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The flagship product from eSoles is their ePro fully custom footbed. It’s made to order based on a 3D scan of your foot, weight distribution on a pressure mat, and data input from a touch-screen computer user interface.
The entire system is self-contained as a retail kiosk, and it generates a ticket with all the information for the retail store staff to order a pair of custom-molded ePro insole. It sounds awesome, and likely is, but so far despite rapid growth from eSoles, kiosks are located in only a limited number of states.
On the other hand, the less expensive and easier to obtain eFit system is meant to be customizable by the user and doesn’t require a foot scan (although the foot scan device also outputs exact eFit configuration information, if it’s the product you’re shopping for). A $70 eFit insole kit includes a sized insole, a selection of arch supports and two options for metatarsal pads.
There are different kits that include components of different rigidity based on the user’s planned activity. For example, the “dynamic” kit is meant for golf, walking, and cross training, whereas the “supportive” kit offers more rigid arch support for cycling, skiing, or skating. The folks at eSoles say the shapes and sizes of the footbed components were selected based on more than 50,000 aggregated foot scans. The insole assembles like a puzzle as you follow the simple-but-detailed instructions for finding your perfect fit.
Following the instructions to assemble the insoles is easy. Velcro on the top of the arch support overlap and on the bottom of the insole holds everything together. We didn’t have any problem following the instructions to build my insoles, nor with trying several different combinations of arch support and metatarsal padding. Moving the insoles from one shoe to the next is not a problem, either — they are true to size and fit a wide variety of cycling shoes.
eSoles suggests a gradually increasing adjustment time of a few hours per day for several days. We tried several combinations, finally settling on the smallest of the arch supports and the larger of the metatarsal pads.
We did like the metatarsal pad, but weren’t convinced on the arch support. We never achieved the level of comfort we’d hoped for. The ability to swap sizes and find the right fit is great, but the shape of the arch support may not be fully dialed in.
Compared to Superfeet insoles, a similar product with smooth contours for the entire surface of the insole, the arch supports in the eFit system feel like they protrude too obtrusively and abruptly from the rest of the insole. And while proper arch support for cycling is meant to be firm and unyielding, we think it needs to be much more accurately shaped if it’s going to work in this specific application.
With that in mind, we would be very curious to see if the Dynamic or Super Dynamic version of an eFit system would be more comfortable. Both have more give in the arch support. Alternatively, we’d love to try a complete ePro foot scan and workup for 100-percent custom insoles. The process sounds quite similar to a podiatry analysis, but faster and less expensive.
In any case, our suggestion would be to try eFit in a controlled setting or at the store first. Or better yet, seek out a retail kiosk and try the custom ePro option. In either case, if you’re not happy, eSoles has a 30-day money back guarantee.