Stick 'em in the oven and Sole footbeds adapt to the shape of your foot and they feel great...
Canadian after-market footbed brand that's relatively new to the UK,
but looks interesting with its promise of a heat-mouldable custom fit
to suit your very own foot shape.
It's also the brand of footbed that will be included with
Haglöfs footwear from next spring - see this article
- rather than the very basic footbeds specced by most footwear brands
mainly to keep manufacturing costs down.
It's no secret that Superfeet is the best known replacement footbed
brand out there, so we were interested to see how Sole compared and
when we got the chance to try and pair, we lept at it like a spawning
Sole is understandably keen to avoid endless comparisons with the
competition, but as far as we can see, the main difference is
that whereas Superfeet focusses on the rear of the foot and aligning
the heel in a deep, stable cup, Sole's footbed is engineered to both
provide a stable heel cup, but also to support the rest of your foot
giving support to the arch and ball of your foot as well.
It's also heat mouldable, though with wear, the insole will take up the
shape of your foot anyway - Osprey's heat-mouldable hip-belts are much
the same. The footbed itself, which is available in different volumes
to suit different feet and footwear, has a mouldable plastic baselayer
topped with around 3.2mm of heat cushioning foam in the case of our
test samples. There's a deep, supportive heel-cup and a very pronounced
The fitting process is very straightforward - you can even do it
yourself with a domestic oven - the footbeds simply get heated up, you
pop them into your shoes, then stand motionless for 90 seconds as the
footbed takes up the shape of your foot.
And that's it. No discomfort, just a pleasant underfoot warmth, that
made us think heated insoles would be ace in winter...
The Results So Far
We're not about to get involved in a complicated argument
about biomechanics, but what we can tell you already is that the Sole
Ultra Softec footbeds we're using feel both very supportive and very
As used by mountaineer Ed Viesturs...
It's a hard sensation to describe, but it's a nice compromise between
support and cushioning with a really even feel right across the sole of
the foot, not just under the arch or at the heel. That tallies with
some tests Sole has done, which suggest that their footbeds even out
pressure over the foot and remove pressure points.
The foam top layer, all 3.2mm of it, makes them feel instantly
welcoming, but without the sloppiness you might associate with pure
cushioning insoles thanks to the underlying mouldable base.
So far, so good. We're going to use them for a while, then report back.
As usual with aftermarket footbeds, you should expect increased support
and better all-day comfort, but if you have any serious biomechanical
issues, a sports podiatrist will be able to analyse your gait and, if
necessary, produce custom orthotics to correct any issues.
Retail price is around £35
and you can find more details at www.yoursole.co.uk