Review - SOLESTAR Supportive Cycling Insoles

Review - SOLESTAR Supportive Cycling Insoles
Supporting the arch and heel of your foot when cycling is crucial to both performance and injury prevention. Supportive insoles such as those from SOLESTAR help to hold your foot in a safe and secure position, allowing for maximum power transfer, and maximum support throughout your pedal stroke.

When you push down on the pedals, it places great force through the arch and ball of your foot. You transmit power through a relatively small surface area underneath your shoe's foot bed, so cycling shoes are made to be stiff so that the power transfer is not lost by the flexing of the shoe. However, few riders consider the lost power from the foot itself flexing during the pedal stroke, equally they do not consider the potential for injury when your foot abnormally contorts.

During work I did with Phil Burt, the lead physiotherapist at British Cycling, he highlighted how important the structure of a cycling shoe is to power transfer. For the Beijing and London Olympic Games they designed custom carbon fibre shoes for the GB track sprinters, because it was found that compared to a shoe with little arch and heel support these new fully enveloping shoes could contribute to an increase of 10% in power transfer. Supporting the arch and heel of your foot allows the knee to track optimally through the pedal stroke, and therefore for the muscles to engage fully and produce maximum power transfer.

Arch and heel support is also crucial to injury prevention. If your arch is collapsing slightly as you pedal, or your heel is twisting in the shoe, then you increase the chance of strain being placed on your knees and hips; not dissimilar to the injuries that can occur from poor cleat alignment.

Custom carbon shoes moulded to your feet are expensive though, and largely un-necessary unless you are a top track sprinter like Sir Chris Hoy. A set of supportive insoles, coupled with a good pair of well-fitted cycling shoes will maximise power transfer and reduce the chance of injury.

SOLESTAR is a German firm that specialises in producing a range of top-level supportive insoles for cycling. They are quite easily the best-designed and best-made examples of orthotics for cycling shoes that I have come across to date.

The SoleStar range for cycling is made up of four models: The BLK series race insoles, the KONTROL series support insoles, the TOUR series comfort insoles, and the IP3 series for all-round support at an entry level price point. The best pair for you will depend on your style of riding:
  • BLK series - Maximum stability and power transfer. Moderate dampening, Minimal flex. Strongest support within the SOLESTAR range due to the carbon core inside the insoles.
  • KONTROL series - High stability and power transfer. Moderate dampening. Moderate flex for walking due to a glass fiber core.
  • TOUR series - Medium stability and power transfer. High level dampening. High flex for walking.
  • IP3 Ergon - Lower stability and power transfer. Moderate dampening. High flex for walking.
A road racer requires max power and rarely has to walk off the bike, so the BLK Series is best for them. The KONTROL Series offers slightly less stability, but is significantly cheaper. Endurance or touring cyclists want maximum dampening to improve comfort on and off the bike, so the TOUR is great for them. Finally, those looking for all-round support at an entry-level price point will be well suited to the IP3 range.

Unlike some insole manufacturers, SOLESTAR do not produce insoles with different levels of arch support, rather each model has a different flex or cushioning properties, but all of them provide similar support for your arch through their glass fibre construction. This is because it has been found that regardless whether you have a high or a low arch profile, the critical factor is ensuring that the arch is supported to bring the knee into the correct rotational plane, which is universal for the majority of anatomies. This is why everyone from top-level sprinters such as Andre Greipel, through to female cyclists on the Canyon SRAM Team have chosen SOLESTAR to improve power transfer and comfort; it provides maximum support, without the need for lengthy and potential erroneous fitting processes.

I have been using SOLESTAR insoles for the last few months, and they are quite frankly superb. They provide more support, more comfort, and noticeably more power transfer throughout the pedal stroke.

I have the BLK version in my road shoes, the KONTROL in my MTB shoes, and the TOUR series in my long distance riding shoes. The IP3 version is also great for commuting/errand cycling shoes.

The complete range of SOLESTAR insoles has done wonders for reducing my knee niggles, and avoiding foot pain whilst riding. I would certainly recommend them.

>> View the SOLESTAR range at solestar.de here <<


Review - SOLESTAR Supportive Cycling Insoles

Review - SOLESTAR Supportive Cycling Insoles

Review - SOLESTAR Supportive Cycling Insoles

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