Engineering High-Performance Insoles for Tactical Excellence

by | Apr 10, 2024 | Science and Technology

The process of crafting cross-training-worthy insoles for 5.11’s PT-R Inure Runner.

At INSITE, we collaborate with and create for athletes every day. From our biomechanics lab to the boardroom, our focus remains on the science behind crafting high-performance insoles tailored to the diverse movements of the human body. But when working with a company like 5.11, we took the idea of “high-performance” to the next level to match the standards of their military and law enforcement-grade gear. Revered in the world of tactical apparel, 5.11 is exactly the type of company we love creating with because of our shared commitment to performance excellence and innovation.

The task at hand was clear: to develop an insole that seamlessly integrates with the 5.11 PT-R Inure Runner, catering to the needs of tactical professionals and athletic enthusiasts alike. With these details in mind, the INSITE team prepared to rise to the challenge of crafting the perfect high-performance insole for this cross-training-capable, running-focused shoe from 5.11.

The Challenge

5.11 is synonymous with purpose-driven gear that primarily caters to highly tactical workers, both when they’re in the field and when they’re training behind the scenes. From uniform tactical boots to training-specific sneakers, each piece they create is held to an incredibly high standard. When they approached us to collaborate on a new insole for their PT-R Inure cross-training shoe, we understood the challenge ahead: creating an insole that meets 5.11’s tactical performance standards while delivering the comfort and support INSITE is known for.

Recognizing that the existing insole design, made from a basic open-cell foam, lacked durability during intense athletic training, we began exploring various combinations of our signature designs and foams to find the ideal fit for the Inure.


The Solution

Our collaborative journey began with a thorough discussion of the target application, ensuring alignment with 5.11’s exact needs. Like most runners, the PT-R Inure needed to strike just the right balance of lightweight cushioning, ergonomic shape, and energy return — all with a durable foam material that would last the full life of the shoe.

To achieve this, we combined two tried-and-true INSITE technologies: the INSITE ArchRelief™ insole shape with INSITE EcoComfort® Energy poured PU foam.

INSITE ArchRelief insoles use a low-profile arch support shape to provide targeted underfoot pressure relief. This shape is especially ideal for athletic footwear, adding ergonomic comfort without adding bulk or constricting the foot against the upper.

For the material, we turned to INSITE poured PU solutions, which can be engineered for a broad range of exceptional cushioning and performance benefits. The PT-R Inure uses INSITE EcoComfort Energy foam, made from 25% bio-based compounds, optimized for powerful rebound and springy underfoot cushioning for active underfoot applications — with a more resilient compression set for supreme durability.

Thanks to a methodical and adaptive approach, our two teams were able to find the exact right high-performance insole shape and foam for 5.11’s new high-performance shoe design.

“I think it’s satisfying to see how our process led to creating the optimal insole for their needs. This is why we emphasize testing so heavily. We’re constantly analyzing our data and editing the product as needed to satisfy our brand customers’ and their consumers’ needs.”

Dave Smith

INSITE Director of Business Development, North America

The Result and Key Takeaways

This product collaboration was the perfect example of the kind of work INSITE is built for: adaptive, dynamic, dedicated, and data-driven. We invest in the best available biomechanics and physical properties testing to better equip ourselves and footwear developers everywhere for projects like this one, which almost always require a flexible and tester-driven approach. With the aid of 5.11’s prompt and comprehensive wear testing, we were able to pivot and adapt to the emerging needs of this new shoe and its intended wearers to find the right solution in a snap.

This partnership underscores our commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions tailored to the specific demands of our clients’ products without ever compromising our pursuit of comfort. Crafting high-performance insoles for a shoe brand of this caliber was an exciting and innovative process, and working with the 5.11 team made it all the more successful.


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