Company: Years ago, I developed a sport sandal with a pronounced footbed contour and a simple, functional design (Chaco Z/1). Originally built for river guides, it developed a cult-like following. The SUV of sandals, it featured aggressive arch support, bomber construction and top shelf materials. The supportive nature of the footbeds alleviated many foot problems - many customers became advocates. Decades later, the original Z/1 design is still selling well. Fast forward to 2014. Working to develop footbeds for a new line of shoes, I came up with something even better than Z/1. The one problem with Z/1 was an arch support in just one height. Great if your arches are fairly high. If not, you’re out of luck. The Tread Labs system delivers that same “can’t live without them” feeling, with sizing to fit all kinds of feet. A spring-like insole supports the foot, boosting comfort and stability for all kinds of activities. With insoles in dozens of sizes and arch heights, you are guaranteed a perfect fit. It’s not hard to understand. You don’t buy pants in small, medium or large. You’re glasses or contacts don’t come weak, medium or strong. The insoles are made of three layers:
- Arch Support - The arches are a molded polypropylene - which provides the foundation. As a result, it is likely much firmer than other insoles you may have tried before. They describe it as mimicking the support that a custom-made orthotic gives and they stand behind this stronger support as benefitting appropriate foot alignment.
- Foam layer - This is on top of the arch support and provides the comfort. It is "a hi-rebound, hybrid, closed cell, EVA foam. This means it retains its ability to absorb shock (hi-rebound) and won’t absorb moisture or stink (closed cell)." There is between 1.5 and 3mm of the foam depending on the style you select.
- Fabric - A polyester fabric, perfect for fast drying, is placed on top. It is made with a Engineered with a low friction surface to reduce heat buildup.
I know that is a lot of regurgitated information from my previous post, but I think it’s important to know the details of the product and company. Tread Labs just reached out to us as they release their newest insole – the Stride. I was sent a pair to sample, with my foot size and biomechanical needs in mind.
The Strides are nothing super fancy to look at – they come in a simple color scheme and logo. That’s all fine with me, as the real magic is on the bottom. The hard support (medical grade) on the arch and heel make my feet feel great. It is supposed to also relieve and prevent Plantar Fasciitis – something I have taken to heart since my experience with that injury a year ago. $75 is a small price to pay to avoid the pain and heartache that comes from that PF.
Tread Labs arch supports are guaranteed forever and the top covers can be replaced for only $15. This means that your seemingly high $75 investment will not become obsolete from wear down from running. You will get a high quality insole, as well as inexpensive upgrades over time without having to worry about purchasing pair after pair from the running store after months of use. Just order a new upper and you are back on the road for less than a round of beers at your favorite pub. Also, there is a 30 day guarantee on fit up front. So if you are skeptical or unsure how they will feel, check them out for a month and, if you don’t really like them, send them back at no cost.
Check them out on Facebook. They have a variety of giveaways going on all summer
I will admit that I have become a bit of a running sock snob in the past few years. I want my socks to fit snugly, be comfortable, and keep my feet blister-free so I was eager to try FITS. I tried the FITS Light Runner – Low Sock and the FITS Ultra Light Runner – No Show Sock.
The Light Runner was a good medium weight sock that fit well. I appreciated the understated seam placement on the end of the sock. It kept the seam from being an annoyance during my run. I was surprised that I noticed the cushioning in the sock as I ran, because the sock didn’t look very thick. But, it does definitely have some cushioning. The thickness of this sock was a little more than I’d like on a hot summer day, but it felt just right on a cooler day.
The Ultra Light Runner felt much different as soon as I put it on. The seam was less subtle and I had to adjust my right sock multiple times before I could comfortably put on my shoe without feeling the seam. I liked the no-show height of this sock and it was the perfect weight for a summer run. I didn’t notice my socks at all during my run, which I consider a good sign. The strange thing was, when I took my shoes off after my run, I discovered that both of my socks had twisted sideways on my feet inside of my shoe. Fortunately, I didn’t feel the movement as I ran. Because of the twisting, I won’t use the Ultra Light Runners for long runs. However, I did like the feel of this sock better than the Light Runner for my 5 mile run on a warm summer day.
Overall, this running sock snob approves the use of FITS Socks for your running needs. I will definitely be wearing my FITS as a regular part of my running sock mix.