For the past couple of months, I have been hiking all over California in a pair of Cadence Insoles. Created by John Hinds, a physical therapist focused on orthopedic and sports rehabilitation, these over the counter insoles are designed to not only offer you excellent arch support, but superior cushioning as well.
The Cadence Insoles are constructed in three layers. The bottom layer is a specially designed 3/4 length semi-rigid orthotic shell that supports the three arches of your foot. The middle layer is made from a closed cell polyurethane foam that provides long lasting shock absorption for heel to toe comfort. The insole top cover is treated with Agion anti-microbial technology to inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungus, and other nasties that lurk in your shoes.
When the support structure in your foot is weakened, such as with collapsed arches or overpronation, your muscles must work harder to keep your feet, knees, hips, and back in alignment. Heel, arch, ball-of-foot, knee, leg, and even lower back pain can all result from improper arch support and misalignment of your heel and forefoot as you walk.
Insoles can help you achieve proper alignment, resulting in less repetitive stress on your joints and muscles. Proper support also improves pressure distribution across the bottom of your foot and can enhance your reaction time and balance.
I have relatively low medial arches after years of hiking and running. I found success in the support of Footbalance insoles to help rid me of knee pain when hiking. Although these custom insoles offer great support, they are not overly cushioning.
I find when I am backpacking, especially through the hard granite trails of the Sierras carrying a loaded pack, my body appreciates a little extra cushioning. After breaking my ankle in a bouldering accident a few years ago, I often experience plantar fasciitis type heel pain, especially after a long day on the trail. The foam layer of the Cadence Insoles creates an extra level of comfort, with a deep heel cup that cradles your heel and provides maximum cushioning to the area to help alleviate pain.
For those of you into zero drop footwear, the Cadence Insoles are a great way to get a little extra cushioning without sacrificing on the minimalist experience. As with any new insole, you want to take your time getting used to them as they may change the way you move ever so slightly. The first few times I went hiking in my Cadence Insoles, I seemed to be tripping over everything.
The Cadence Insoles are quite a bit wider that other insoles, so you may have problems fitting them in some of your shoes. You can't really trim them to fit, as the rigid base plate and foam layer are not easy to cut. I could not fit the insoles in my Skora Form running shoes for example, but they did fit fine into my Oboz hiking shoes.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for an insole that provides both arch support and cushioning, check out Cadence Insoles.
The Cadence Insoles retail for $44.95 and can be purchased from the company website. Unfortunately, the insoles come in one design, so you can't customize your level of support.