Product review: Superfeet Yellow performance footbeds for sports shoes

Superfeet Yellow insoles

With the success of Team GB at successive Olympics and Wiggo's Tour de France triumph, every man and his dog seems to have heard of Sir David Brailsford's theory on 'marginal gains' — how an accumulation of small tweaks and changes have given his riders a competitive advantage. But attention to smaller details can also benefit the everyday cyclist, whether commuter, sportive rider, mountain biker or sometime racer.

Superfeet has been around for more than 30 years now, producing a range of performance footbeds (what many people used to wrongly refer to as 'insoles'; confusingly, the Americans still do). They're designed to slot into sports footwear and offer a significant increase in foot stability, comfort and, in turn, performance.

Each Superfeet model is made from several layers: a full-length foam, which helps with shock absorption, but is also perforated to help with air circulation and moisture control; an anti-microbial top cover for protection against bacteria and odours; and a 'stabiliser cap' (whose shape/design varies between models), again enhancing shock absorption and better contact with the outsole. Some models come is regular shoe sizes, others as 'trim to fit'.

We tested a pair of Superfeet Yellow which have been designed specifically with 'proper' cycling shoes in mind. Generally, cycling shoes fail miserably on the footbed front, those supplied being as worthwhile and effective as a limp lettuce leaf. Pull the supplied ones out, slot the Superfeet in – using the old ones as a template if any scissor-trimming's required – and you're set.

Walking around the house or office you'll notice an immediate comfort boost, especially if you're on your feet all day. But the Yellow version makes a noticeable difference on the bike too. We felt our heel was cupped, and therefore stablised better than ever before – in fact, our whole foot felt better positioned and over longer rides much less fatigued. While small things like that might seem inconsequential on shortish commutes, it makes a big difference on lengthier stints in the saddle, allowing you to ride for longer in comfort.

We've used the Superfeet Green in mountaineering boots for years, to summit peaks in the Greater Ranges, and they're still going strong, so we have no fears on durability. With merino-lined versions for winter, options for dress/fashion shoes, they seem to have the entire footwear market covered. We're big fans.

Unsurprisingly, the success of the range has spawned a number of rival products all claiming similar benefits, but we'll be sticking with these for the time being. If they were a little cheaper we'd stick a pair in all our shoes.  

Review: John Kitchiner