Gear Spotlight: Spenco Earthbound Insoles

Spenco's first try at green is supportive and 55% recycled/renewable

Designed for hiking, walking, running and other sports where shock absorption and arch and heel support are key, Spenco's Earthbound delivers. They're supportive, and my fee felt better at the end of a long day than in the insoles that came with my boots. I've worn the Spencos for about a month mostly hiking and walking, and I forget they're there--a good thing in an insole. That's because my feet don't hurt, and my bad ankle is less wobbly--the insoles are doing their job.

The Earthbound's stability cradle is 100% recycled nylon with excellent arch support for a low to medium arch, and heel cup that's deep enough to be stable without putting your heel too high or too low. A layer of 65% recycled EVA foam is blended with 35% natural cork for extra cushioning from toe to heel. And a forefoot crash pad adds shock absorption under the ball of foot to help beat soreness from foot strike and push off. The top of the insole is cloth, made with 40 percent recycled polyester fabric; it's not too slipper--not too sticky.

We'll keep testing to see how they hold up over the long term. They're in stores this month, available in men's 6-15 and women's 3-12 for $39.99. Big bonus: Spenco is so sure that when you try 'em you'll like 'em, they' carry a one-year unconditional guarantee.

-Berne Broudy