Disclaimer: I was provided with Orthosole products free of charge but I was not compensated in any way for this article. All opinions are my own.
I first heard of Orthosole back in February at the Adventure Travel Show and mentioned them here. I’ll admit though, as great a product as I thought they were, I didn’t feel the need to purchase any. At that point…
Rewind a couple of weeks to when Rosie and I did our practice Longmynd Hike weekend, 30 miles in and suddenly Orthosole were very much on my mind. My feet were burning, they were the most painful part of me and I knew that if anything was going to stop me completing the 50 mile Longmynd Hike, it was going to be the pain in my feet.
Soon as I got home, I got in touch with Orthosole and they offered to send me two pairs of Orthosoles; the Max Cushion and the Thin Style. I was very excited when they turned up! Firstly, they’re beautifully packaged in resealable bags, perfect for re-use. In fact, the smaller bag which contains the components was the perfect size for keeping my phone in to keep it dry on the Hike!
Secondly, they’re pink! I appreciate not all women love everything in pink but I do. Plus, there are quite a few small bits and pieces to go with each insole so having them colour coded (in the event the man in the house also has Orthosoles) is quite useful!
The premise behind Orthosole is all about an orthotic insole that could be used for as many people as possible, without the cost of a custom orthotic. There are four styles of Orthsole; Max Cushion, Thin Style, 3/4 Max Cushion and Lifestyle, each aimed at a different area, whether for roomy hiking boots, tight fitting trainers or formal shoes. Each style has two kinds of adjustment; macro and micro fit. All very technical sounding but in a nutshell, the macro adjustment comes through a heat and pressure sensitive material built into the Orthosole and the micro adjustment comes through the additional pieces that come with each Orthosole. There are three arch pieces (in firm, medium and light) which provide support for pronation and control and alignment throughout the foot and body, and three metatarsal pieces (again, in firm, medium and light) which improves weight distribution and and helps cushion the ball of the foot.
This means there are a variety of configurations for your Orthosole, allowing you to customise them to your feet.
I received the Max Cushion and Thin Style Orthosoles, and chose to wear the Thin Style for the Longmynd Hike. I spent an evening walking around the house in my hiking boots, trying out various configurations on each foot until I found the combination that felt comfortable (the medium arch and medium metatarsal if you’re interested!)
In addition, the fabric used is designed to stay cool and dry, and is antimicrobial which is excellent for my feet because anyone who knows me personally knows not to get too close to my trainers after a workout!
So far, so good. I was looking forward to seeing how the Orthosoles performed and a 50 mile hike was probably a pretty good way to test them out! The good news is they didn’t disappoint! Throughout the hike I was really pleased to find that although my feet got sore, there was nothing like the burning pain I had experienced on our practice hikes.
After the hike, the moment of truth came when it was time to remove my boots and socks and put on my flipflops. I was looking forward to this moment! No matter how comfortable the Orthosoles were, 22 hours of walking and I wanted nothing more than to take the boots off and launch them into the nearest river. (I didn’t do this. I love my Brashers really.)
I had one large blister on the back of one heel and that was it. After the practice hike, I’ve had pressure blisters on the ball of my right foot and the underside of both little toes. Although they were now looking pretty grim with the skin drying out and falling off (I desperately need a pedicure), there were no new blisters!
I’ve not had a chance to test out the Max Cushions in my trainers but I’m planning a few long runs in preparation for the Ultra Marathon I appear to have signed up for next year and I am very excited to see how I get on with those. The heel insert is designed to minimise the impact of heel strike so I have high hopes of the Orthosoles helping reduce the infernal shin splints I suffer from. I shall keep you updated…
In summary, I loved the Thin Style Orthosoles and they are well and truly embedded in my hiking boots from now on. Check out Orthosole at www.orthosole.com.