Carbon Fiber Insoles - Everything You Need To Know


The Top Ten Most Commonly Asked Questions

 

Athletes now demand much more from their footwear…and they should. Material technology is advancing at a rapid pace to meet the needs of athletes from weekend warriors to elite performers. And carbon fiber is leading the way! Here are the answers to the Top Ten most common questions surrounding carbon fiber insoles.


1.) What is Carbon Fiber?

 

About 90% of the carbon fiber produced today is made from polyacylonitrile (PAN), an organic polymer characterized by long strings of molecules bonded together by – you guessed it – carbon atoms.

For decades now, carbon fiber has been commonly used in applications for Aerospace, Automotive and the Military. Known to have a strength to weight ratio 5X greater than steel, this amazing composite can improve the performance and energy efficiency of most products. Perhaps that’s why the fastest growing product category using carbon fiber is now Sporting Goods – think tennis racquets, hockey sticks, snowboards & skis, golf clubs, etc.


2.) What Are Carbon Fiber Insoles?

 

There are 3 basic types of carbon fiber insoles, all of which serve different purposes:

  1. Flat Plates – This type of carbon fiber insole has been around for decades and is the most basic of designs. Usually made from a single layer of carbon fiber, these rigid plates are designed to immobilize or splint the foot. They usually have no top cushion and are used to treat injuries like stress fractures, turf toe and Hallux Limitus. These products are fairly generic and prices can range from $30-$60 per pair.
  2. Heel Cup & Arch Support – Some insoles are made with carbon fiber from the heel to the mid-foot. The insoles have a foam top cover for comfort and are designed for stability and arch support – commonly used for treating high arches and Plantar Fasciitis. They are typically stronger and more durable than the foam/plastic insoles which claim to serve the same purpose. One popular brand is Tread Labs with prices ranging from $80-$120 per pair.

 

 

 

3. Performance Insoles – These products feature a full-length carbon fiber baseplate with a comfortable foam top cushion. Because the baseplate acts as an energy storing spring, this product can propel an athlete forward and upwards. This is the most highly engineered carbon fiber design because it combines strength and flexibility to allow it to bend where the foot does - at the MTP joint. The innovator and market leader for this type of product is VKTRY Gear, with prices ranging from $99-$169.


3.) How Do Carbon Fiber Insoles Compare to Foam Insoles?

 

While most shoes come with a shoe liner – usually a thin foam insole – many people have realized the advantages of adding an aftermarket shoe insole. Most shoe insoles are passive, meaning that they only absorb shock and provide support. They are not intended to give anything back to the user. Carbon fiber insoles have the capacity to store and return energy to the user.

 

 

FOAM: Besides the comfortable foam or gel-based top cover, some of the products offer a plastic heel cup to stabilize the foot and provide additional arch support. There are several popular brands like Dr. Scholl’s and Superfeet offering multiple styles for all foot types and conditions. Most aftermarket insoles have the following characteristics:

  • Made from a combination of foam and plastic
  • Have a contour which fits more accurately to the shape of the foot
  • Are designed and sold primarily for comfort.

 

CARBON FIBER: Like other insoles on the market, VKTRY Insoles (aka VKs) also provide comfort, heel stability and arch support. However, what sets this full-length carbon fiber insole apart are two additional benefits:

  1. Increased Athletic Performance – When the athlete bends his/her foot to run or jump, VKTRY’s baseplate also bends and stores the energy. When the athlete pushes off, the energy is returned to propel the athlete forward and upward.
  2. Decreased Injuries – While foam insole brands claim to provide shock absorption, they are really speaking about the compression of the foam top. VKs provide maximum shock absorption because the carbon fiber base acts as a spring, decelerating the athlete and reducing the force upon impact whether walking running or jumping.


4.) Do Carbon Fiber Insoles Really Help Athletic Performance?

 

Yes, and it’s not magic, it’s physics. When athletes push off to run or jump, much of the energy they exert is dissipated or lost. Full length carbon fiber insoles (like VKs) have been designed to store and return energy, thus reducing the amount of energy normally lost. Scientific studies show that wearing VKTRY Insoles increases rate of force development (aka explosiveness) by +9.3%. And the key to running faster and jumping higher is largely a function of how much force you can put into the ground.

Independent testing of 77 athletes at 3 different performance facilities proved that VKs can help an athlete’s performance:

  • Jumping Higher: Average +1.6 inches
  • Jumping Farther: Average +4.0 inches
  • Running Faster: 0.12 seconds better in the 40-yard dash

Wearing carbon fiber insoles is not meant to be a short cut or replacement for hard work. A serious athlete still needs to train and practice to hone their craft. The experience with VKTRY Insoles has been that athletes with the best techniques for running & jumping, and athletes that have the best musculature, typically see the greatest improvements with carbon fiber insoles.


5.) Do Carbon Fiber Insoles Really Help Protect Against Injuries?

 

The forefoot is composed of 19 bones, most of which are less than the diameter of a pencil. While running or jumping however, most of the load is being supported by this delicate structure. An athlete weighing 200 lbs. can generate almost 4 times that amount of force upon landing and pushing off. Full-length carbon fiber insoles form a protective barrier between the foot and the ground. Carbon fiber insoles can also protect an athlete from injury by stabilizing the foot and lower leg, reducing twisting or torquing forces.

Independent research has shown that VKTRY Insoles can reduce injuries due to increased support, stability and shock absorption. In 2017, 4 major Division 1 football programs used VKs. Over 260 players wore the carbon fiber insoles for all practices and all games. At the end of the season, the Athletic Training staffs for each school reported the data back and compared that season to the 3 years prior. The results for the “VKTRY season” were:

  • 41% less foot and toe injuries
  • 22% less lower leg injuries (knee on down)

While the field research was impressive, VKTRY hired The Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut to study the product in a clinical study. The summary of the independent clinical research is stated by Dr Douglas Casa, PhD and CEO of KSI:

“After an extensive 6-month research study, it is clear that VKTRY Insoles improve lower body biomechanics, stability of the ankle and knee during running, and shock absorption during landing. These improvements can help safeguard athletes by providing injury protection.”


6.). Do Carbon Fiber Insoles Really Help People Recover From Injuries?

 

It only makes sense that if a product helps to reduce injuries, that same “protective gear” will also help athletes recover from injuries. While most insoles employ a thin layer of foam across the bottom of the foot, VKs provide a protective shield. Many lower leg injuries caused by twisting or torquing can be avoided with a more stable foundation as provided by full-length carbon fiber insoles.

 

 

VKTRY Insoles have been known to help people recover from shin splints, Plantar Fasciitis, stress fractures, turf toe, arthritis and many other ailments. In a recent study by Harvard Mass General, the VKTRY Insole proved 5X better for pain management of arthritis of the big toes (aka Hallux Limitus). And VKs provide the added benefit of assisting with push off, to ease the load on the big toe.

 

VKTRY Insoles have been successful in helping athletes with injuries, as evidenced by field research, clinical studies and in thousands of customer testimonials. However, when it comes to health care, all people and all injuries are not alike. VKTRY always recommends that you consult your physician when considering treatments of an injury. And the company offers a 90-day money back guarantee, so if the product is not helping a person in recovery, VKTRY provides a no questions asked 100% refund.


7.) Are Carbon Fiber Insoles Legal?

 

 

Yes, carbon fiber insoles are used by thousands of elite athletes across multiple sports from football to pickleball. In fact, VKTRY Insoles were invented in 2009 and the product helped the US Olympic Bobsled Team capture the gold medal for the first time in 62 years. Similar to how carbon fiber equipment has grown in sports like cycling, tennis and golf, VKTRY Insoles are a technological advancement that helps athletes fulfill their full potential. Additionally, it would be quite surprising for a sports governing body to ban a product that has been proven to help prevent athletic injuries.


8.) Are Carbon Fiber Insoles Heavy?

 

One of the advantages of carbon fiber is their high strength to weight ratio (5X greater than steel). And because the space within a shoe is limited, a carbon fiber insole must be not only lightweight, but also very thin. VKTRY’s carbon fiber plate weighs less than 1 ounce and is less than 1 millimeter thick. And even with a foam top cover, the product fits comfortably inside most shoes – even tight-fitting soccer cleats or track spikes.


9.) Are Carbon Fiber Insoles Uncomfortable?

 

Some of the very rigid carbon fiber plates used to immobilize a foot can be uncomfortable (some people have referred to them a “medieval”). However, VKTRY Insoles are made from multiple layers of carbon fiber which allows them to easily flex. Some individuals may feel pressure at the ball of the foot during the break-in process, but this is totally normal. Start by wearing your insoles for a short time at first, maybe 30 minutes, and then gradually increase the time as you get used to the new pressures on the bottom of your foot. Most people find VKs very comfortable after the 3-5 day period.


10.) How Long Do Carbon Fiber Insoles Last?

 

 

This can vary from 6 months to 6 years and really depends on how well the user cares for the product. Carbon fiber insoles are rated for hundreds of thousands of cycles (flexes), however factors such as moisture, dirt, abrasives and shoe type can affect the life of the carbon fiber. On one hand, the lifetime of the product can be reduced for cleated sports, where dirt and gravel may come in contact with the insole, resulting in abrasion. On the other hand, if the athlete is using the product for a straight-ahead sport like distance running, the life of the insoles would be extended and the foam top cover would likely wear out before the carbon fiber baseplate. To extend the life of the product, VKTRY recommends inspecting and cleaning the product every few weeks. If the carbon fiber shows any signs of cracking, it’s time for a new pair.


Summary:

 

 

 

 

VKTRY Insoles have been successful in helping athletes with injuries, as evidenced by field research, clinical studies and in thousands of customer testimonials. However, when it comes to health care, all people and all injuries are not alike. VKTRY always recommends that you consult your physician when considering treatments of an injury. And VKTRY offers a 90-day money back guarantee, so if the product is not helping a person in recovery, VKTRY provides a no questions asked refund. For more information, please click the button below.