Review: Superfeet Carbon Pro Inserts ($55 USD)
Decades ago, when yours truly was a hockey goalie, there was an unseen piece of gear that made all the difference in foot comfort. It was wrongly assumed every skate came with a Superfeet foot bed, so when I moved to another skate company for a brief stint, I found myself drifting back to the inserts. When I got a hold of the new Superfeet Carbon Pro Hockey Inserts, I felt the final piece of the cycling footwear comfort came together.
Perhaps hockey skate technology has changed over the years but the answer is always, no, hockey skates are not comfortable. Standing over a blade while play moved up ice led to constant shuffling. Ever wonder why goalies can’t stand still? They can’t feel their feet. The Superfeet inserts made static positions tolerable. Now that they have retooled their hockey foot beds for cycling shoes, the Superfeet Carbon Pro Inserts may be the necessary item to align your fit on the bike. The box says it will make me 11% faster, but I think it’s talking to the hockey crowd.
The bright yellow foot beds are much like the Superfeet inserts of the past. What is new is the heel cup and loftier heel. Yanking the factory foot beds from the cycling shoe was one thing; putting the inserts in and lacing up the shoes was another. For the first time in many years I inherited arch support. I went from an arch that resembled a paper towel to the feeling of an old time hockey skate. I wanted to walk around in them.
The ride feel was what I was looking for all these years. I resigned my pains of bike riding as simply getting older. But when I climbed off the bike, a recent chore that emanated a lot of grunting, I felt put together. My left knee wobbles a bit during pedaling no matter what I have tried, but the Superfeet inserts reduced lateral movement. I stared at my knee throughout the pedal stroke. It took a few strokes but there was a small amount of wobble.
There may be customization necessary for the inserts. As a hockey goalie I had no problem cutting parts off my equipment. I regularly removed the abdominal flap from the chest pad because of its bunching when in the stance. Similarly cutting up the foot beds was barely a concern, but I could see some shivering scissors by those unaccustomed to snipping new products. Simply remove the factory foot beds, trace them onto the Superfeet Inserts, cut along the line, and slide them into the shoes. As mentioned above, there may be some customization necessary.
One piece of advice I have always found helpful is to disregard the size of the foot bed and opt for the insert that contours your arch. This is possibly the reason I felt immediate comfort when lacing my shoes: my arch was fully supported. Since the front half of the insert is customizable, sizing does not really come into play. That is, if you have a long arch but a short shoe opt for the larger size and cut off the front. This is where the comfort will come in.
I have experimented with numerous inserts over the years. The factory inserts do not stand up to the job. And why should they? It is usually the first thing the consumer tosses. I have tried a leading cycling brand but found the stack height to be too high, thus changing my fit as well as my shoe comfort. The Superfeet Carbon Pro brings me back to the days when swearing by certain pieces of equipment is how I got by. Hockey goalies would update just about everything in their kit except the skates. Why should cycling shoes be any different? Remember the sage advice I got from a teammate once that I pass along to others: Wherever your body touches the bike, splurge.