Happy feet are the key to enjoying a day on the trails, a run or just about anything for that matter. This means that your footwear needs the right amount of support and that is where Tread Labs wants to help. They recently sent me a few samples of their new insoles so I could let you know what I think.
Tread Labs is a newcomer to the insole market that scores major bonus points because their offices and production facilities are located in Stoneham, MA; it is always good to support local businesses. They also seem to have plenty of cred when it comes to footwear since their founder, Mark Paigen, invented the Chaco sandal.
The company claims to focus on quality and customization to set themselves apart from other insole makers. Tread Labs insoles come in sizes 7-13 for men, 5-10 for women, 2 widths and 4 arch heights, which equals a lot of combinations. Thankfully they offer a free in home trial so you can find the pair that best fits your feet. Tread Labs also claims to use medical grade quality materials. Their insoles are made of a polypro arch support with a layer of closed cell foam on top of that for comfort. However all of this quality and customization comes at a price. At $75 Tread Labs insoles cost almost $30 more than competing products.
You might be wondering if Tread Labs insoles are worth the price so I put them to the test to find out. I made sure to determine my arch type so I could get the best insole for my feet but Tread Labs still sent me a few different styles so I could see which one fit best; that created a good first impression.
I first put them to the test in my road running shoes. The Tread Labs insole instantly felt more supportive and firm then the shoe’s flimsy original inset. At first the arch support felt like a huge bump in the shoe but after a few minutes I didn’t notice it and a few minutes later it just felt great. Over the next few weeks I racked up about 40 miles in my Tread Labs insoles on the road and I can now say that they have earned a full time spot in my road shoes. The arch support feels just right which gives me confidence that I am properly supporting my body on unforgiving surfaces like pavement.
I then placed the Tread Labs insoles into my trail running shoes for an 8-mile hike that went up Huntington Ravine, over the summit of Mount Washington and down Boot Spur. Along the way I carried a 30-pound pack while hiking through mud, scrambling across rock faces and hopping from boulder to boulder with over 4,000 feet of ascending and descending. This hike is not easy on feet. I have done this hike a few times and am used to having sore feet for the last mile or two but they felt great the whole time with the Tread Labs insoles.
Tread Labs insoles are not quite perfect but no product is. On my insoles a small section of adhesive wore off between the cushion and arch support.
I also noticed that some of the lamination started peeling off on the bottom of the cushion. As far as I can tell these issues are only cosmetic. I reached out to Tread Labs about this and they assured me that they are planning to have this corrected in production within a few weeks.
Overall I am really impressed with Tread Labs insoles. They are just as comfortable, if not more comfortable, than the Superfeet insoles that I have used for years. Tread Labs sets themselves apart, in my opinion, because they are local and they offer so much customization. Are these things worth an extra $30? That is up to you but I think there is value in supporting local business and getting a perfect fit.