When you're looking for more comfort from your footwear, you'll find a ton of insoles to choose from. You may have heard of Protalus, and you might even have their best-selling insole, the M100, in your shoes now. But how do they compare to Tread Labs Ramble insoles? Let's find out.
The first thing to consider when you're shopping for insoles is the type of insole you need. Two common types of over-the-counter insoles are:
Accommodative insoles – Made of 100% foam or softer plastics, these insoles provide an added layer of cushioning in your shoes. However, they offer limited benefit to your feet as they aren't supportive enough to change the way you walk or stand. Accommodative insoles won't correct your alignment, so they won't help with pain in your knees, hips or back. You can usually find this inexpensive type of insoles at your local pharmacy.
Functional insoles – More expensive than accommodative insoles, functional insoles provide a firm structure made to support your arches and improve your alignment. They offer a long-term solution for foot pain and can also help with ankle, knee, hip and back pain.
Both insoles feature:
Compiled with information from company websites and direct observation, this chart compares Protalus M100 (shown above, right) toe-to-toe with Tread Labs Ramble (shown above, left).
|Protalus M100||Tread Labs Ramble|
|Company History||Christopher Buck started Protalus when his son was having foot and back pain that inhibited his ability to walk. “Our company culture is about improving your life so you can continue to do what you do; live out your purpose and passions in comfort.”||Tread Labs was started in 2015 by Mark Paigen, founder of Chaco sandals. Building on the biomechanical concepts that made Chaco customers raving brand advocates, he developed the 2-part system and Million Mile Guarantee.|
|Product Description||Ultimate Comfort, Greatest Degree Of Arch Support, Ideal For Larger / Wider Shoes||When your footwear is missing proper support, foot fatigue comes on strong. Adding Ramble insoles provides your feet with the foundation they need to keep moving comfortably, unleashing more energy in every step. Ideal for running shoes, hiking boots and other footwear with full length removable inserts. Top covers are 5mm thick.|
Men’s 4 to 13.5 and Women’s 5 to 12.5. Each size covers 1 whole shoe size. Insoles generally do not need to be trimmed. Each size is available in 4 arch heights to accurately match the contours of your feet.
A combination of white, molded EVA foam and blue Poron. Poron thickness at heel is 4mm and at forefoot is 3mm. Total thickness of EVA and Poron is 5.8mm at forefoot, 10.5mm at heel. Poron is a very high quality, long-lasting closed-cell cushioning material
|Single density, open cell polyurethane foam has excellent resiliency. Total thickness is 5.2mm at the forefoot, 9mm at the heel. The foam is noticeably softer than Protalus M100, but harder to slide into shoes.|
|Durability||On the Protalus M or T series insoles, when new, the blue cushion on the bottom is full and even looking. Over time it becomes flatter and more compressed. With daily use, this will happen faster than with occasional use. Typically, it takes 4 to 6 months for Protalus insoles to wear out, but it can take longer depending on usage.||Tread Labs offers a unique 2-part system. The molded arch supports are covered by the Million Mile Guarantee. If they crack or lose shape, Tread Labs will replace them. The interchangeable foam top covers can be replaced inexpensively as necessary. Tread Labs says the open-cell, urethane foam top covers last 6-12 months.|
|Company Fit Guarantee||Protalus offers a 90 day satisfaction guarantee. Pre-paid return labels are available.||Tread Labs offers a 90-day satisfaction guarantee. Insoles can be returned or exchanged with a pre-paid return label.|
|Odor Control||The fabric is anti-bacterial and moisture-wicking.||Fabric is coated with Pure antimicrobial treatment, which kills odor-causing bacteria.|
|Shipping Cost (when ordered from company site)||USPS Shipping (3-5 business days) = Free||
USPS First Class Shipping (2-3 Days) = Free
While either option will provide you with more comfort and support than the factory insoles that come in your shoes, there are significant differences you'll want to consider before you make your decision to buy.
Protalus M100 insoles come in a wider size range than Tread Labs Ramble insoles. The M100s start with a youth series in kid’s size 13.5 and extend through men’s size 15. If you're looking for insoles for smaller or larger feet, you may find Protalus' range more suitable.
While Tread Labs has a smaller size range, their insoles are available in 4 different arch heights; low, medium, high, and extra high. This assures you a fit that accurately matches the contours of your feet, which is essential to effective arch support. Protalus offers the M-100 in a single arch height.
Both insoles are full-length and are meant to replace the removable inserts that come in your shoes. Although both are designed for a true-to-size fit, they can be trimmed at the toe if necessary. Protalus and Tread Labs both accept returns of trimmed insoles.
The M100's EVA and Poron foams are noticeably firmer and less cush than Ramble's open-cell foam. Because Protalus uses a non-breathable foam, they added perforations for air flow. Tread Labs uses a breathable foam and do not perforate the forepart of the insoles.
Firm support more effectively improves your alignment and corrects improper biomechanics.
Testing equipment shows Tread Labs Ramble insoles offer firmer arch support than Protalus M100. Tread Labs firmer support is enhanced by the 4 arch heights. If you've never worn supportive insoles before, you may find the M100 to be more accommodating and easier to adjust to than the Ramble.
The Poron used on the bottom of the M100's is considered very durable, however the EVA foam and softer plastic arch support will degrade faster than the firmer arch support used in the Tread Labs Ramble.
Although there's just a few dollars difference in price, it's important to consider value over time.
Protalus recommends you replace the M100 insoles every 4-6 months, depending on usage. Tread Labs arch supports are guaranteed forever while the top covers should be replaced every 6-12 months.
Let's say you wear your insoles daily and replace your insoles (or top covers if you're wearing Tread Labs) every six months. There's a significant difference between the two when it comes to wear and tear on your wallet.
|Initial Purchase||6 months||12 months||18 months||24 months|
|Tread Labs Ramble||$55||$70||$85||$100||$115|
If you are light on your feet or modest in your activities, your replacement frequency will be less frequent, and your overall savings will be different.
While we believe Tread Labs insoles are the best available, Protalus does make a high-quality product with certain advantages. Their wide size range (junior to large adult) offers quality product to virtually every size. If you have a low to medium arch and don't require strong support, they're a good choice. Your feet will easily adjust to them and they'll slide into your shoes with ease.
If you're in the market for firmer support and are looking for long-term value from a pair of insoles, Tread Labs Ramble insoles are the way to go. You'll get a firmer arch support and save substantially over time. Replaceable top covers create less waste and 4 arch heights provide a semi-custom fit.
Both Protalus and Tread Labs were started on the idea that the stock footbeds that come in your footwear offer inadequate arch support. Whether you choose Tread Labs Ramble or Protalus M100, your feet will be getting the support they need to take another step.
Questions? Drop us a line at email@example.com. We're here to help.
Mark has always believed exceptional footwear can change lives. He's been in the footwear industry for over 30 years, working with podiatrists, pedorthists, foot care experts, and footwear makers. Mark started Chaco sandals in 1989 and developed a game-changing sport sandal that delivered comfort and durability. After Chaco sold in 2009, Mark ultimately started Tread Labs to continue transforming people's footwear so they can walk better, feel better, live better.
by Mark Paigen 6 min readRead More