Solestar is German based company that deals in specialized cycling orthopedic insoles. The company was established in 2010 with the main focus of increasing comfort and performance optimization of professional cyclists. Solestar worked early on with Gerald Ciolek, Christian Knees, and Andre Greipel to develop their product line. Solestar now partners with an impressive list of pro cyclists, triathletes, and mountain bike athletes.
The basic design of the insole is a soft grippy fabric material laid on top of a carbon plate. Overall, the product is not super stiff. It doesn't need to be though because it is not going to be experiencing the same moments and torque that your cycling shoe will experience. The areas that have carbon are intended to keep the insole lightweight and keep your foot stable in a biomechanically efficient position. The carbon fiber in the arch area does have some flex to it. I tried pushing down on the center of the arch with my hand and it would deform without much difficulty. I compared this to my other custom orthopedic insole, which has a hard plastic arch, and my custom insoles were almost impossible to deform. I take this as decreasing the chance to develop hot spots in the arch. My custom insoles created some hot spots on my arch during the first couple of months. I noticed nothing similar when using the Solestar insole.
Going back to the top layer of the insole; it is a grippy but soft fabric. There is around 5mm thickness of cushion material over the entire top of the insole. There is an increased cushion pocket where the metatarsal joints lay (basically the end of the foot arch). I would definitely say that the cushion is sufficient for long rides. I have completed a lot of 2-4 hour rides while evaluating the insole and never had any problems regarding cushioning.
For those that care about weight...
When it comes to insoles, weight isn't that big of a deal because they are thin and made of fabric or lightweight materials. I still weighed the three insoles (Solestar, Original Lake Insole, Custom insole) to document all aspects. Obviously, the regular Lake insole was the lightest because it is just thin cushion material and odor resistance fabric. The custom insole and the Solestar insole came out at about the same weight for my shoe size (11.5 US or 45 EU). The weights came out to 4.85 oz for both insoles or 137.5 grams. This is pretty much insignificant in regards to weight savings on a bike.
I looked to this product as a solution to some foot pain. I was pretty skeptical at first because I was not one to go towards insoles. I was using the custom insoles to try and solve a painful spot at the first metatarsal joint (big toe joint) but it never fixed it. After about 30-40 minutes of cycling I would have to remove pressure on that foot to relieve some pain. My coach said that he had previously talked with a company in Germany called Solestar. He got me in contact with them and they sent me a pair to test out. It took a couple weeks to get the insoles from Germany to America but that is expected with international shipping. The customer service was phenominal and definitely an easy company to work with.
The first 30 minutes of riding with the insoles provided an odd but good sensation. I felt like I could dance around on the pedals and that my legs were lighter and stronger. After about 30 minutes my body reached an equilibrium point and it felt like nothing was that different. One major improvement that I have noticed on all of my rides is the fact that the nagging foot pain is almost completely gone. It at least does not bother me like it did with just the custom insoles.
One last thing to note is that I started to get a creaking noise in my right shoe. I took the insole out and saw some evidence of rubbing on the raised arch section. I contacted Solestar to discuss solutions to this and they recommended taking the insole out and cleaning the shoe and insole. I did this and it seems to have removed the creaking noise.
This product is great and for the small investment it does provide a noticeable increase in comfort. You can check out some more of their products at their website www.solestar.de.
I am not sponsored by Solestar and did not receive any payment for this review.