Anyone who has ever spent a day walking around Rome, Tokyo, Paris or any other cobblestone and concrete jungle knows that comfortable shoes are essential. But sometimes your favorite shoes aren’t always the best for your feet. Or, they’ve worn a tad thin and no longer provide the comfort that you need for a long day of sightseeing, shopping and meandering on foot. That’s why insoles and footbeds can be vital pieces of gear that keep you going even after a full day on your feet. We recently tested the SOLE Softec Response Footbeds to see if they can keep our tootsies happy while pushing pavement in New York City.I chose to test the SOLE footbeds in my Converse Jack Purcell sneakers for two reasons. Firstly, they are my favorite pair of shoes and I wear them daily. Secondly, they provide little support on their own and have recently resulted in a tremendous amount of back pain. I was hoping that the SOLE footbeds could salvage my favorite pair of shoes and make them comfortably usable. If they could that that, then they’d be worth the $44.95 price tag.
The SOLE Softec Response Footbeds come in a variety of sizes and then must be cut to fit your shoes. I removed the insole from my shoes and placed them on top of the SOLE footbeds. Using the insoles as guides, I used a regular pair of scissors to cut the SOLE footbeds to fit inside of my shoes. SOLE’s instructions are careful to warn users not to cut the footbeds too small. If you leave a large gap between the footbed and the edge of the shoe, you will be uncomfortable.
In order to mold the SOLE Softec Response Footbeds, you must heat them in your oven. Thankfully, they only require a rather mild 200-degree environment, so you won’t be handling any scolding materials. The pads must be placed on a baking sheet. If you’re a clean freak, I suppose you’ll want to wrap the sheet in foil first. As you can see from the photo to the right, I let any germs and bacteria bake off in my oven.
Rather than having to guess when your footbeds are ready to be molded, they come equipped with a color-changing thermometer (see photo below). When the circle on the sticker turns black, your footbeds are ready to be
served molded. The footbeds reached the appropriate temperature in under ten minutes. They were warm but not too hot to handle when I removed them from the oven and easily slid into my sneakers. I put on the shoes and then stood upright, heals back, feet shoulder-width apart for the recommended two minutes to allow the footbeds to mold to my feet.
After that, the footbeds were ready to roll. Or step. I spent the last ten days traversing New York City in my sneakers with the SOLE Softec Response Footbeds and have experienced a noticeable difference in the comfort of my shoes. My back pain has subsided, my feet feel less sore after hours of walking and the sneakers themselves seem more durable overall.
That comfort could also be attributed to the relative thinness of the footbeds, Unlike other insole products, the SOLE Softec Response Footbeds are relatively slim. This allows you to use them without making your shoes suddenly feel tight and ill-fitting.
The footbeds are partially made out of recycled materials while seemingly making no sacrifices in dependability and comfort.
Let’s get to down to the basics:
- Easy to cut to a customized size
- Heating and molding takes under 15 minutes total
- Thin footbeds maintain proper fit in shoe
- Comfortable and durable
- Cutting footbeds leaves room to make an expensive mistake
The SOLE Softec Response Footbeds do everything that the company promises. While the price seems high, the footbeds are said to last for roughly a year. If you extend the life of a pair of shoes for another twelve months, $45 may be much cheaper than buying a new pair of shoes. SOLE also offers a “Truth in Comfort Guarantee.” If you are unsatisfied with your SOLE product at any time, you can contact the company to arrange for a refund or exchange.
I recommend the SOLE Softec Response Footbeds if you are looking to enhance the comfort of your shoes and do a large amount of walking. If my disappearing back pain is any indication, these footbeds fulfill their promise. They are available for purchase directly from the SOLE website.