Tread Labs Review: Two Insoles Are Better Than One

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by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Jun 04, 2021

Tread Labs looks like a trendy insole brand, but that doesn’t mean they’re any good. When you’re on your feet all day, getting a sub-par insole can crush your spirit.

Our Tread Labs review takes a look at two of the brand’s most popular insole models to see if they’re worthy of your attention.

Our favorite insoles

Tread Labs

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Bottom line: The solid plastic insert featured in Tread Labs insoles offers much more support than any gel or foam product I’ve tried. The amount of customization you get, from arch height to flexibility, makes Tread Labs a must-have for anyone who has flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or just wants more comfort from their boots.

Ratings:

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At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Quality of Materials At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Craftsmanship At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Fit & Sizing At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Value for Money At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon

Pros:

  • Variety: choose an insole based on your arch height, desired firmness, activity level, and foot size---they have customization that ensures you can find something that helps you
  • Each insole comes with three different top pads so you can fit your new insoles comfortably into any of your boots or shoes
  • They’re guaranteed for a million miles (which is another way of saying: a lifetime)
  • Free US shipping and free returns

Cons:

  • They don’t do much to explain the difference between the footbeds are (but we explain it here in our review for you)

Running a boot site isn’t all roses, you know.

I have to try out a ton of different boots, and as you can imagine, some of the insoles are pretty crummy. 

And when I’m left with the choice between a pair of comfortable boots and a pair of boots that have the arch support of a red brick, you know I’m going with the comfy ones every time. 

But with how much walking I do, I wanted to upgrade my insole game, which led me down the research wormhole (oh, hello—nice to see you). One name that kept coming up was Tread Labs. I picked up two of their most popular insole models to see what they’re all about.

Ready to take the next step?

What Is Tread Labs?

Tread Labs pace insole packaging

Tread Labs is a young ecommerce brand that ships out two-part insoles. They’re different from other brands like Dr. Scholl’s because they use a hard plastic insert for arch support rather than a gel or foam insert.

Beyond that, Tread Labs also offers three different types of insoles, which they call Ramble, Pace, and Dash. 

Ramble is built for comfort and is their most flexible option. Pace is more firm and is their recommendation for pain relief. Dash is the firmest, and it’s better suited for athletic use like sprinting or cycling.

If you’re looking for their “Stride” insoles, those are now called Pace, but the design is the same. 

And when you figure out what firmness level you want, you can customize the insoles for size and arch height. You’re covered whether you have flat feet or extra high arches.

Things to Consider Before Buying Insoles from Tread Labs

Tread Labs pace insole footbed bent

Tread Labs take customization to the next level by not only offering different support shapes for your unique feet, but they also have different top covers.

Each Tread Labs insole is actually two parts: the plastic arch support and the foam footbed. 

So before you buy from Tread Labs, I have one question for you: do you feel lucky? 

Just kidding. 

Do you know which shoes you’ll be using your insoles for? If you’re using them in hiking boots or running shoes, the regular foot pad is the way to go.

If you’re using them in low top sneakers or a casual boot, the thin pad is better. And if you’re wearing them in tight fitting dress boots or shoes, get the half-pad that only covers your heel. 

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But don’t worry if you don’t have specific plans for your insoles. Tread Labs also offers combo packs with all three footbeds so you can mix and match across all your shoe and boot styles. 

It sounds like a lot, I know, but now that we’ve got the nitty gritty out of the way, let’s dive into whether or not these insoles are actually comfortable. 

Tread Labs

The solid plastic insert featured in Tread Labs insoles offers much more support than any gel or foam product I’ve tried. The amount of customization you get, from arch height to flexibility, makes Tread Labs a must-have for anyone who has flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or just wants more comfort from their boots.

Visit Tread Labs Read Our Review
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Tread Labs Ramble Review (Comfort)

Tread Labs ramble packaging

I’m a man of leisure. I like my comfort. And I like to ramble (especially after I’ve had two beers). 

I don’t really struggle with foot pain, so my first pick up with Tread Labs was their Ramble insole designed with more flexibility for general comfort. 

When the brand says “more flexibility,” it’s not like these insoles are floppy or anything—the arch support is still pretty stiff. But it’s not as firm as their Pace or Dash lines, so it’s a better choice if you do a lot of hiking, walking, or just stand on your feet for long periods of time. 

I immediately popped the Ramble insoles into a new pair of boots and set out for a walk through the city.

Tread Labs ramble hard insole

The difference between the thin foam insole that comes standard in most casual shoes/boots and any Tread Labs insole is wild. 

I’ll be honest, it was kind of weird for the first mile or so. I’m not used to having so much firmness in my mid-foot. It wasn’t a bad thing, but just felt strange at first. 

After about two miles of walking, a sort of symbiosis happened between my foot, the insole, and the boot, and it became much more comfortable. 

Because Tread Labs offers free returns at any point, I highly recommend walking for a few miles in them before sending them back. I was pretty skeptical a half-mile in, but the story changed for me later as I kept walking. 

Tread Labs ramble kit

Of the two insoles I tried, I prefer the Ramble. It offers plenty of cushion for the ball of my foot and the extra flex in the mid-foot boosts the stability of my boot without affecting my arch too much. 

Tread Labs Ramble Insoles for Comfort

The Ramble is my favorite insole that I've tried from Tread Labs. It offers plenty of cushion for the ball of my foot, and the extra flex in the mid-foot boosts the stability of my boot without affecting my arch too much.

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Tread Labs Pace Review (Pain Relief)

Tread Labs pace pain relief insole

I also gave the Tread Labs Pace a try to see if the extra arch support would help for a long hike. 

So I popped on my favorite hiking boots and went on an 8-miler in the North Carolina woods.

Compared to the Ramble (for comfort), the Pace is significantly more firm, which was excellent for the uneven terrain I was trudging through. 

Tread Labs says that their Pace (used to be known as their Stride insole) is designed for pain relief. A lot of reviewers say that the firmness of the Pace helps especially for people with flat feet or low arches. So if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, or just need a lot of extra arch support, the Pace is a better choice than the Ramble. 

Tread Labs pace insole with footbeds

Not to toot my own horn, but my arches are fantastic. Beep, beep. 

I only say that because in a normal day-to-day scenario, like walking a mile to the brewery or work (you know—either one is fine), the comfort-first Ramble is plenty of extra support for me. 

That said, I’m keeping my Pace insoles in my hiking boots full time now because I really enjoy that extra firmness when passing over rocks or hitting steep inclines.

Based on my research and reading through other reviews, I think my preference for the Ramble is more rare. It seems like most people prefer the Pace, which makes sense to me for this reason: if your feet don’t hurt, you don’t go looking for insoles. If your foot do hurt normally, the extra firmness from the Pace is very helpful.

Tread Labs Pace Insoles for Pain Relief

Tread Labs says that their Pace (used to be known as their Stride insole) is designed for pain relief. To put it simply, if your feet don’t hurt, you don’t go looking for insoles. If your foot do hurt normally, the extra firmness from the Pace insole will be very helpful, especially if you have flat feet or low arches.

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Tread Labs Customer Service

Tread Labs has excellent customer service and offer a “Million Mile Guarantee.”

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Let’s just get the obvious out of the way: there’s no way you’re ever going a million miles in these. Unless you get on Elon’s spaceship to Mars and take a wrong turn. In which case, prepare for an eternity of comfort and arch support. 

With Tread Labs lifetime guarantee, you can return your insoles at any time for any reason. So if you pick these up and decide you just don’t like them three months from now, they’ll send you a free return label without asking a single question. 

Shipping is also free and takes anywhere between three and five days to arrive. 

Overall, I’m really impressed with the customer service Tread Labs offers, and knowing that I can return my insoles any time was a big reason I went with them. 

What Do Other Reviewers Say About Tread Labs?

Tread Labs

The solid plastic insert featured in Tread Labs insoles offers much more support than any gel or foam product I’ve tried. The amount of customization you get, from arch height to flexibility, makes Tread Labs a must-have for anyone who has flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or just wants more comfort from their boots.

Visit Tread Labs Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Tread Labs is rocking a 4.5-star average with over 2,800 reviews on their site as of writing. The range of reviewers shows a variety of use-cases—from woodland firefighting, to running, to hiking, to warehouse picking. 

As one does, I read through the one-star reviews, too. Funny enough, I’d say about 30% of one-star reviews rave about the insoles and brand. The biggest issue people had (which is about 60 out of 2,800 total reviews) was in finding the correct arch size and foot bed thickness.

Tread Labs has a lot of options, and it can be tricky to figure out if you need the thin pad, the high arch, the extra high arch, etc. 

I hope I’ve answered some of those questions already in this review though so you can get the right pair of insoles the first time. But even if you don’t, Tread Labs is very responsive and should set you up with the insoles you need. 

Tread Labs vs Superfeet vs Powerstep

Tread Labs vs Superfeet

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Superfeet has a deeper heel cup than Tread Labs. However, the mechanism Tread Labs uses to secure the footbed to the orthopedic insert is much more secure than in Superfeet. 

So while Superfeet offers a little more security for your heel, Tread Labs is much more comfortable overall because you don’t have to do that foot-squinching thing where you’re trying to keep your foot from moving around all day. 

Superfeet offers insoles for more specific purposes like hiking and running (i.e. the Trailblazer is specifically designed for hiking) but they don’t have a wide variety of sizes. 

Superfeet has a 60-day return policy, which is pretty good, though it pales in comparison to Tread Labs’ lifetime return policy (with free shipping, no less). 

Superfeet Everyday Pain Relief Insoles
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Tread Labs vs Powerstep

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Both Tread Labs and Powerstep have an advantage over Superfeet in that they each offer soles with different arch-heights in mind. 

Powerstep insoles are a single unit, compared to the two-unit model of Tread Labs. What that means is your insole from Powerstep would be a single insole, with the padding and arch support all built into one.

Tread Labs is a bit different in that the arch support and foot pad is different. 

I prefer the Tread Labs method because I have a variety of footwear, and having different thicknesses in my footbed is important—a thicker footbed is good for sneakers, and the thin footbed is clutch when wearing boots. 

The biggest benefit though is that you can buy an inexpensive replacement footbed from Tread Labs after it wears out in 3-4 years. With Powerstep, you’ll have to throw away the entire insole, including the still-functional arch support.

Between the three insole brands mentioned, Powerstep has the worst return policy: you have 30 days to return your insoles and you have to print out and fill in a return order form, and you’re on the hook for the return and shipping fees. 

Powerstep Pinnacle Insoles
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My Thoughts Overall On Tread Labs

What I Like

  • I love how much variety there is: firmness, arch height, activity level, foot size—it can be a lot to navigate, but Tread Labs likely has something perfect for your unique foot.

  • Each insole comes with three different top pads so you can fit your new insoles comfortably into any type of boot or shoe. 

  • They’re guaranteed for a million miles (which is another way of saying a lifetime).

  • Free US shipping and free returns.

What I Don’t Like

  • The amount of customization is hard to grasp at first, and the subtle differences between different models and foot pads can be difficult to see. 

Who is Tread Labs for?

Tread Labs is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a serious amount of support for their feet. If you don’t like the half-measures of a gel insert like Dr. Scholl’s, and you need something substantial because you’re on your feet all day, you’ll love Tread Labs.

The Verdict

Tread Labs is my favorite insole. I was turned off of insoles early on because I thought they were all gel or foam pads, and other brands made me feel like I didn’t have a firm footing. 

When I put on a pair of boots, whether it’s for a hike or some pavement pounding in the city, I like to feel sturdy and secure. 

My favorite boots like Red Wing and Wolverine have leather insoles, which last a long time, but they have the shock absorption of a tree stump. They’re not very comfortable when I stand or walk for long periods of time. 

Tread Labs solved that problem for me. Because they use a firm plastic insert, I don’t feel like my heel is mooshing around, and because they feature high-density foam, I get enough shock absorption to feel like I can be out and about for 12 hours without paying for it the next day. 

I personally prefer the Ramble (comfort series) because I like the extra bit of flex. But I don’t struggle with flat feet or any sort of chronic foot pain. That said, I still found the firmer Pace very comfortable (much more so than any standard insole), and I recommend the Pace if you need more pain relief from your insoles rather than general comfort.

When comparing Tread Labs to two of the biggest names in the high-quality insole game, Tread Labs is a clear winner. 

They offer a much simpler solution than Superfeet, and their customer service, return policy, and warranty are leaps and bounds better than Powerstep

So, are you ready to take the next step?

Tread Labs

The solid plastic insert featured in Tread Labs insoles offers much more support than any gel or foam product I’ve tried. The amount of customization you get, from arch height to flexibility, makes Tread Labs a must-have for anyone who has flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or just wants more comfort from their boots.

Visit Tread Labs Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

Where can I buy Tread Labs insoles?

The best place to buy Tread Labs insoles is through their site. They’ll send you shipping updates and offer an excellent warranty if you shop through their page.

Are Tread Labs insoles good for plantar fasciitis?

Tread Labs insoles are excellent for relieving pain from plantar fasciitis. We recommend the Pace pain relief model if you have plantar fasciitis.

What is the best insole for high arches?

Tread Labs offers insoles designed specifically for folks with high arches—even if you have extremely high arches. Usually orthotics and insoles cater to people with low arches, but you need arch support, too.

How do I find the right orthotics?

There are a few considerations when choosing orthotics: your arch height, level of firmness needed, and what shoes you’ll be using them in.

After you determine whether you have high arches or low arches, decide how much support you need.

For comfort, flexibility in an insole is better. For pain relief, a firmer arch is better.

Lastly, you need a thin footbed for boots, a half insole for tighter dress shoes, and a full insert for sneakers and running shoes. Tread Labs is our favorite insole brand because they offer all of these options and have an excellent return policy.

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