As I have mentioned before in previous posts, I am a product tester for BzzAgent, and love every second of it. I have been sent some amazing products absolutely free, to test, try and review for all you lovely people out there!
This time I was sent a pair of Scholl Gel Activ Insoles to test – I chose the ‘Extreme Heels’ variety to try, as they are the style of shoes I wear the most.
This was the perfect product for me to be sent to test out, as I don’t own a pair of heels lower than 4 inches, and I wear them on a very regular basis – whether it’s out shopping with friends, or going out for lunch with the family. I have tried out various types of insoles in the past, and have never been able to find one that agreed with me.
The packaging of these insoles is really great; it has a cut out on both sides of the plastic, allowing you to feel the insoles, which I think is a great feature as it allows you to judge their thickness and flexibility. It has all the necessary information on the back, including how to attach them to your shoe in the optimum place for comfort, and the packaging itself is plastic around the insoles to protect them from bumps and knocks before buying, with the outer piece being cardboard, meaning you can easily get the insoles out without scissors – we’ve all bought something in the past that has been completely encased in thick plastic and you have to wait till you get home then dig around for scissors, and have to hack away just to get it out!
As I stated earlier, I chose the Extreme Heels option. They have very small bobbles all over the front end, and a thin ridge of gel which I assume is meant to go near the ball of your foot, just before where the toes start. It also has a large oval shaped cushion of gel which will sit in the arch of your foot to give extra support. When taking them out I was immediately surprised that they are so small, they look like insoles for toddlers! It hit me then that they would only be for the ball of your feet within the shoe, which seemed a bit odd as your heel also takes a lot of stress and pressure whilst wearing heels. One feature I really liked was that they are self-adhesive, I’ve always found that my insoles slip around in my shoe, and when I take my foot out the insoles doubles back on itself and comes out too – but this should mean that’s no longer an issue.
I chose to stick these into the heels I wear the most, my sand coloured suede Fiore shoes with the wooden heel. As these insoles are extremely flexible, it was a bit tricky sticking them into my shoe, they wobbled about like a wet fish! I got the left one in first time but had to redo the right one twice to get it to sit in the perfect place. I recommend lining the wider part up half way down the toe area of the shoe, and slowly smoothing down the back to avoid air bubbles and to make sure it’s straight.
I wore these shoes out in the morning to go out for lunch and then shopping with a friend, and as I was wearing a skirt, I wore them with hold-up stockings. My foot slipped in beautifully and I didn’t notice a difference in the size of the shoe, they didn’t feel tight or uncomfortable, so the insole had no effect on the shoe’s sizing which is a big plus! I could feel the bobbles of the insole and it was an odd sensation at first, but as soon as I got used to it I found it quite relaxing.
Later that evening I went out to town for drinks with close friends, and as I was wearing the shoes with slim fit trousers, I wore them with just bare feet. There was an immediate difference, the shoes immediately felt tighter, and my feet didn’t slip into them as smoothly as they did when I wore my stockings. I couldn’t feel the bumps on them as much with bare feet, they just felt like plain gel insoles to me, still cushioning, but without the added massaging feeling. My foot felt like it was stuck to the insole, it didn’t move about as freely as it usually does, or like how it did earlier with stockings on, there was no freedom of movement, and it wasn’t comfortable at all. After about half an hour I noticed that my feet felt really hot and uncomfortable, nothing like when I had worn them earlier. About an hour into the evening I had to take my shoes off, and only put them back on to hobble to a taxi, no way I would be able to do my usual walk home in them!
When I got home I took off my shoes and saw that I had a nasty blister on the edge of my right little toe, no doubt caused by the insole not giving my foot anywhere to move about, causing it to rub against the side of the shoe. Never in the 4 years I have owned these shoes have they ever given me a blister, so I think it’s fair to say the insoles contributed to this nasty surprise.
My next test was whether or not they could be transferred from one pair of shoes to another. I gently lifted up the thinner end of the insole and peeled it back from the shoes sole – and disaster. It was pulling the shoes lining out with it, causing it to loosen from the shoe and flap about. This made me absolutely furious as I take amazing care of my shoes, yet these simple pair of insoles have almost wrecked a pair I love. After very gingerly lifting the rest of the insole out, they were free – meanwhile my shoes were put aside to be mended at a later date. The insoles were still sticky and easily attached to a new pair of heels with no worries – and they will now stay in these shoes forever as I don’t want to risk another pair getting damaged by there powerful pulling power!
One other complaint I had was after reading the back of the packaging in depth, I noticed it stated it was suitable for shoe sizes UK 3-7.5. This seems ridiculous to me as most high street shoe shops sell up to a size UK 9, so the insoles should reflect that, otherwise it leaves a considerable amount of people unable to use them to there full potential. I also find that they are quite narrow across the ball of your foot, I have quite wide feet so I found that my foot went over the edges of the insoles, which wasn’t exactly painful as the edges of the insoles are tapered and thin, but it was a bit uncomfortable at times, especially when I was wearing the shoes without any stockings or tights as I could feel where it stopped.
It would be wise for them to make a wide fit option and go up to a larger shoe size, as not all of us have small, thin feet.
Overall I think that these insoles are good quality, providing you don’t remove them from the pair of shoes they are attached to. I also think they work a lot better, and are most comfortable if used when wearing tights/stockings. I think the pricing is average for a pair of insoles, especially since they cannot be moved from one pair of shoes to another.
Let me know what you guys think about the various insoles on the market, have you used a pair that was brilliant? Do you find them useful, or a waste of money? Would love to hear from you all!