My Quest For The Ultimate Insole
A few months ago, I started developing pain in my knees during a hike. After the hike, the pain remained for quite some time. Usually, that means my current insoles are pretty much used up. Upon taking them out of my boots to have a look at them, it turned out that they weren't giving me a lot of support anymore, since they had been trampled completely flat over the course of a half year or so. I hate having to constantly replace my insoles.
So I decided that I was going to find the best darn shoe insoles that money can currently buy. I wanted something that was going to last. And I was willing to shell out for quality. If you're going to spend $30 on new insoles every 6 months or so, I figured I might as well pay double for insoles that last at least twice as long. That way, I won't have to replace multiple times a year. Multiple replacements per year are not only a minor nuisance, but they are also easy to forget, placing unnecessary strain on your feet, ankles and knees around the 6 month mark for regular insoles. I had enough of it all. So I went searching for quality.
Enter Tread Labs
I came across their site and was immediately intrigued for some reason. There's something special about these insoles they are offering. I kept reading their site. They have lots of information on there on foot support and how important it is to your health. I was liking what I was reading. What really pushed me over the edge, was the fact that their insoles' arch supports are basically a solid bit of well formed material, that will simply never bend out of shape. Tread Labs claims their arch supports are much more resilient than other insoles, which are usually softer because they are made of foam.
Seeing as how I have a history of plantar fasciitis because of my flat feet (thanks, mother nature), finding good shoe inserts is really important for me. I wasn't sure with which support height to go. Tread Labs offers low, medium, high and extra high support. I emailed back and fro a bit with Tread Labs support, asking for advice on which insole to go for. They came across as very knowledgeable. Turns out they have a whole page dedicated to helping you decide your best fit. Soon enough, I was the proud owner of medium and high Tread Labs Stride insole pairs.
Walking On Tread Labs' Stride Insoles
Immediately, I put them in my favorite sneakers. The ones I use on easy trails, but also for taking walks around the block almost every day. They were a perfect fit. When I stood on them, I felt them working right away. I have never felt such solid support in my entire life. I went out for a walk. I could feel the sensation of the Tread Labs Stride insoles supporting me all throughout my legs.
The effect of these insoles straigtening out my stance, gait, muscles and essentially my entire walking biomechanics... was anything but subtle. Sure, it felt a bit uncomfortable at first. But since I instinctively knew this was a good thing, I didn't really mind. It took me a few weeks to get used to them. Longer than any other insole I had ever worn in my entire life. And that's how you know an insole is staying in shape in order to support you in the long run!
I wasn't suffering from plantar fasciitis at the time I started using these. But I am confident that Tread Labs' Stride insoles are going to go a long way in preventing any plantar fasciitis in the first place. These are the kinds of insoles that can turny any footwear with mediocre support into footwear with excellent support.
I used to suffer from regular knee pain. Both my knee joints crack and pop a lot. They have done that for as long as I can remember, which is many decades. The problem gets worse as I grow older, so it's important for me to take care of my knees if I want to avoid surgery. Tread Labs' insoles have really helped me out in getting rid of my knee pain. Sitting for extended periods of time (especially multiple days) makes it worse.
I also walk around the house on socks, so no support. This makes my knees hurt. But if only I make sure to wear my Tread Labsies every day (either to work or when taking a walk), then I know my knees are receiving the much needed healing support that they so desperately require.
I've worn them for months now. I've got the medium pair in my Asics and the high pair in my regular walking shoes. I took pictures of the medium pair from my Asics, as you can see. After months of use, the arch support material is still holding up well. It only has a few superficial scratches. But this stuff doesn't give way under months of bearing your body's weight. And that's why they keep giving you support for months on end.
Tread Labs Stride Insole Benefits
The arch supports are SOLID. They do not give way under pressure in the long run. You keep the support that you get when first wearing these.
2. More Value For The Money
Tread Labs Strides cost twice what a regular pair of insoles cost. But they last longer. No doubt you will make back your money in the long run. The top covers are replaceable. You can take the arch supports off the top covers, because it's velcro. You can get replacement top covers for just $15. I've been wearing my Strides for months and they aren't even close to needing replacement yet. With insoles, it's just as it is with shoes: you really do get what you pay for. And your wallet will like it better if you make a solid investment for the long run.
3. Fresh Shoes
The top covers have had a PURE antimicrobial fabric treatment. This kills 99.9% of all bacteria. Your shoes will stay pine fresh for as long as you've got Treadies in them. I haven't smelled my shoes in a long time.
4. 30 Day Fit Guarantee
Tread Labs offers you a 30 day trial period. If you don't like them, you can send them back. They pay for the shipping costs. You run no risk whatsoever. What have you got to lose?
My two insole pairs became a little squeaky after a while. When wearing them around the house, it can be audible. I myself hardly ever wear shoes indoors. And when I do, I am usually sitting down, doing work behind my computer or watching some TV. When walking outdoors, the ambient outdoor noise is enough to drown out the squeaks. I can't really hear them at all.
I have contacted Tread Labs about this. They are familiar with the problem and are actively looking for a solution to completely kill the squeaks. I'm sure future models won't have it this minor problem anymore.
Other than that, the photos show that the threading that makes up the Tread Labs logo on the insoles' top covers, has come loose a bit. It doesn't look pretty, but then again... I spend more time walking on them than looking at them. It's hardly a reason for deducting points.
The downsides are minor and solvable. I've let them know about it. I'm sure Tread Labs is on it already. There simply are no significant downsides to these insoles that I can think of.
I've found my new favorite insoles. My Stride insoles have given me the support I've always longed for, even in the long run. They look as great as they feel. They've helped me get rid of my knee pain and will prevent me from developing plantar fasciitis ever again. I know I can't prove that I won't get PF anywhere in the future anymore, but I'm feeling pretty confident!
I've compared them to my old insoles. The old ones are regular ones. And by 'regular' I mean not Tread Labs. My old insoles bend quite a bit. When I apply the same amount of pressure to my Strides, they don't bend nearly as much. They keep their form. And when you think about it, isn't that precisely what an arch supporting insole is supposed to do?
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