Carbon Fiber Insoles: 7 Game-Changing Benefits

Carbon fiber, famously used in racing cars and fighter jets, has another subtle yet powerful role right under your feet: carbon fiber insoles.

Although we tend to pay the most attention to our shoes, but sometimes, they too need a leg-up. Most shoes have their own soles, but there’s only so much they can do.

An insole, the inner sole of a shoe on which the foot rests, is an accessory that can complement both the shoe and the feet alike.

Most athletes, casual runners, and even wellness-oriented individuals rely upon carbon fiber insoles for enhanced protection and performance. Because adding carbon fiber not only upgrades their shoes but also ensures safety when they push their limits. 

In this article, we’ve discussed how these insoles stand out for their “all-in-one but better” features.

What are carbon fiber insoles?

Carbon fiber insoles are shoe soles made from carbon fiber composite, an advanced material known for its high strength, lightweight, and remarkable durability. 

Carbon fiber insoles don’t just enhance shoe stability or add foot support like other regular insoles. Studies have shown that they also boost athletic performance, prevent injury, and relieve pain.

They are ergonomically designed to give you that extra edge. In fact, they even contribute considerably to your running (velocity) and jumping (height, distance) abilities. And have also been tested in football and basketball games for improved performance over time.

Needless to say, shoe soles are now available in so many variations — a shoe insert, a foot plate, an outsole or midsole, or even an orthotic. Again, some are removable, while others are not. Some can be used regardless of the type of the shoe (in running shoes or even in skiing boots), while some are built into the shoe.

It’s very easy to get lost among the many interesting options available to us.

From anti-odor and breathable to Olympic-grade — carbon fiber insoles too, come in a variety of custom options and are hardly ever “one-type-fits-all.”

But even if they are not generic, we believe they are the most optimal and adaptable option there is.

Prior to finding out what benefits they offer, let’s take a detour to understand the science behind the advanced ‘carbon fiber’ material. 

Why “carbon fiber” for insoles?

Carbon fiber is believed to be the new-found crown jewel of sporting goods. Carbon fiber rackets, ski boards, bikes, and golf clubs are among the latest trends.

But why the hype? 

It all starts with a simple carbon plate. A surface that absorbs, stores, and returns energy, thus improving the performance of anything it is added to. 

So, what is carbon fiber? 

We’d like to emphasize that whatever ‘carbon fiber’ equipment you’re looking for, they (mostly) aren’t just made of fibers or filaments of carbon. 

Carbon fiber insoles are made from carbon fiber composites: a combination of fibers, resins, and other components that gives it the necessary strength and versatility.

It’s just like how you would make a wall with bricks and cement.

Composites are bundles of these carbon fibers woven, arranged, layered together, and bound by resin. The resulting carbon plate can then be designed and redesigned for making carbon fiber insoles. 

Carbon fiber composites have the reputation of being a high-end material, but their unique properties are the very reason that they remain a popular choice. 

To list a few,

  • They are both strong and lightweight.  
  • Customizable for desired rigidity and flexibility.
  • Extremely durable. 
  • Can be recycled and made recyclable.

These distinguished properties of advanced materials are passed on to their applications, from which we could benefit in every way.

What are the benefits of carbon insoles?

Here’s a list of benefits that carbon fiber insoles offer their users: 

1. Rigid insoles, so you don’t walk on the moon: 

  • A customer review mentioned how using soft insoles gave them aches they didn’t have before. Somebody also compared it to a soft mattress that sinks in, thus making it uncomfortable. While this discomfort might not apply to everyone, carbon fiber insoles can definitely help with walking on Earth.
  • The rigidity (or stiffness) of insoles is the extent to which they can resist deformation during movement. It makes these rigid insoles precisely the solution to problems caused by excessive cushioning. 
  • It is also found that carbon fibers are twice as stiff as steel. High-strength, high-modulus carbon fibers can be used in the making of stiff insoles without adding extra weight to the shoe. 
  • Stiffening the shoes with carbon fiber insoles can also help curb certain slippery and painful movements of the feet, thus making moving less bothersome. 

2. Carbon fiber insoles weighing less than anything of the same strength: 

  • The carbon material used in the insoles has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, meaning they add a lot of strength for very little weight. 
  • The typical shoe insoles materials, like leather or foam, are also very lightweight, but they might not provide the strength benefits of carbon fiber insoles.
  • And their compact characteristics also help with the limited space available in the shoes to experiment with different dimensions of insoles. 

3. Optimally shock absorbing insoles:

  • Shock absorption is the salt of this recipe — best when optimal.
  • A Research study has explained shock-absorbing insoles with the example of a ball bouncing off a cushioned mat vs. a basketball court. On a cushioned surface, a lot of energy will be wasted as the ball will try to deform the non-rigid surface as it bounces. 
  • We saw earlier that carbon fiber insoles could be designed to have the desired rigidity (or stiffness). And hence, they don’t get much deformed when in use and exhaust the user, who would otherwise have to push the body constantly.  
  • Shock absorption is important to prevent injury and can ideally be also a benefit of standard foam insoles, given their cushioning abilities. 
  • But for managing the energy lost due to induced compression on irregular ground, carbon fiber insoles can be built with a hybrid design combining materials that optimize shock absorption.

4. Performance insoles for energy return:

  • Even if many factors tend to tilt toward an individual’s biomechanics, there’s ample room for improving athletic performance by using and mastering the right equipment over time.
  • A notable benefit of any high-performance insole is its energy return efficiency
  • Misleading sources might lead one to believe that insoles can generate “extra” energy, but that would defy physics. 
  • Energy return is simply the energy that wasn’t lost. In other words, if an insole can fully absorb, retain, and return the energy back to the user, only then will we get a 100% energy return.
  • Carbon fiber insoles can absorb the energy you put in due to their shock-absorbing nature, retain some of it, and return most of what was retained to you due to their rigidity
  • So even if these insoles don’t miraculously transform your game, they will definitely give you the competitive advantage you need to succeed.

5. Increased safety and reduced injury with carbon fiber insoles: 

  • While carbon fiber insoles’ “performance benefits” are always pressingly highlighted, their benefits also extend to foot orthotics
  • Orthotic insoles are mainly custom-made to support the feet and their posture. But carbon fiber insoles, too, can help with many common injuries in addition to protecting the feet from shock and reducing foot fatigue. 
  • A carbon fiber insole distributes pressure evenly across the foot, thereby helping with pain or inflammation in the foot’s ankle or arch, as in plantar fasciitis.
  • It can cure flat feet, high arch, overpronation where the footfalls far inwards while moving, help with sprains such as turf toes, and many other foot-related injuries. 

6. No cutbacks on the support, feel, and comfort of carbon fiber insoles: 

  • Even if carbon fiber insoles were to return maximum energy and alleviate every injury, they wouldn’t be worth it if they didn’t add to the overall comfort and experience. 
  • Their incredible arch support, heel support, and stable footbed are what make them well worth the investment.
  • But do they improve the underfoot experience and feel compared to standard insoles? Well, that depends mainly on the individual’s priorities. 
  • For most who prioritize long-term foot stability over short-term comfort, carbon fiber insoles can provide comparable comfort, adequate court feel, and weight-defying lateral support over standard insoles. 

7. Long lifespan of carbon fiber insoles:

  • The carbon fiber material is extremely durable and temperature and chemical-resistant. But when this material is used in shoes, their exposure to moisture, dirt, grit, and regular wear and tear is magnified. 
  • So, depending on the individual, if they are casual joggers or pro athletes, if they involve themselves in distance running or intense trekking, the durability of the carbon fiber insoles will differ. 
  • But having said that, carbon fiber insoles can last from many months to several years with proper care. 

Final word:

Will carbon fiber insoles make for the best pair you’ve ever had? We can’t say for sure. But we invite you to experience its strength, versatility, safety, and stability benefits firsthand.  

We’ve developed high-performing and sustainable materials made from ≈100% recycled carbon fiber. By incorporating these advanced second-generation materials in the soles, brands will be able to considerably reduce their shoes’ overall carbon footprint while enhancing their performing abilities.

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