Tread Labs Ramble Comfort Insole Kit
Tread Labs Ramble Comfort Insole Kit
This review might feel a little different than my typical, gear-nerd write-ups, because, well this one turned out to be a bit more personal than usual. I spend a lot of time on my feet, summers pounding trails for the Bureau of Land Management in western Colorado, and winter ski patrolling which requires contorting my feet into ski boots for over 100 days a year.
The latter of these two activities has started to take a toll on my feet and the pain and concern are growing with each new season. Among the many modifications I perform on my ski boots and liners, one of the first is to pull out the stock insole and trim, tape, shim, hack them into something new. It was just about that time of year again for me to dig out the duct tape and scissors when I received an email asking if I’d like to test out an insole set from Tread Labs. Needless to say, the timing was perfect and I was keen on some relief.
Tread Labs uses a two-piece system for their insoles, with a molded plastic arch support piece and foam top pad that attaches via Velcro. The top pads have a recyclable polyester cover that’s abrasion-resistant and low friction to prevent hotspots/blisters, are infused with a permanent anti-microbial and are easily replaceable. Additionally, the top covers are made to be easily trimmable match different foot and shoe shapes. The molded plastic arch support is “unconditionally guaranteed forever” with a bold million-mile lifespan claim. A million miles sounds great, but at the moment I’m just hoping I don’t lose any toes.
I went through the “Fit Finder” tool on the Tread Labs website, and they sent me the Ramble Comfort Series Insole Kit with medium arch support based on the questionnaire results. The kit comes with the standard 5mm insole, a thin 3mm insole, a short 3mm insole, and one molded plastic arch support to be swapped between top covers as needed. Right away I trimmed the thin 3mm insole top cover to match my ski boot liner and put it in without the plastic arch support. The reoccurring issue with my new ski boots has felt like a tight toe box (even after heat molding the liners) leading to numb, cold toes most days, so I figured the thin insole cover without the plastic support piece would stay low profile and help circulation. The next day I was rethawing my toes and aching feet again wondering what else to try.
I trimmed more off the thin top cover to give more toe wiggle room and went for a skin that afternoon. Numb again. After trying a few different things with the liners to no avail, I was starting to feel a little desperate. I remembered that I had shoved the other insoles from the Ramble kit, the standard and short, into my trail runners and snow boots just to get some time in on those insoles. The standards were going to be way too thick in my ski boots of the Ramble thins were too much, but the shorts seemed like they might do the trick, so I slid the Ramble short insoles with the plastic molded arch support into my ski boots and hoped for the best.
The first day out using the Ramble shorts I put in 14 miles, 6000 vert and a quick stint to 14,000 feet in late December. The plastic arch support felt a little odd at first, but eventually I stopped noticing it, and more importantly, I could feel my toes. Encouraged, I kept the Ramble short insoles with the plastic arch support in for the next work week patrolling and each day I could feel a little improvement in my toes and circulation and less ache at the end of the day. Using the short insole I was able to free up toe space in the boot liner, and it seems that the molded, plastic arch support piece even helped promote better circulation in my foot beyond just arch support.
I know this seems more like a plug for just the Tread Labs Ramble Short Insole, and in some ways it is, but I would also say that this is thank you to Tread Labs for providing me with a set of tools, options to find a solution to my unique foot problem. At the start, I didn’t exactly know what my foot needed, usually just what didn’t help, but through experimentation with the Ramble insole kit I was able to figure out something that worked. In some ways I kind of appreciate that Tread Labs isn’t just selling a magic bullet insole that will meet everyone’s needs, but that they understand every foot is different, and every foot, every shoe has a different need and make a product to address that reality. Whether you’re tired of being in pain or just looking for more comfort, check out Tread Labs and see what they can do for you.