Sole Softec Response

1 review
5-star:   1
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0



Sole's Softec Response is a 1.6mm heat moldable insert…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50


Sole's Softec Response is a 1.6mm heat moldable insert that creates a "custom fit" to the user's feet. It provides the arch support flat footed hikers need to continue comfortably on the trail. From the moment a user inserts these insoles they will feel the difference.


  • Excellent arch support
  • Immediate improvement in hiking comfort
  • Comfort improves as insole molds to your foot


  • Although they are reasonably priced for an insole, they are still nearly as expensive as the hiking shoes I once used.

About the reviewer: I am a 190lb, 6'2" male with osteoarthritis in both my knees and flat feet. A year ago I was in physical therapy after wrecking my knees on a 75-mile hike. My therapist told me my flat feet aggravated my arthritis by keeping my legs and knees out of alignment. Despite vast improvements, mild knee pain is a daily part of my life. I hike in size 10.5 shoes (though my Birkenstock size is 11 [44 Eur].).

Conditions of testing: I completed an 85-mile hike in hilly terrain (constant ups and downs) carrying a starting weight of 25lbs. Hiking conditions ranged from warm, dry days to cold, wet days. Feet were soaking wet at various times. Inserts were worn inside a pair of Patagonia Drifter AC. I wore Smartwool PhD Run socks (review to come.) and Injinji Performance Crew Socks as a liner (review to come.) I tried hiking with and without Body Glide (review to come) on my feet, and found no noticeable difference. Black Diamond Hiking Poles were also a part of the equation.


Finding the right insole: I visited three outdoor gear stores. Each of these pointed me to Superfeet. However, after the first store I knew none of the SF models gave me the arch support I needed. In frustration, I went to a locally owned running store. I went into the store wearing the Patagonia and said I was looking for a good insole. I knew I was in the right place, when the salesperson said to me, "Well, I noticed your flat feet when you walked up to me. So we need to improve your arch support."

BINGO! Walking past the SF display, she took me to the Soles and selected a couple of different models. The first pair I tried on were vastly better than anything else I had tried, but the sales associate was not satisfied. She gave me the Softec Response and told me if these didn't work, I'd have to spend a few hundred dollars on custom orthopedics. Fortunately the Softec Responses were perfect!

  • Note: I am not discounting the value of Superfeet or any other insole. They just did not work with my flat feet.

Fit: Recommended break-in time is three days, and from the moment I tried these on, the comfort of my shoes increased exponentially. However, the Softec Response is "heat moldable," custom-fitted. By this, the company states heat will mold the shoe to the users foot. Molding the shoe can be accomplished in one of two ways. Either 1) the user can place the insoles in the shoes and wear them for a few days until the foot beds mold to the feet, or 2) the user heat the insoles in an oven to 200F/90C and then put them on immediately. I chose the wearing method, as I feared making an error. As with many insoles, trimming is an option, but this was unnecessary for me.


Comfort: As I stated, I live with daily knee pain. However, the combined hiking system (shoes, insoles, socks, poles, lighter pack), along with taking time to stretch throughout the day, allowed me to hike further with virtually no discomfort. By this, I mean I felt no arthritic pain the first 4 days of my hike and only a twinge of arthritis on days 5 & 6. In fact, I felt so good after my hike that I took my kids to St. Louis' City Museum the next day (think "man made caves" or "McDonald's playground for adults.").

Construction & Durability: These have already outperformed some of the Dr. Scholl's stuff I've used in dress shoes. The held up well on my 85-mile hike, and I expect they will last as long as the Patagonia hikers, meaning several hundred miles. They come with a 90 Day Guarantee.

Video: While this video focuses on being blister free, it provides insight into my satisfaction with this product and my entire footwear set up.

Summary: Sole makes a number of products for various foot types. The Softec Response is exactly what I needed for my flat feet and arthritic knees. I completed 85-miles and could have easily have continued on for many more days of hiking. Well worth a look!


that sounds like a really inexpensive alternative to custom orthotic insoles. if your insurance doesn't cover custom made insoles this might be a really good option

4 months ago

I agree. I'm just glad I don't have to find out about the insurance. These are probably cheaper than the deductible.

4 months ago

GREAT job on the video, Goose! I love it!

4 months ago

Thanks, Ashleigh. I plan to use this video with my review on the Smartwool and Ininji. Then the footage (with a voice over) is going into a short video I'm making on hiking with arthritis.

4 months ago

The deductible for my prescription insoles was about 170% the cost of your insoles so it looks like you got a good deal

4 months ago

Here's that video on hiking with arthritis:

4 months ago

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Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

Your lower body takes abuse for the greater good when running, hiking, or even during the daily routine. Remedy sore feet, legs, and lower back with the Sole Softec Response Footbeds. True to the name, the Response Footbeds provide the rebound and absorb shock in your low- to medium-volume workout and casual shoes. Heat up the footbeds, slip them into shoes, and lace-up--the Softec Footbeds mold the shape of your feet in about two minutes.


Sizes: Unisex 5-15M (see size chart)WOMEN ORDER ONE SIZE DOWNSOLE Softec Response Custom Footbeds feature an orthopedic base layer that molds to your unique foot. This custom support gently lifts your arch into its optimal position, allowing your foot to function as it was meant. When the arch is properly supported and the body is aligned, performance is enhanced in the following areaSOLE Footbeds mold to fit your unique foot perfectly. Generic insoles and flat footwear simply cannot offer the same level of arch support, control and comfort that SOLE products can. The benefits of our orthopedic shape are personalized for your unique foot. The arch height adjusts to your required level, but does not flatten out. The forefoot takes the shape of the balls of your feet and toes, and the aligning heel cup supports your unique heel shape. This creates a continuous contact point across the soles of your feet, leaving no area unsupported. It all adds up to a superior fit, and unrivaled support and comfort.Softec Cushioning is the best cushioning material for providing your feet with maximum comfort. Softec has the best compression set rating. This means that it instantly springs back to its original shape better than any other material tested. Softec has a shock absorption rating that is equal to the industry standard cushioning material, Poron. Softec is stronger and has a higher stretch resistance than Poron. Softec stretches more without snapping when force is applied, which means Softec is strong and flexible.Moldable Base Layer, 20% Recycled ContentMoisture-Wicking Top Sheet With 35% Recycled ContentDeep Heel CupAPMA Accepted1.6mm Softec cushioningMoldable, orthopedic base layerAmerican Podiatric Medical Association Accepted.

- Campmor

Softec Response Insoles offer custom cushioning and support for medium to tight-fitting footwear. Recommended for general sports and everyday use. Moldable base layer made with 20% recycled content Moisture-Wicking top sheet made with 35% Recycled content Adjustable Arch Support Deep Heel Cup Heat Moldable APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) Accepted Item Specifications Shoe Size 46 Shoe Width Standard

- Mountains Plus

Sole Softec Response footbeds offer custom cushioning and support for medium to tight-fitting footwear.


The Sole Softec Response Moldable Footbeds provide custom support and extra cushioning for higher volume, loose-fitting footwear with removable factory insoles. Every SOLE Custom Footbed features our orthopedic base layer that molds to your unique foot without losing its supportive shape. SOLE Custom Footbeds are accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association.

- Altrec Outlet