SOLE Ed Viesturs Ultra Footbed Review

signature-ev-ultra-footbeds-01By Rick Shandley

When your original footbeds in your boots wear out, the Ed Viesturs (EV SOLE) footbed by SOLE is a solid option to consider. Factory footbeds do their job for most people, most of the time. But even with a new pair of boots, an individual’s feet may require more than factory bootbeds can offer.

In my case, I needed cushion and arch support all the time. My experience with the Ed Viesturs footbed was a mixed bag of results regarding the match with the specific boot. What produced the mixed results has more to do with the thickness of the EV SOLE footbed and the physical construction of the boot.

However, there was never a lack of good cushion and arch support under pretty strenuous hiking, with daypack, and on long backpack trips with a heavy backpack in an assessment period that soaked up almost 10 months. It took a while to nail-down what might be a big consideration for consumers to think about regarding an aftermarket high-end footbed. And, for myself, it came down to how the interior heel design of your chosen boots will, or will not, work with the EV SOLE footbeds.

For example, I wear LOWA Mt. Expert GTX mountaineering boots for cold weather, and LOWA Cevedale GTX mountaineering boots for mild weather. When wearing these boots with the Ed Viesturs SOLE footbeds in them, the thickness of about four-millimeters at the heel of the footbeds set my heel higher in the boot. This caused friction and blisters. I was better off with the factory LOWA footbeds.

On the other hand, when I used the Ed Viesturs SOLE footbeds in my go-to anytime backpack and mountain hiking Merrill Outbound Mid-high boots, the SOLES worked absolutely great. I like the cushion. I need the cushion! With a fresh pair of good boot socks like FITS Sock Co., Swiftwick socks, Merrell socks, SOLE-dual layer, and many other modern high-performance socks, the EV SOLE footbeds are hard to beat.

I’m not a graceful person, and when I hike, walk, trudge, or run, my weight comes crashing down harsh with every step. The muscles on the bottoms of my feet are forever pleading with me for a break. That’s not going to happen in this life, so I have to find ways to artificially cushion my feet and support the arch’s that are trying to flatten out. It’s my view that these EV SOLE footbeds and any one of the other SOLE footbeds are a true improvement if, I say if, they work with the specific boots or trail shoes you intend to wear them with. The deep heel pocket, and the thick cushion throughout the footbed are perfect for me, given the correct boot fit.  The fact these footbeds are heat moldable can be a big asset to assuring a custom fit for your feet.

Moisture wicking ventilation and Plygiene antimicrobial help manage foot health and the smell of death that often originates in your feet. These SOLE Ed Viestures Ultra footbeds do the job they were created for. You’ve just got to match them to your boots.

Open-cell Polyurethane is used for the primary cushion element. That might be the first thing you’ll notice about these SOLE footbeds, the cushion is significant. The base layer is optimized to mold to your feet. And the top-sheet, with logo-graphics and Ed Viesturs signature is a perforated polyester weave. That’s three layers of components bound together in a footbed that may well have a much longer lifespan than factory footbeds.

High-impact activities like hauling gear up a granite slide, swift hiking on uneven terrain, and even marching on concrete along Wilshire Blvd. in LA trying to make an appointment on time, are what these EV SOLE footbeds are best at. And of course, you have to have the boots/shoes for the activity, but these sure make it nice.

You can find these Ed Viesturs Ultra footbeds at several outdoors gear suppliers and through online channels. Your investment will be in the $45 range, depending on your source.

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