I bought some new shoes and they came with an insole that’s barely more than a thin layer of foam. That is, they are not supportive in any meaningful way. Been watching some videos with James Thomas who has some awesome bike fit videos IMO, and he always seems to recommend the G8 Performace 2620 insoles, which offer a modular system. I’ve tried the Specialized mid arch insoles in the past but don’t really feel any different (perhaps I have a high arch, guy at the shop seemed clueless and picked out mid for me). I’ve also looked at the Solestar BLK as well as Superfeet Green and Sof Sole. There are tons of options at different price points. I have to say I’m a little overwhelmed. What insoles are you guys using? Do I need an in-person visit to get my fit? For those who have spent the money on the G8 or Solestar, are they worth it? Are fully custom the way to go? I’m lost.
I use the Giro inserts which come with their high end shoes, but I also believe you can buy them separately as well. You can customize between low/med/high arch.
I’ve tried other insoles, but they are always too thick and seem to be made for runners vs. Cyclist’s as far as fit goes.
G8 performance 2620 user here. I fitted them and set them up as conservatively supportive. I had a bike fit a few months later and they were tweaked there, I just took the box with me with all the different arches in. Overall I like them and found them worth the money, I paid £90 2 years ago. They’ve held up well on 6 hours a week average use.
On the negative side -
I didn’t like how much they cost considering that they are plastic and foam. You’re essentially paying a premium for a specialist product.
I also don’t quite follow the G8 marketing talk about progressively increasing amount of arch support over time.
I have Giro shoes and the stock insoles packed down over time. I replaced them with the Superfeet Carbon and they are excellent. Low profile, moderate height, stiff support.
I have shallow/low volume feet, so a thicker insole usually helps to fill up the shoe for me.
I find Align insoles really comfortable, but they are very heavy. I use them in my trainer shoes (and ski boots).
I bought some Solestar insoles, but the shape did not suit my feet. They seem to have an arch on the outside of the foot just in front of the heel that just digs into my foot.
My latest Shimano road and gravel shoes are quite narrow and fit nice and tight with the included insoles/arch supports and one forefoot wedge.
I use G8. Threy are ridiculously expensive in comparision what they are as a product but the difference is enormous. The support feels great, and there is also an effect of “virtual support” - so when your sole feel something your muscles stalibilze. For more detailed info of course BikeFitJames on Francis Cade YT channel. Are they worth money - definitely. Does buying them pains as hell - definitely.
I was a big fan of the G8 2620 insoles, and they were a significant improvement for me over stock insoles. I retired my G8’s when I saw a sports medicine orthopedic specialist who referred me to have custom footbeds made. These were done by 3D imaging, and resulted in a fully custom insole for each foot. This alllowed me to throw away the wedges and shims that I had previously, and I am very happy with them. The best part is if you have good medical insurance these might cost no more than a copay.
My fitter recommended the Performance line from Sole. I’m sure glad he didn’t recommend G8!
Go to a place like REI with your cycling shoes and try some different ones on. For cycling, I’ve used Superfeet and Sole. I really like Sole lately.
So what I’m reading is that the G8 are good, but expensive. Which kind of irks me on a related note of cycling shoe cost. You pay $300-400 or more (looking at you Specialized) and they give you an insole that probably cost pennies to make and are just about worthless. The shoes I bought were on sale for $275, which is still a lot of money to not include a decent insole. My CX/gravel shoes are Shimano and they did come with an okay insole with adjustable arch support that does a decent job. My Giro Empire knit didn’t come with anything.
The one thing I have heard about the G8 is that the wedge isn’t super stiff, and needs a stiff upper to work. Which makes knit shoes not great. I wonder if somebody could 3D print a copy that is stiff and could swap in. Either way I might just start with the Specialized BodyGeo insoles since they’re on sale for like $30. Solestar does have a 6 week money back guarantee which is good to know.
Those look nice at a decent price.
One of my major issues with Bont were their paper-thin ‘inserts’ they ship with. I speculated Kraft Single cheese slices would be better… and I haven’t heard from Bont since. Apparently they now do proper insoles… for an additional US$100.
These are my go-to. In blue. I have a set of G8 but can’t justify their prices for my other shoes.
And a handy “just in case” source of calories. I’ll stop there.
I’m with you here. If I only had one pair of shoes I could probably justify the price. But with 2 sets of road shoes (1 fair weather all white and 1 all other conditions all black) plus an off-road pair, I can’t buy 3 sets at those prices. Whereas 3 sets of the Specialized BG insoles are less than $100 right now on sale, which is still quite a bit cheaper than a single set of G8 2620s.
I was running Icebug slims, but was getting numb feet after about 70 miles. Switched to Specialized Blue and haven’t looked back.
I like James’ bike fit videos
I tried specialized, superfeet, and solestar. The solestar kontrol are the only ones that have worked for me. For me, it’s the 3-4+ hour mark when problems arise. Specialized and superfeet insoles were good for a couple or hours for me before things went south.
Insoles are very personal. I used the default S-Phyre insoles with the high arch pad for a long time and then they wore out. It took a lot of testing to figure out what worked best for me. Personally, Specialized wasn’t a good fit based on the more forward setup of the arch support. Ultimately, Superfeet worked best based on my foot shape. My recommendation is that you try a bunch and see what works.
I use G8 and would recommend them, despite their price which has gone up an insane amount. The ability to change their setup is fantastic. I use them in Bont shoes and have had to file down the edges under my 5th metatarsal as it was too think in combination with their bathtub style outsole.
Edit to add: the customer support from the inventor of the G8 soles is very good. I’ve emailed and whatsapped with him and he’s been very informative and helpful. I also have the new Bont insoles made by Coba9. I find the arch support is placed too far back for my feet, and you can’t move it like the G8
Currently using specialized body geo green (+++) – definitely less numbness in feet than the blue but the arch support does feel a little far forward. May have to check out some of these other ideas listed here.
And yeah - the stock insoles are pretty pathetic.
I got custom orthotics from a podiatrist and am in feet heaven when they’re in my cycling shoes (Lake 241). My feet are almost never a thing I think about even on long rides. I’ve learned over the years of getting custom orthotics that the best kind are the ones made from a cast molding of the foot when it’s in a relaxed position. The insoles that come from the technique of stepping into a box of squishy material that creates a mold I find to be inferior. What I love about getting custom orthotics (at least the ones my current Dr are making me) are that I have a corn on each foot in different spots. My podiatrist was able to make pressure relieving channels in the areas under the corn, sort of like the ones on bike saddles, and so my corns get less pressure and friction.
The inserts I get come from a podiatrist that modifies them to allow less flexion in my feet. In essence a raised piece is under the upper middle of my foot. Works great and is all of $60 Canadian.