Considering your foot support needs outside of running shoes – A review of Spenco sandals and inserts

Spenco-Logo Run Oregon bloggers received some product samples from Spenco® Footwear this Spring - 1 male pair of sandals, one female pair of sandals, and a pair of insoles. Read on for our thoughts on each.  Company:

All Spenco Footwear is based on the design of our highly successful insoles and incorporates a cushioned heel, deep heel cupping, orthotic arch support, metatarsal dome, and a cushioned forefoot. Drawing on over 45 years of insole design and manufacture, combined with the best medically-driven research and development, each of these bio-mechanical attributes have been carefully designed and engineered to provide "Full Contact Comfort™" to the widest possible cross-section of foot types and shapes. 

Matt (Men’s Yumi Sandal – $49.99):

Mens Yumi Sandal by Spenco (in Olive)

Mens Yumi Sandal by Spenco (in Olive)

I have never really had foot pain before in my “running life”. Perhaps it is due to the increased mileage I have been striving for lately, as I have noticed that the arch and balls of my feet have started to become increasingly more sore. This is not major or even concerning pain, just a tiredness and soreness that luckily does bother me at all when in my running shoes. Where I really notice it is when I am walking around in flat dress shoes and more so when I am barefoot. I suppose it was fate that my new discomfort and these sandals coincided with each other at the same time.

At first glance, these are very stylish sandals. They don’t look the least bit funky or “orthotic” – they just look awesome. I initially wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about that “bump” in the arch. I remember just thinking “is it just going to feel like I have a rock in my shoe”? When slipping them on, I was I was immediately hooked and surprised just how well the cork base offered comfort and flexibility, yet still provided sturdy the proper support.

Overall, I love these sandals! I am a pretty positive guy in general and it typically takes a lot for me to not enjoy something. But, I LOVE THESE SANDALS (say it with a Tom Cruise voice for full effect). I literally crave coming home, peeling off my work shoes and slipping these on to go play with the kids in the backyard. I don’t know the full science behind arch support, but these sandals appear to have it down!

Kelly (Yumi Brooke Black – $79.99):

Unlike Matt, who has never before had foot pain, I went through a period of time when my feet were just ALWAYS sore. And this was in my mid-20’s, when I was probably in the best shape of my running career. But while visiting a friend in Colorado and chatting with one of her other friends, who happened to be a physical therapist, I learned that if you have foot pain you should look first at the shoes you wear day in and day out – at work.

But also like Matt, I do not wear “cool” shoes. I find a pair of black flats and would be just fine wearing them every day to work from Labor Day to Memorial Day. So I went to the store and bought a pair of molded plastic inserts that ran from my heel to my arch, at the suggestion of that friend’s friend. I thought it strange to put a hard insert in my shoe to make my feet feel better – but it worked. Turns out support – actual structural support – can feel better than pillowy soft cushion.

The Spenco sandals I tried out proved my theory. They are a hard surface, with a molded “bump” in the middle, and they feel great. In keeping with my “Can’t I just wear black shoes?” theme, I got them in black and have even worn them to work a few times, they’re dressy enough (at least for my office). My only suggestion to those of you shopping for good looking supportive sandals is to go a size up if you’re on the line – I wear an 8 in dress shoes but I probably should gone with an 8.5. It’s not short enough for me to not wear them, but I wouldn’t mind just a little more room.

Amber (Spenco IRONMAN Train and Race Insoles – $49.99):

spenco-insolesI tested out the Spenco IRONMAN Train and Race Insoles. I typically use the basic insoles you get from the grocery store so I was excited to try something a little more sophisticated. Here are some of the specifics from their website:

• 3-POD™ Modulation System: Multi-density pods piston through the flexible cradle to modulate ground forces. Stiffer black pod counters overpronation, softer red pods guide the stride

• TOTAL SUPPORT® Footbed is the optimum interface between your foot and the ground The Shape That Feels Great™

• Ultra-light, Semi-flexible Arch Support
• FACET™ Cradle and Orthotic Arch Support
• Deep Heel Cup offers greater stability for overpronators
• First Ray Drop Zone for more efficient toe-off and a healthy stride
• Metatarsal Dome relieves pressure on forefoot
• Technical Low-friction Topcloth with foot-cooling technology. Reduces friction that can cause blisters
• Segmented Forefoot Crash Pad absorbs impact
• Silpure Antimicrobial helps reduce odor

I started with the Train Insoles and found that they are flexible in the front and ridged in the back giving your foot the support it needs, where it needs it. The arch is raised taller than the rest of the insole and the top lining has a very comfortable cushion. I tried these insoles on training runs and found that, while they were generally comfortable, one of the insoles pinched a bit on the inside. There is a one-year Conditional Guarantee that come with each pair of insoles, so I wouldn’t have had to worry.

I tried on the Race insoles for other training runs to test the difference between the two. Although still sturdy, these insoles were more flexible than the training insoles. They very comfortable and very supportive while running. I have made the decision to utilize the Race insoles as an every day insole for my shoes. 

About Matt Rasmussen (1600 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.
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