Insole Comfort Analysis Tools

by | Nov 27, 2023 | Science and Technology

Delivering Optimal – and Proven – Comfort Through a Strategic Process

Setting out to achieve optimal insole comfort for a majority of footwear customers was never a small feat, which is why it’s taken us years to perfect our Proven Comfort system of tools and analysis that can deliver a level of comfort for our insoles that work for most wearers.

Our mission in delivering proven comfort isn’t just to elevate insole quality for footwear brands, but to help eliminate the need for consumers to seek aftermarket insoles as an additional purchase. Achieving those results means developing an insole that truly fits – right out of the box – for a majority of customers.

What Does it Mean to Achieve Proven Comfort?

In any industry, proof of efficacy is paramount to winning consumer trust and building equity for your brand and product. Everything from customer reviews to certifications from top regulatory organizations helps prove that what you’re producing is effective and legitimate.

Plus, today’s consumers see right through attempts to cut corners or falsely promote results. With so many products on the market to choose from, consumers are inundated with buzzwords and marketing-speak that begin to mean, well, nothing after a while.

In the insole industry for one, the promise of “comfort” is touted so often that it’s taken on a relatively ambiguous quality where only the individual wearing the insole can decide what’s truly comfortable to them. What we set out to do at INSITE was design insoles using tools and processes that would get our insoles as close as possible to that optimal feeling of comfort.

Our approach seeks to quantify comfort through psychological and physical tests that combine machine analysis with human testers for a full-spectrum assessment of what optimal comfort looks and feels like.

A Look Inside Our Insole Comfort Analysis Tools

How do we quantify comfort? Through data analysis of course! Everything always comes back to data – it’s the only way to know what works, and what doesn’t, and accurately analyze direct responses and reactions to different factors. Our Proven Comfort process is a series of third-party validated tests that help us benchmark specific comfort metrics – so that brands have the data to make better product decisions. We capture individual perceptions of what comfort really means, conducting in-depth psychometric surveys that help quantify the fit, placement, and cushioning of the insole during different movements and activities. By examining specific comfort variables, we can take into account both individual experiences with shoe and insole performance, as well as overall trends in comfort perception. We’re able to do this incredible level of testing thanks in large part to our partnership with FORCE Lab at Oregon State University–Cascades, which conducts cutting-edge biomechanics research and intervention strategies for injuries. Here’s a breakdown of what these tests look like:

Dynamic Plantar Pressure Mapping

Using high-fidelity wireless insole sensors, we visually map underfoot pressure in real-time during activity. This allows us to gain data and analysis on plantar pressure, the foot’s center of pressure, and gait – helping us identify pressure “hot spots” and reduce discomfort through insole design.

Material Impact Testing

Using a computer-controlled test that simulates heel and forefoot impact, we measure the compression, shock absorption, and rebound of the shoe’s cushioning system to understand the level of impact created by the foot during certain activities. This testing allows us to see how that impact is absorbed by an insole and the effect of footwear on a wearer’s foot over time.

Advanced Biomechanics Testing

In addition to core Proven Comfort testing, our partnership with the FORCE Lab allows us to conduct advanced biomechanics tests – providing even more detailed comfort metrics for high-performance footwear applications. This biomechanics testing includes multiple components:

  • Muscle Activation Testing; Using a wireless electromyography (EMG) system, we measure muscle activation during activity, ensuring that a shoe is appropriate for the type, duration, and intensity of movement required by its intended function.
  • 3D Motion Testing: We use real-time 3D motion capture to analyze balance, allowing us to find abnormalities in a wearer’s gait while wearing your footwear.
  • Force Plate Testing: Using force plates in combination with 3D motion capture allows us to measure both the force and the movement exerted during activity – so we can accurately analyze your footwear’s effect on a wearer’s gait in real-time.
  • Oxygen Efficiency Testing: We use VO2 max testing to measure oxygen consumption during specific activities, which allows us to determine the level of athletic performance a shoe can support.

Proven Insole Comfort, Proven Customer Satisfaction

Using the data from these valuable tests informs our insole shape, materials, and design, with the final product being an insole that fits your footwear and fits your customers. 

Providing a comfortable insole right out of the box carries several benefits for your brand – you can offer that vital and sought-after validation of your comfort and performance claims, and benchmark your product’s performance against your competitors.

Plus, when you have data behind the comfort you’re offering, it’s easier to evolve your products and make updates that move them forward. 

Leveraging leading biomechanics science to inform your products is an excellent innovation story that is attractive to customers and helps increase product confidence through valuable data points. 

The only way to know how our insole comfort analysis tools really work is to see the “proof in the pudding” for yourself.

Ready to learn more? Let us send you a custom sample, which we can produce in as little as  14 days based on your midsole or last. Your insole sample undergoes industry-standard performance, safety, and bio-content testing before we send it out to you. This customized sample gives you insight into the efficacy of our Proven Comfort process and how we infuse it into every insole – so you can infuse it into your footwear.

Request a sample, and see the proof of comfort.

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