Of all the running gear out there, not much has seemed so mysterious and off limits to me. I’ve always been able to conduct a little research and determine: what the gear is, what the benefits of said gear are, and who the “major players” in the marketplace are for that specific area. This is the case, however with Running Shoe Insoles. The topic of insoles (or shoe inserts) has always been a total mystery to me. The basic reason for them is clear, to provide additional cushioning, a more customized fit, and to compensate for any foot issues you may have going on (like high or low arches, etc.). I know there are the generic insoles you see at the drug store, more high-end ones, and then doctor prescribed total custom jobs. But to be honest, that’s where my knowledge of them stopped. I guess I always figured that the real benefits that I’m looking for will be coming from the shoes themselves, the insoles would only “tweak” or “fine tune” it…
Well, I was wrong.
I have been provided a pair of CurrexSole Running insoles to use and review for you, and while admittedly this is my first venture into the world of aftermarket insoles all I can really say is: Wow, what a difference.
Ok, so this review will follow my same basic format: Who the company is, how the experience has been for me, and then any additional thoughts & opinions about how this all may apply to the readers of this blog to round things up.
To start things off, who exactly is currexSole? Per my marketing contact (and the most educated and well spoken resource I know on the topic):
“currexSole is the most awarded insole brand in Europe, and their running specific RUNPRO features a dynamic and individual specific fit that is right in line with current footwear science and technology (zero mm drop so it won’t interfere with shoe construction and the insoles move with your feet vs restricting them).
With a fitting system based on foot type, body weight and leg/knee angles currexSole ensures that athletes get a proper fit for their body. Please note these aren’t designed to be like orthotics, but simply replace the cheap and ineffective liner already in your shoes with something actually fitted for your feet and biomechanics.”
…ok, you have my attention. That pedigree of company and description is more than enough to not only convince me that this is a reputable company, but one that make a product that will actually have the potential to really have an effect on me and my running. These are two of the big criteria that I use while deciding which products I will review and which I will pass on. Consider my interest officially confirmed and everything seems like it will be a great fit with me and my readers. Now moving on to how they actually stack up…
The experience for me has to start with the ordering process, especially since the whole concept of insoles was so mystifying to me I had quite a bit of apprehension as to making sure I get the right ones and a lot of fear that if I ordered the wrong ones I’d somehow screw up my feet and end up injuring myself. Luckily, while the company does have 3 different variations of the running insoles, they also have a very easy to follow test to determine which is the proper insole for you, this all deals with some basic questions and then you need to reference your foot’s arch height, but if you’ve never had to really be concerned about it before, how are you supposed to know off the top of your head how tall or low your arches are, and if they are enough to qualify you as “high arched, low arched”, etc. like I said, I like dummy proof tests are key here, and this one was. Stepping in a pan of water to wet the bottom of your foot, stepping on a piece of newspaper and then comparing the imprint to pictures provided on the test form is as foolproof as it gets…just my speed.
So I determined which was the best fit for me and ordered them up. When they arrive they are huge, with the intent of being cut to size so they fit your specific shoes perfectly. All you do is take the current insole out of your shoe, line it up against the new CurrexSole, break out the scissors and get to cutting. The entire process was surprisingly easy.
Ok, so I got the right insoles and now have them in my shoes. Time to put them on. First impressions? Holy crap these things are comfortable. The difference in the fit and feel of the shoes is immediately noticeable, and it’s night and day. The shoes I put them in are my Hokas, which are far and away the workhorses of all my running shoes. They are the shoes I wear when running long miles (anything over a 10K is “long miles” for me) and the shoes I wear for all my outdoor running. Also, being Hokas they are also super-cushioned to begin with. A feature I was drawn to as a means to reduce impact while running on my arthritis-riddled knee. Surprisingly enough, with all the cushioning built into the shoe itself, the included insole that comes with the shoes is a simple piece of foam that literally does nothing. With the addition of these CurrexSole insoles, I’m pretty sure that I have the most comfortable shoes ever made.
The fit provides such a dramatic difference. The insole itself has a lot of structure going on, there is support in the arch area, there are specialized cushioned areas under the heel and ball of the feet, and then the heel has been formed into a cupped shape to let your foot sit down into it and really fit like a glove, and let me tell you, it works. It also bears mentioning that they managed to cram all this technology and features into this insole while keeping it “zero drop”, which is to say that the entire insole is the same thickness all the way through- the heel is not taller than the toes which is important to some runners. Many runners out there, particularly those who prefer a more minimalist running shoe and midfoot strike running style try very hard to run in shoes that do not have a huge differential between the height of your heel and toes from the ground (so as to mimic running barefoot) so for them, the closer to zero drop the better.
As for the actual running, things have been really good. The main purpose of these insoles is to reduce impact and assist in injury prevention. The impact reduction is evident, you can really notice a difference when you are out on the run. As a matter of fact, once they hit my shoes, they have never left. These insoles got me through the beefy double digit training runs and my most recent 10-miler race earlier this month. I’m a big fan of products that help me become more efficient / take the effort I put out and get more from it / keep me injury free: and by measurable accounts these insoles now fit squarely into that category. As for the injury prevention part of it, well, I did not get injured and while my experience with the insoles has been limited to just over a month at this point, time will tell on that one. I can say that it makes sense to me that no one thing will keep you injury free, but these look to be a nice piece to the puzzle to help with that injury free goal. (along with proper shoes, cross training, recovery days, following a realistic training plan, etc.)
Ok, personal impressions: I love these things. I am actually planning on ordering a second pair to put into my treadmill shoes (New Balance Fresh Foam). I don’t even see myself testing out the other competitors on the market, these are really that great feeling to me. If pressed to find a negative, I would have to fall back to what seems to be a common theme that spans across a lot of this type of running gear- this is a very specialized item, and it is priced as such. These CurrexSole RunPro insoles retail for approx. $50. I even searched around on the alternative marketplaces like amazon, running warehouse, roadrunner sports and the like and the pricing is consistent across the board. So they aren’t break the bank/ deal killer expensive, but $50 still is not chump change or “impulse buy” territory for me.
To bring it back to the readers of this blog, who by most accounts are runners who are relatively new to the sport, people looking to lose weight and do it in part by getting more active (or both), what does all this really mean? I can say when you are first starting out, do you need these insoles to really get your feet moving and begin the process? No, Absolutely not. But I can also say that once you get into things, figure out what shoes are the best for you and you are looking for easy ways to upgrade, improve your experience, this is something I will readily recommend going forward that provides a lot of bang for your buck. While not a “need to have” item, they are definitely a “very nice to have” one. If you are looking for a way to add a little more cush and fit to your current shoes, it might just be worth your while to take a look at these and see if they work as well for you as they do for me.
OK, thanks again for reading, and as always, I hope this helps.
I am approaching this review from my standard viewpoint of what I believe the core interest of this blog really gets at: that is to say I am presenting my review by looking at this product from the perspective of a person who is relatively new to the running world, has some weight to lose and wants go about losing the weight by starting to incorporate a more active lifestyle and want to know how sift through the volumes of available gear/ equipment out there.
One of the great benefits to running a blog like this one is that it puts me in a position from time to time to receive various products to use and review for you. Oftentimes, these items are provided to me free of charge. This is the only type of compensation I have ever received, and my acceptance of these items in no way constitutes any obligation to provide an unwarranted positive review. My opinions on the products are unfiltered and 100% my own.
**This product was provided to me free of charge, but again, this does not influence my review or views on the product in any way**
Also please note that these are the personal opinions and experiences of one individual (me) on my personal blog, and intended to be taken as such. I personally, and The Running My Ass Off Blog do not accept any liability from the purchase or use of any products reviewed on this blog.
**Sorry, just have to cover my ass here. These are unbiased reviews, intended only to help. I’m not going to try and sell you anything, nor do I want you to take my opinions as the final word on any product. Let me help you figure out what you should check out, and then check the stuff out for yourself to see if you like it.**