward for two minutes. My feet were comfortably warm during the fitting process. It felt like I was at a spa getting one of those fancy pedicures with warm towels on my feet.

Opti-therm Molding Indicator

Opti-therm Molding Indicator

I really did not have a break in period after molding the footbeds as I have been used to the SOLE footbeds from wearing them in my hiking boots and my cycling shoes. However, the manufacturer does recommend breaking in the footbeds over a three-day period. The fitting process can be repeated after three days if needed.

Field Use

I have worn these footbeds for the past five months in my Vasque trail runners the following locations: Can I say just about everywhere I have been?

Day hikes and backpacking in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountain Range in Utah: Multiple locations. The trail conditions varied from mud, traces of snow, rock scrambling, stream crossings, wet leaves, and dry trail. Elevations were from 6,000 ft (1,829 m) to over 10,000 ft (3,048 m). The temperatures ranged from below freezing to above 90 F (50 C).

Southern Utah (Canyonlands and Zion National Park): Backpacking and day hikes. The temperatures ranged from 60-mid 80 F (27-16 C)

Hawaii (Big Island): Day hikes on the west and east side of the island. Daytime temperatures were in the low to mid 80 F (27 C) with rainy and dry conditions.

Southern California: The footbeds were worn in my shoes for walks on the beach path. The elevation was sea level and the temperatures averaged 75-80 F (42-44 C).

I travel to many states with my work and my trail runners went on my feet or in the suitcase when I traveled. I have worn these in Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Texas. During my work weeks I wore the trail runners to walk on park trails for general exercise. They have also been worn almost daily when I am home in Utah to run quick errands or going on local walks.

Performance

These footbeds are super comfortable and are very durable. I have worn these footbeds in my shoes almost every day for the past five months. My shoes have actually worn out before the footbeds did. That is impressive! The shoes are ready for the trash! The footbeds are just as comfortable now as the first day I put them in the shoes. There are no significant signs of wear. The top sheet is fully intact and the foam has not compressed, that I can tell. I picked up an almost identical pair of shoes in the same size and I will be using these footbeds in them. I was happy with my SOLE Ultra Softec before in these shoes. But, now I am ecstatic. I can not believe how much more comfortable my shoes are with the correct volume footbed. I love these footbeds! I am glad the manufacturer suggested I wear the Regular Softec instead of the Ultra Softec footbeds in my trail runners.

When I was in Southern Utah on a biking trip I wore my trail runners when I was not riding. Let me say that my shoes were filled with red dirt and sand. The footbeds were filthy dirty. I used a cloth with some soap and water and wiped the dirt away on the top and the bottom. They came out pretty clean and I was surprised. They actually look pretty new.

After using these footbeds for four straight months I figured they would stink. No stench at all. That was also quite surprising.

Once in a while they would get wet while hiking. I would just take them out and set them on a sunny rock to dry. They were dry by evening and ready to be placed back into my shoes. Even after wiping them clean with a wet cloth they dried quickly.

Oh and the comfort ...These footbeds are so comfortable. After long miles on the trail my feet do not get cramped and sore. I have no pain from wearing the footbeds and they provide me with excellent foot and ankle stability. In the past I have worn orthotics (due to fallen arches) with my trail runners, well no more. I have not experienced any pressure areas from the footbeds. With the SOLE Regular footbeds I have stability and comfort.

With my foot aligned correctly in my shoe I did not encounter knee and hip pain while hiking or walking. Even with days that mentally I felt I was hiking forever my feet were not uncomfortable.

Things That Rock:

  • The amount of support the footbeds provide
  • They are very comfortable.
  • No pressure areas or arch fatigue
  • No stench
  • Easy to custom mold
  • I really love these footbeds for my trail runners
  • They are not rigid like a custom orthotic
  • They are easy to clean even in the field

Things That Are So So:

  • They are somewhat pricey for a store purchased footbed. However, they are not nearly as expensive as a custom orthotic.

Summary

I have used these footbeds for the past five months. They have provided me comfort and pleasure while wearing my trail runners while hiking, backpacking, and walking for exercise. They offer excellent support and foot stability without the need for my custom orthotics. The SOLE Regular Softec footbeds are the perfect companion for my trail runners.

 



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Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > SOLE Regular Heat Moldable Footbed > Owner Review by Jennifer Koles



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