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Tread Labs Stride Reusable Orthotic Insoles Review

Illustrates the separate arch and footbed components

Tread Labs’ orthotic insoles come in two pieces: a hard plastic arch support that also helps prevent plantar fasciitis and a replaceable fabric top cover that can be replaced when it wears out. This can save you a lot of money and cuts down on waste if you walk or hike a lot and use third- party insoles to protect your feet.

Specs at a Glance

  • Sizes: Men’s (8-9.5, 10-11.5, 12-13.5) and Women’s (5-6.5, 7-8.5, 9-10.5)
  • Arch Heights: Thin, Medium, High, Extra High
  • Trim to Fit: Yes
  • Antimicrobial treatment: Yes

The vast majority the running shoes, low hikes, mids, and hiking boots available today have really crappy foam insoles that wear out quickly and don’t provide any arch support (one notable exception are Oboz boots and shoes). It’s kind of scandalous that you have to pay extra for insoles when you consider how much hiking shoes and hiking boots cost.

Wear and tear of Superfeet insoles
When Superfeet Insoles wear-out the top cover gets worn off, showing the plastic below it

Third-party insoles are needed by about one-third of hikers and backpackers. In addition to added arch support, they cup your heel to prevent it from pronating or supinating (turning in or out) which can lead to plantar fasciitis, a painful and debilitating inflammation of the foot arch that can take months to heal.

What Tread Labs has done is to separate the hard plastic arch support from the fabric cover. The arch support never wears out, so there’s no point in ever throwing it out. Right? The molded arch supports are unconditionally guaranteed. Forever. While the interchangeable top covers are easy to replace, as often as you need. That cuts down on plastic waste and saves you a lot of money.

Tread Labs also sells a selection of different insole covers for different purposes. For example, I wear trail runners for hiking and need a very thin top cover like their Stride Thin so that my toes don’t rub against the top of my shoes’ toe box. For my winter boots, I can use the thicker Stride Insole and top covers which provides more insulation and cushioning. Tread Labs even makes Stride Short Insoles and top covers for shoes that don’t come with removable inserts like women’s flats and men’s dress shoes. My wife likes those for her shoes.

Comparison of SuperFeet and Tread Labs arch supports
The arch support portions of Superfeet insoles (left) and those of Tread Labs (right) are very similar.

For example, I go through four pairs of SuperFeet Carbon Insoles every year and it’s expensive to replace them at $55/pair and $210 for the year. Tread Labs sells their reusable orthotic insoles for $75/pair and replacement fabric top covers for $15/pair. If I purchased three pairs of replacement fabric top covers, my total annual cost would $120, which is over 40% less than using SuperFeet. That’s a pretty significant year one savings and it grows larger when you take it out across multiple years.

Recommendation

I am very cautious about changing my hiking footwear because I hike a lot and my feet are very sensitive when it comes to insole changes. But I haven’t experienced any problems switching from SuperFeet Carbon Insoles to the Tread Lab’s Stride Thin Insoles, which work just as well inside my low volume trail running shoes. Like any new insole, you need to let your feet acclimatize to the change and ramp up slowly by wearing them a few hours a day at first. But in addition to a lower cost over the long term, I really like the sustainability benefits of reusing the Tread Labs arch support and just replacing the top covers when they wear out, instead of throwing both out every time I blow through a top cover. Therefore, I’d recommend giving Tread Labs Stride Insoles a try if you want to save money and reduce waste. It’s a simple idea, but it has benefits for us all.

Tread Labs Insoles even come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk in trying them out. Cool, huh?

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Last updated: 2019-09-20 18:56:41

Disclosure: The author received several pairs of insoles from Tread Labs in order to help a small manufacturer with new product testing and for review.

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11 comments

  1. Gotta ask,
    Do they come in different arch sizes?

  2. Which arch height did you get to match the superfeet carbon insoles the best? The superfeet have a bit too high of an arch for me- wondering if the low arch of the Tread Labs would be less prominent?

  3. “The arch support never wears out”
    Must be some new miracle plastic. I’ve worn custom orthotics without cushions or cloth for about 30 years. They get worn down by dust, grit, and gravel trapped in shoes. Eventually they become unusable. I get 5-10 years out of a pair.

    While you might not replace these Tread Lab arch supports as often as Superfeet – you will replace them eventually.

  4. OK, I wear Superfeet Carbon’s and love them. My question to you is; in terms of comfort and performance, which do you prefer?

    • The top cover of the Tread Labs is more cushioned which makes them far more comfortable after walking over rocks all day in trail runners. So I’m liking them more than the Carbons along that dimension. Otherwise, they’re virtually indistinguishable.

  5. I removed the fabric top from a pair of superfeet carbon insoles and put them under the factory insoles of my, Brooks Cascadias. I’ve gone through 5 pairs of shoes and have had success with over 2,500 miles and counting.

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