About 4 years ago I was given a pair of Sole heat mouldable footbeds (insoles) after striking up a conversation with one of their staff at a tradeshow. I don’t remember which shoes I was wearing at the time, but a day walking around a tradeshow is always tiring on the toes, so it was with some trepidation that I slipped off my shoes (praying to the gods that they wouldn’t reek of sweaty gorgonzola-feet) and let them slip in two footbeds/insoles which were fresh from the oven.
Rather than searing to the bottom of my socks, the effect was somewhat like stepping into a warm cake mix – all enveloping and smooshy – and it transformed my old shoes into ones which felt fresh from the shop.
3 years later I was still wearing that same pair of insoles, albeit in a different pair of shoes, and they were still more comfortable than most brand new shoes. I finally threw them away when they wore completely through at the toe. So, when SOLE approached us to try out a couple of pairs of the same footbeds/insoles recently I jumped at the chance.
In order to fit and customise a pair of SOLE footbeds, you first take out the old insoles from your shoes or boots and lay them on top of the SOLEs. You might find that the SOLEs need trimming, which is very easy using a pair of scissors. Next, just trial fit them to your shoes to check the fit, and when you’re happy, sling them in an oven for 3 minutes. They have a small heat indicator on the underside which turns black when they are ready to fit, at which point all you do is pop them back into your shoes, slip your feet in and stand around until they cool down… voila.
In the course of typing up this review I’ve just taken a pair of their thickest footbeds (3.2mm) and added them to my Brasher Hurricane shoes. Immediately I can feel more solid arch support and a cosy heel-cup, which has reinvigorated the shoe – and actually improved the fit on me. I’m also standing 5mm taller, which can only be a good thing!
Cost could be an issue for some users. The footbeds are around £30-£35 for a pair. If you’ve not experienced them before, that could be difficult to justify – especially when it’s very difficult to tell if your own boot insoles are knackered because you just get used to the feel of them. I can only say though that the SOLEs have been a firm favourite of mine for years, and I was really pleased when they came to the UK (they’re Canadian). If this pair lasts another 3 years and improves the comfort of many worn out shoes, then that’s a bargain.
SUMMARY: SOLE heat mouldable footbeds/insoles are a hard sell if you haven’t tried them before. Before you baulk at £35 for an insole, have a feel of some in a store. They’re really thick and supportive, and the custom fit means that the comfort is superb. I’ve reinvigorated many a pair of shoes using SOLE, and the pair I moulded today will probably be with me for years now.
From: Google Shopping
More info: YourSole