When you’re choosing a pair of insoles, it’s important to find ones that best address your individual needs. Different insoles are designed for different types of use. Many insole manufacturers have models made specifically for running or for foot pain relief. There are also insoles designed to help athletes perform at their highest level.
Our option for an insole for athletes is the Tread Labs Dash. We're comparing it to Superfeet's performance insole option - Superfeet Carbon. These two insoles have some features in common, but there are some key differences you’ll want to consider as you decide which one is best for you.
Let’s start with what these two insoles have in common. They both:
But there are many differences between Superfeet Carbon insoles and Tread Labs Dash insoles. Let’s start by summarizing the details, which were compiled from a physical examination of each pair of insoles and through information provide on each company’s website, in the comparison chart below.
|SUPERFEET CARBON INSOLES||TREAD LABS DASH INSOLES|
|Company History||Superfeet was created by Dennis Brown and Chris Smith. They founded Superfeet Worldwide in 1977 as the Sports Medicine division of Northwest Podiatric Laboratory. They began with a simple mission: to design and manufacture affordable professional-grade orthotics with as much medical knowledge as they could pack into them at a fraction of the price of custom-crafted orthotics.||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.|
|“Breakthrough technology uses the strength of carbon fiber with ultralight foam to create one of the most innovative, high performance Superfeet insoles ever.”||“Dash insoles are designed for athletes who want to boost performance while minimizing risk of injury. Whether you’re grinding up a hill or pounding the pavement, you generate significant force on your feet. Dash insoles improve biomechanics and deliver superior energy return from an ultra-firm 100% carbon fiber arch support and ventilated top cover.”|
|Arch Support/Shape||Arch support is concentrated towards the back of the arch.||Arch support comes further forward to support the entire arch.|
|Firmness (Pressure to deflect the arch support 5mm)||8 lbs. Firm but can be flexed in your hand. Good, general support.||18 lbs. Extremely firm. Very difficult to flex with your hand. Best for people who overpower standard insoles.|
|Fit/Sizing||6 sizes cover from men’s 3.5 to 15. Unisex sizing. Each size covers 1.5 full shoe sizes. Insoles are designed to be trimmed to fit your shoes.||10 sizes cover men’s 4 to men’s 13. Unisex sizing. Each size covers 1 full shoe size. Insoles generally do not need to be trimmed.|
|Arch Height(s)||“Low arch orthotic support helps stabilize the foot, reducing stress on feet, ankles, knees and back.”||“Each size is available in 4 arch heights to accurately match the contours of your feet.”|
|Cushioning||Closed cell polyethylene foam feels firm and slides into shoes easily. Thickness at the forefoot is 3.2mm.||Open cell polyurethane foam has good resiliency. Not as easy to slide into your shoes. Thickness at the forefoot is 5mm. The foam is noticeably softer than Superfeet Carbon.|
|Durability||Cleanly executed, the arch supports are made of EVOLyte®, a plastic/carbon fiber blend. The closed cell foam appears firm and long lasting. Superfeet claims the lifespan of this product is 12 months or 500 miles – whichever comes first.||Tread Labs insoles are made with a unique 2-part system. The arch supports are made of 100% carbon fiber cloth infused with resin and are guaranteed forever. The foam top covers can be replaced ($18) as necessary. Company literature claims top covers last 6-12 months.|
|Guarantee (from manufacturer)||Fit – Superfeet offers a 60-day money back satisfaction guarantee. Customer pays return shipping.||Tread Labs offers a 90-day money back satisfaction guarantee. Return shipping is free.|
|Odor Control||Organic, odor controlling coating. All-natural coating eliminates odor-causing bacteria.||PURE™ silver ion treatment will not wash out or degrade.|
|Shipping Costs (from manufacturer)||FedEx Ground Shipping (5-7 days) = $7.00||USPS First Class Shipping (2-3 Days) = Free|
|URL||Superfeet Carbon Insoles||
Tread Labs Dash Insoles
Both Superfeet Carbon and Tread Labs Dash are quality insoles, designed to be thinner, lighter and firmer than other models in each company’s lineup. Both insoles are perfect for athletes who want to optimize their performance and decrease risk of injury with firm arch support that corrects the biomechanical issues. They are also ideal for people with flat feet.
Like many insole manufacturers, Superfeet’s arch support is concentrated toward the back of the heel. Tread Labs elongates its support across the entire arch. As Superfeet explains in their FAQs, pronation control is effectively executed at the rear of the arch.
“Some Superfeet insoles may feel different than you expected. This design is intentional — the contours of each insole are positioned to have maximum impact on the way your foot functions as you move. However, your comfort is key — if the insole feels uncomfortable to you, try a different Superfeet style.”
While Tread Labs provides support at the rear of the arch as well, they also extend the support to the front of the arch. This is more comfortable for some people.
Like all Superfeet’s insoles, the Carbon is available in only one arch height. Tread Labs’ Dash insole is available in four arch heights – low, medium, high and extra high – for a semi-custom fit.
The Tread Labs Dash insoles are more than twice as firm as Superfeet Carbon insoles. Perhaps it is the difference between infused carbon fiber cloth (Tread Labs) and EVOLyte®, a plastic with carbon fibers in it (Superfeet). If you believe that maximum support is best for your performance, Dash insoles would be your choice. If you are looking for more of a general level of support, Superfeet Carbon might be best.
Superfeet Carbon is available in fewer sizes than Tread Labs Dash, however those sizes cover a wider range, offering an option for people with feet sized at either end of the spectrum. Tread Labs Dash has smaller increments between sizes. The combination of smaller sizing increments and four arch heights gives a precise fit for just about every foot.
While the arch supports on the Dash insoles are firmer than the Superfeet Carbon, the foam on the Dash insoles is much softer. The Superfeet Carbon will slide into your shoes easier, and may not compress as fast as the Dash, but the Dash will provide more cushioning, especially at the ball of the foot.
Both insoles have a ventilated top cover for breathability and an anti-odor coating to help reduce bacteria.
One of the biggest differences between these two insoles is in the durability. The base of the Superfeet Carbon insole is a proprietary blend of carbon fiber and polymer called EVOLyte®. The arch support used in Tread Labs Dash insoles is 100% carbon fiber, making it extremely strong and stable while also being lightweight and thin. Both insoles appear to use the same fabric atop the foam layer.
Superfeet advises their insoles keep their shape for up to 12 months or 500 miles. Additionally, the top cover fabric and foam will wear over time and the entire insole will need to be replaced.
Tread Labs offers a different approach. Their arch supports are guaranteed for life. And because their insoles are made with a unique 2-part system, the top covers are easily replaceable ($18) when they eventually wear out.
Multiple factors are in play when it comes to value – durability, construction, performance, and price. Superfeet is significantly less expensive to purchase initially than Tread Labs Dash, however the materials used in the insole are less expensive to manufacture than the 100% carbon fiber used by Tread Labs. When you consider long-term ownership and the option to replace the top covers on Tread Labs when they wear out, the value is in Tread Labs favor.
This chart is based on an active user who puts 500 miles on their insoles every 6 months. With Superfeet, when your insoles wear out, they must be replaced. With Tread Labs, only the top cover is replaced, the arch support is guaranteed forever. If your usage pattern is more modest or you’re lighter on your feet, your savings will be different.
|Initial Purchase||6 months||12 months||18 months||24 months|
|Tread Labs Ramble||$105.00||$123.00||$141.00||$159.00||$177.00|
Both Superfeet and Tread Labs make product selection as easy as possible with insole finder tools that match you with the best insole for your needs. Tread Labs offers multiple arch heights in each of their insole models, rather than creating more styles of insoles, each available in one arch height, like Superfeet does.
Both products are marketed to athletes looking for insoles that are unparalleled when it comes to being lightweight, incredibly thin, and super strong. Superfeet Carbon are quality insoles offering a modest level of support at a great entry price point. They are available with a low arch height and thin foam top cover. Tread Labs Dash insoles are almost twice the price, but offer substantially more support, a lifetime arch support guarantee and replaceable foam top covers. While there are similarities in the target consumers, the products are quite different. As both offer a money-back guarantee, you can be the judge!
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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.
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