A well made cork insole with built-in metatarsal pad. Lightweight, zero drop, and treated for odor control.
- Odor control
- Recycled cork
- Met pad
- didn't work well for me
Sole offers a wide variety of insoles for both men and women. I tested the men's Active Medium with Met Pad over the last several months and things did not go well. The Active medium insole is comprised of recycled cork with a top sheet that offers both moisture wicking and Polygiene odor control. They are quite well made and very easy to trim to fit.
I first tested the Sole Active insole in a pair of Oboz low hiking boots on a variety of terrain. Rather than install both insoles I only changed one so I could get an idea how they felt versus the Oboz insoles.
Initially, they felt fine though they I could immediately tell that they were not as cushiony as the Oboz. Problems started at about the 5-mile mark of my first hike as I started to feel a hot spot developing on my upper heel. Later I measured the heights of the two insoles and the Sole was a bit higher in the heel.
This pushed my foot up just enough to achieve unwanted contact with my heel. Farther along on the hike, I started to feel a hot spot under the ball of my foot. Upon looking closely at the footbed I noticed the fabric used has a crosshatch pattern that has caused a rubbing problem with my feet in other similarly designed footbeds. At least that is what I thought was the issue.
I then installed the Sole Active footbeds in my work boots, replacing another brand of footbeds to give them more of an everyday test. The fit was much better in the work boots since the additional heel thickness didn't cause any issues. On an average day of movement, the footbeds felt fine.
After a month or so I was put into a work situation where I was moving nonstop for 8-10 hours for three days in a row. This brought up another problem with the ball of my foot which I then determined was caused by the met pad which turned out to put too much pressure and caused numbness by the end of the day.
Looking at all the different models of Sole footbeds I have come to the conclusion that this was for me the wrong footbed for my foot in the shoes I used for testing. Sole has a feature that I would have used for identifying the proper insole for shoe and activity type if I had been a normal consumer. In this case, because these were sent to me as a test sample I wasn't able to utilize that information. This ended up being a classic case of a well-made product not working because of a mismatch with the intended use.
Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (I kept the product after testing.)