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Review: Zelus insoles may eliminate sore feet, joints and lower back pain

Protalus featured, best insoles, hiking boots
600 300 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

 If you stand or walk a lot at work, quality insoles may help eliminate sore feet, joints and lower back pain.

by Leon Pantenburg

Zelus™ supplied the insoles used in this review. I was not paid to write this review, and the company had no input into any of the content. At the time of publication, there was no advertising relationship between Survivalcommonsense.com and Zelus™

I walk every morning and evening – an energetic black Lab assures I don’t spend too much time behind a computer screen, and that I get outdoors, rain or shine.

Leon, Moraine lake trail, protalus

Me modeling the Zelus insoles at the base of South Sister.

Recently, I was walking the dog while wearing my flip-flops when I ran into neighbors Suzanne and Mike Gainey. They gave me a bad time about my footwear, naturally, and over the course of the conversation as we walked together, Suzanne asked what I would wear if I was really hiking.

Well, I’m outdoors year-round, hiking, hunting and backpacking, and wear a lot of different boots and shoes. I use insoles frequently, particularly for winter hunting.

Suzanne suggested I try a pair of Zelus™  insoles. So I did.

I know all about aching feet, sore knees and lower back pain, and how your footwear can impact those problems. As a college student, I sacked groceries and stocked shelves in a grocery store. All us carryout people walked constantly. Over an eight-hour shift, we probably logged in between 15 to 20 miles.

My “gap year” from college was spent working in a transmission factory. We were required to stand in place on the assembly line throughout the shift. Standing was worse than walking as far as causing sore feet and aching joints.

If you work on your feet, you don’t need to be told about the importance of quality footwear. But do insoles come into the picture?

The proper felt insoles can make your boots warmer and more comfortable. Well-designed insoles can reduce stress and strain on your feet, ankles, knees and back.

I decided to put the Zelus™  insoles to the test when my old hiking buddy, John Nerness of Los Gatos, California came to visit in Central Oregon in August. We’ve been hiking, canoeing and trekking together since 1971, in areas as diverse as Death Valley and the Okefenokee Swamp.

We started out hiking  the Green Lakes loop in the Cascades.  I deliberately wore lightweight, low quarter trekking shoes because I figured they would make my feet sore. (Both John and I wear wool socks when hiking, regardless of the time of year.) Sure enough, my feet started to get a little tender about four miles into the hike.

I swapped out the factory insoles for the Zelus™. It was wonderful – my soon-to-be tired and sore feet miraculously recovered on the four-mile hike back to the trailhead.

Protalus, insoles, shoe comfort

I tried the insoles in three different types of boots.

The next day, we hiked the Shevlin Park Loop. Same story. That was followed by another hike on the Moraine Lake Trail, headed toward the summit of South Sister, in a different pair of shoes.The total mileage for the week was about 25 miles on varied terrains, with the Zelus™ insoles being used in different types of shoes.

The grand finale occurred that weekend when I put the Zelus™ into a pair of  poorly-designed, old-timey costume shoes. I’m a fiddler in a living history band at the High Desert Museum, and we played for almost three hours. I was on my feet the whole performance.

Zelus™ insoles come in a variety of configurations. The company claims its products “are engineered bio-mechanically for proper body alignment – to control the rolling of the ankle. This creates a more neutral position which greatly reduces both pain and fatigue.”

Here are the Posuedeus specs:

  • FULL-LENGTH INSOLE
  • THERMOPLASTIC ARCH SUPPORT
  • SMARTCELLS ZING IN HEEL + FOREFOOT
  • SIGNATURE SUEDE TOP COVER
  • PORON® CUSHION MID LAYER
  • HAND FORMED + FINISHED

The good stuff:

Comfort: They feel good. The foot bed fits my wide feet nicely, and they were comfortable to wear immediately. They can make a variety of different shoes feel more comfortable.

Zelus Posuedeus insole, eliminate back pain

The Posuedeus features Smart Cells Zing in the heel and forefoot.

Material: Over time, anything worn inside a shoe is bound to get sweaty and stinky. The insoles are easily surface washed with a soft detergent and water and air dried.

Zelus™ Posuedeus insoles retail for $64.00 per pair.

Are Zelus™ Posuedeus insoles worth the money?

Personally, I’d think twice about investing 64 bucks on insoles. They cost way more than some of the more commonly available, less expensive brands. Besides, buy quality footwear, and quality insoles should come with them, right?

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Insoles may are an area where shoe companies scrimp to save manufacturing costs. You might get some quality shoes with crappy insoles that would require replacement anyway.

Several aspects of shoe design and fit combine to provide comfort and support. Quality insoles are just part of that. And well-designed insoles will not make up for cheap, ill-fitting shoes.

But if you’re on your feet all day, walking or standing, initial cost of the insoles will be secondary to preventing aching feet, knees or lower back.

Investing in a pair of Zelus™  Posuedeus insoles may be money well-spent.

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