SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Thinsulate Thermal Insoles: Offering Snowshoeing and Trail Running Footwear New Life

While visiting the 2011 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show, I met with the good people at powerhouse company, 3M.  As you may know, 3M owns several brands, including ScotchGard, Post-it, and many others.  3M also owns Thinsulate – the “secret ingredient” for insulating a number of products in today’s outdoor industry.  My Thinsulate experience – aside from The North Face jacket hanging in my closet – ignited some hope for my existing footwear.  The Thinsulate Thermal Insoles offered a footwear revival and supported the further use of some of my favorite pairs of shoes.

Thinsulate isn’t your typical gear company.  They’re more “behind the scenes” – with several prominent brands using their eight different insulation products.  In fact, you might find a Thinsulate tag promoting one of these insulation technologies, which include: Thinsulate Insulation, Thinsulate Supreme Insulation Antimicrobial Odor Control with X-STATIC, Thinsulate Insulation with Recycled Fibers, Thinsulate Flex Insulation, Thinsulate Lite Loft Insulation, Thinsulate Ultra Insulation, Thinsulate Supreme Insulation, and Thinsulate Insulation with Flame Resistance.

While an insole might seem like a simply-designed product, there is more to it than just some cushioning and multiple layers.  According to Thinsulate, “the combination of performance technologies and the warmth of Thinsulate insulation are designed to enhance” the overall footwear experience.  Better yet, the insoles fit in most shoes with removable insoles. 

Because the Thinsulate insoles are made with the same insulation technology that is used in hardcore winter jackets, the shoes’ ability to warm increases dramatically.  Of course, this was my experience in three different kinds of footwear: KEEN Growler boots, Oboz Hardscrambler trail running shoes, and a pair of Doc Martens dress shoes.

Both the KEEN Growlers and the Oboz Hardscramblers were tested a handful of times on the trail.  No complaints from me – the insoles performed as advertised. 

While I removed the existing insoles from the shoes, the Thinsulate insoles offered enhanced stability and cushioning.  This is possible via the insoles’ four layers:

  • Top layer: Abrasion resistant, lasting durability, reduces odor, and moisture wicking fabric
  • Comfort layer: Foot-conforming foam
  • Thermal layer: Thinsulate insulation for warmth
  • Bottom layer: Foam that absorbs shock, return energy for comfort, additional odor resistance, and fast-drying foam to further eliminate moisture buildup

Although the comfort for my snowshoeing and trail running outings improved, I purposely put the Thinsulate Thermal Insoles through the tribulations of the steep twists and turns of the trails.  I wanted to see if the abrasion-resistant fabric would tear and if the bottom layer foam would crumble.  No dice.  

So, I gave it more time.  I used the insoles in my everyday Doc Marten dress shoes.  After several months of use, the Thinsulate insoles stood sturdy (as pictured): Only slight signs of the foam crumbling – especially around the heel areas.  The abrasion-resistant upper layer exhibited slight signs of slipping at the edges, but no scuffing or abrasions to report.  

If you want to breathe new life into a pair of shoes or boots, try the Thinsulate Thermal Insoles.  3M and Thinsulate are trusted brands for sure.  Don’t donate or giveaway those old walking boots.  Keep those broken-in pair of trail running shoes.  They may have deteriorated on the inside, but they still look great on the outside – and still perform at their top.  

Take it from a dude who knows the annoyance of worn-down footwear and rancid shoes.  Sometimes it takes new insoles to restore life for a good pair of snowshoeing boots.  And, remember, the Thinsulate Thermal Insoles provide exceptional warmth, conform to the feet, control moisture, and reduce odor.  Give them a try.    

For more information on the Thinsulate Thermal Insoles, visit http://bit.ly/ewD1Iu.