Whether you’re looking for insoles to relieve your foot pain, improve your athletic performance, or to bring back energy to your tired feet, it can be hard to know where to start. There are a lot of different types of insoles available from many different companies.
One brand you’ve likely seen while shopping online or in stores is Superfeet. They’ve been around for decades and have been dominant in the industry. So, how does Superfeet GREEN, their best-selling insole, compare to Tread Labs bestseller, the Pace insole?
Before we dig into the details, there are some insole basics you should know. When it comes to custom orthotics vs. over-the-counter insoles, Health Magazine says many podiatrists recommend trying off-the-shelf insoles first.
"An over-the-counter device is sometimes used as a trial prior to using a prescription insole, similar to using readers before getting prescription glasses," says Grace Torres-Hodges, DPM, a podiatrist based in Penascola, Florida. The fact is, very few people actually need custom orthotics. For the vast majority, over-the-counter insoles address their needs perfectly and are much more economical.
There are two main types of over-the-counter shoe insoles:
Superfeet Green insoles and Tread Labs Pace insoles both fall into the supportive insole category. And while they have some major differences, they are similar in a few ways. Both have:
This chart puts Superfeet GREEN (left) head-to-head with Tread Labs Pace (right). It’s based on information taken from each company’s website and direct observation.
|SUPERFEET GREEN INSOLES||TREAD LABS PACE 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.|
Product Description (from websites)
|GREEN offer affordable, professional-grade orthotic support, performance and comfort for anyone who wants their footwear to fit and feel better.||Don’t let the agony of foot pain keep you sidelined. Firm support from Pace insoles limits pronation, reduces stress on your plantar fascia and promotes proper body alignment. The perfect opponent for plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions. Ideal for running shoes, hiking boots and other footwear with full-length removable inserts.|
|Arch Support/Shape||Arch support is concentrated towards the back of the arch.||Arch support comes further forward to support the entire arch.|
|Fit/Sizing||8 sizes ranging from youth 13.5 to men’s 12.5+. Unisex sizing. Each size covers 2 full shoe sizes. Insoles are designed to be trimmed to fit your shoes. Superfeet GREEN insoles are available in a separate style for wide feet.||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. 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 xxmm.||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 GREEN.|
|Durability||Materials appear to have good durability. Durable plastic and closed-cell foam. Superfeet claims a lifespan of 12 months or 500 miles – whichever comes first.||Tread Labs offers a unique 2-part system. The molded arch supports are guaranteed. Forever. The interchangeable foam top covers can be replaced inexpensively as necessary. Tread Labs claims top covers last 6-12 months.|
|Company Fit Guarantee||SuperFeet offers a 60-day money back satisfaction guarantee. Customer pays return shipping.||Tread Labs offers a 30-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 (when ordered from company website)||FedEx Ground Shipping (5-7 days) = $7.00||USPS First Class Shipping (2-3 Days) = Free|
With their firm support, both Tread Labs Pace insoles and Superfeet GREEN are head and shoulders above the flat, foam inserts at your local drugstore. Remember, cushioning alone doesn’t lead to long-term comfort. Your feet need arch support to keep you moving comfortably and efficiently.
The placement and shape of the arch support on insoles is the key to pronation control, which is most effective when it comes from support at the rear of the arch. On all of Superfeet’s insoles, the arch support is further back than on Tread Labs insoles.
As Superfeet says on their site, “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.”
Tread Labs provides the support at the rear of the arch like Superfeet, but also extends the support forward to support more of the foot. Some people find this more comfortable. In addition to the difference in the arch shape, Tread Labs insoles are available in 4 arch heights to give a custom-like fit. Support that matches the contours of your feet works best, so a choice of arch heights ensures everyone, from very low to very high arches, can get a semi-custom fit.
Superfeet offer fewer sizes, but a wider size range overall. This is a definite advantage for very small feet or very large feet. Each insole size covers two whole sizes, which means you’ll likely have to trim your insoles. Superfeet GREEN does have a wide version for people with very wide feet.
Tread Labs offers more sizes in small increments between sizes for a more precise fit. This means you likely won’t have to trim your insoles to fit your shoes. Also, you can choose from 4 arch heights in every shoe size.
When comparing Superfeet GREEN to Tread Labs Pace insoles, you can feel a big difference in the cushion of the foam layer. Tread Labs Pace foam is softer and more resilient than the closed-cell foam SuperFeet GREEN uses.
Both insoles maximize the natural cushioning of the fatty pad beneath your heel but cupping it.
The fabric used on top of both Superfeet GREEN and Tread Labs Pace insoles appears to be the same. The foam used in SuperFeet GREEN looks quite firm and durable. Superfeet says it has a 12 month or 500 mile lifetime. Once the fabric or foam wears out, you’ll need to replace the insole.
While Tread Labs top covers should last from 6 to 12 months, their insoles are novel in that the top cover is easily replaceable when it wears out. The arch supports have a lifetime guarantee so that if they ever crack or lose shape, Tread Labs will replace them.
Durability, comfort, and price all contribute to the overall value of an insole. Superfeet is less expensive to purchase, especially if don’t have to pay shipping. However, replaceable top covers from Tread Labs offer better long-term value.
Say you’re an active user who puts 500 miles on your insoles in 6 months. The chart below shows your insole-related expenses over the course of two years.
|6 months||12 months||18 months||24 months|
|Tread Labs Pace||$65.00||$81.00||$97.00||$113.00||$129.00|
Certainly, if you are light on your feet or modest in your activities, your replacement frequency will be less and your overall savings will be different.
While we believe Tread Labs are the best insoles available, we do owe a huge debt of gratitude to Superfeet. They created a groundbreaking design more than 40 years ago and, in turn, have educated so many people about the benefits of insoles and arch support. We are proud to be in the same industry.
Whether you go with Superfeet GREEN, Tread Labs Pace insoles, or another high-quality insole, you can change the way your feet communicate with the ground and improve your mobility dramatically.
Questions? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help.