SOLE Heat Moldable Custom
January 12, 2007
||jennksnowy at yahoo
||Salt Lake City, Utah,
||5' 5" (1.65 m)
||140 lb (63.50 kg)
I started taking overnight backpacking
trips three 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
below 17 lb (8 kg).
Manufacturer: SOLE Custom
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Listed Weight: not indicated on manufacturer's website
Measured Weight Each: 2.10 oz (60 g)
women's size 8
Sizes Available: women's size 5 (CM 22, UK2.5, EU35.5)
through men's 16 (CM35, UK16, EU51.5)
Thickness: 3.2 mm (0.13 in)
Color: black and grey top sheet, black bottom, and red
Colors Available: no other colors are available in this
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. They are guaranteed to provide excellent cushioning
for two years.
Manufacturer's Product Description:
SOLE Ultra SOFTEC is designed for footwear with removable insoles. Made
for applications where shock protection is critical, the SOLE Ultra SOFTEC
footbed comes with 3.2 mm of our proprietary cushioning material (SOFTEC). SOLE
Ultra SOFTEC also provides excellent support and a heat moldable, custom fit.
My Product Description:
The SOLE Ultra SOFTEC Footbed
is designed to be used with high volume footwear with removable insoles. The
footbed is constructed of SOFTEC Cushioning that is to help provide maximum
shock absorption. 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.
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.
Do not heat in the microwave. Do not cut them too short!"
I had the footbeds heat molded by the manufacturer in August 2006. They
were heat molded to be worn in my Vasque Southern Traverse Cross Trail
shoes. These shoes are a women's size 8. Initially I found the footbeds
to be slightly harder/stiffer than the footbeds that were originally in
the shoe. The original footbeds were very thin and did not offer much
support if any at all. After they were heat molded I wore them for
approximately 8 hours that day and I did not have any soreness or foot
fatigue. I quickly adjusted to the feel of the footbeds that day and I
found them to be more comfortable and that they offered me more proper
support than the original foot bed that was in the shoe.
did purchase another pair of the same footbed and I heat molded them to fit into
my Raichle GTX Mountaineering Boots that I use for long backpacking trips. I
followed the directions that came with the footbeds and I found them very easy
I pre-heated a small oven to 200 F (93 C) as indicated on
the instructions for molding. I then compared the SOLE footbeds with the
original ones that were inside the boots. I was determining if I needed to cut
the footbeds for the proper fit. I did not need to alter the SOLE footbeds since
they appeared to be almost the same size as the original footbed. I then put the
footbeds in the oven for 2 minutes and 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
still silver, so as the manufacturer suggests I placed them back in the oven for
20 seconds. I then removed the footbeds again from the oven and I observed that
the indicator was black. I immediately placed the footbeds into my boots and
placed my feet into the boots 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 toasty warm during the fitting process.
The manufacturer suggests to break the footbeds in over a three-day
period. The fitting process can be repeated after three days if
It took me one day to adjust to wearing
the footbeds in my cross trail shoes. It took approximately 8 hours. The first
day I wore the footbeds I was subject to standing on concrete all day. I found
that my feet were not sore or fatigued. I then continued to wear them for the
next two days in the same type of environment with no discomfort noted. My feet
were very happy!
I did not have time to break the footbeds in for use with my hiking
boots. I figured my feet were already adjusted to them since I had been wearing
them in my cross trail shoes. The first day I wore the footbeds in my hiking
boots I hiked 12 mi (19 km) with just over 4,000 ft (1,219 m) of elevation gain.
My pack load was 22 lb (10 kg) with food, water, and my gear. My feet felt
great! I had no foot/arch fatigue, tiredness, or any other discomfort. I did
bring a pair of camp shoes with me for base camp wear, but my feet were so
comfortable in my boots I decided not to wear the camp shoes.
place a pair of the footbeds into my Rollerblades and my cycling shoes. I did
this as a trial to determine if my feet were more comfortable with these
footbeds in these types of shoes. I would need to cut the footbed down to fit
better in my cycling shoes and I did not want to do this at this point until I
purchase another pair. I would also prefer a smaller volume footbed with my
in-line skates and my cycling shoes. However, my feet felt more comfortable and
there was a significant decrease in vibration. I noticed that I did not get any
arch fatigue while skating with these footbeds.
I have used these
footbeds in the following locations in my Vasque Southern Traverse Cross Trail
Shoes and my Raichle GTX Boots:
City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho
USA: day hiking, scrambling rocks
Elevation: 6,183 ft (1,885 m)
Teton National Park, Wyoming USA: backpacking
Elevation: 4,250 ft to 11,100
ft (1,295 m to 3,383 m)
Salt Lake City, Utah USA: daily wear in my cross
Elevation: 4,600 ft (1,402 m)
Snow Canyon, Utah USA: day
Elevation: 3,200 ft (975 m)
Uinta and Wasatch Mountain Ranges,
Utah USA: backpacking and day hiking
Elevation: 9,480 ft to 10,354 ft (2,890
m to 3,156 m)
Zion National Park, Utah USA: backpacking
4,900 ft to 7,200 ft (1,500 m to 2,200 m)
I used the footbeds in
temperatures ranging from mid 20's F (-7 C) to 97 F (36 C). The weather
conditions varied with sunshine, rain, and snow. The terrain was dirt, regular
trail, rocks, water crossings, moraines, and scrambling rock
Since August I have used these footbeds while hiking just over
160 mi (258 km). I have not noticed any abnormal wear to the moisture-wicking
top sheet of the footbed or any compression noted of the cushioning material. I
do not notice an odor from my feet sweating.
The footbeds did become wet
from river crossings and I found that they dry overnight at room temperature. I
did clean the footbeds by hand washing the top sheet with a damp cloth of soap
I found that in various terrain the footbeds provided me with
good heel and foot alignment. I did not encounter any rolling of my ankle joint
while descending, crossing rock fields, or on moraines. I encountered no
pressure points or foot fatigue. I found that the top sheet of the footbed does
allow some moisture wicking. They have only become slightly damp from my feet
In the past I did wear a custom
orthotic in my footwear because my arches are somewhat collapsed and I found
that they gave me better support while hiking. My custom arch supports are rigid
and give me some foot discomfort while hiking, especially after long distances. I
found that the SOLE footbeds provide me with excellent support and foot alignment
without compromising my level of comfort.
THINGS I LIKE
The amount of support the footbeds
They are very comfortable. The most comfortable pair I ever
No pressure areas or arch fatigue
Easy to clean
Easy to custom mold
I really love these footbeds!
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
They are somewhat pricey, but not
compared to a custom orthotic.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org
Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Other than the cost, I could not find
anything I did not like.
Read more reviews of SOLE gear
Read more gear reviews by Jennifer Koles