Now that I am officially a runner as well as a rower (see yesterday’s post about my accidental half marathon), I’ve been spending as much time thinking about my feet as I have about my hands (my usual obsession). There’s no doubt that running takes its toll on your poor old plates of meat, so they need all the help they can get. I normally run in a pair of Asics trail running shoes as the tracks round here are pretty rough and uneven. I also have an old pair of bog standard Saucony shoes that I bought for my first, tentative steps three years ago, now used mainly for erging and bootcamp, but which get the odd run if I’m going to be on a road. They’re all getting a bit worn and probably ought to be replaced, but I think I have found a temporary stop gap that might prove to be more than that. Allow me to introduce the Sole Custom Footbed.
These were sent to me when I was researching a feature for a fitness mag, but I like them enough to warrant a Girl on the River post. They are essentially a fancy, orthopaedic insole that you put into your trainers to replace the original ones. Sole tell me that they are helpful in treating all sorts of conditions from plantar fasciitis (ouch) to joint pain caused by unsupported arches. They are also said to help with overpronation and oversupination and with the dreaded shin splints. The orthopaedic shape of these insoles, they explain, provides important support where you need it. The insoles are moulded to your feet either by wearing them over the course of a few days or by putting them in a lukewarm oven for a couple of minutes before inserting them into the shoes and standing in them for two minutes. Either way you get a really good fit.
I have put them into my trail running shoes and tried them out first on a 40 minute, hilly walk, as I didn’t want to run in them until I’d got used to them. They felt slightly unwieldy at first, but then moulded better to my feet. Once I got used to the slightly peculiar sensation I decided I liked the feel of the support they gave (and the fact that they lifted my feet up beyond the bit of the shoe under my ankle that occasionally rubbed a bit). I don’t have any orthopaedic problems other than a bit of overpronation – and if you do, I would urge you to seek professional help from a podiatrist before you try anything new – but I do get a lot of aches and twinges when I run. When I tried them on a proper run (a hilly four-miler that included one near-vertical slope) they were comfortable and supportive. I had been concerned that an old ligament injury that popped up on an eight mile run last week might show its face but it didn’t. I can’t say if I can thank the footbeds for that or not, but they certainly didn’t cause me any problems. They’ve definitely given my trusty old shoes a new lease of life and I’m hoping will make my running more comfortable.
Sole also kindly sent me a pair of their sport flips (flip flops to you and me) to try out. These have the same supportive elements as the footbeds and are fabulous for tired feet. They feel squashy and firm at the same time and are just the thing to wear after a long run. I’ve been wearing them around the house a lot and absolutely love them. Like the footbeds, they have an antimicrobial agent that stops them getting stinky (always a plus) and I would thoroughly recommend them.
So, where can you get them? Both the Sole Custom Footbeds and the Sole Sport Flips are available from Sole’s website. The footbeds vary in price depending on which ones you’re after (there are different types for different usage). The Signature DK Response ones, which are the ones that were recommended to me for running, cost £42 – not cheap but less than a pair of new trainers and worth every penny if they make your running more comfortable). The Women’s Sport Flips normally cost £50 but at the time of writing are on sale for a lot less (price depends on the colour). As they say in the trade, hurry while stocks last!