Travel footwear hack: SOLE Active footbeds

One of the best tips I ever got as a travel writer was to put SOLE footbeds into all my travel shoes. Instantly, even mediocre shoes are made high quality, and one pair of shoes can suddenly perform dual purpose: a pair of trainers can become hiking shoes, or a pair of slip-on loafers can become city tour-ready.

SOLE’s new Active line of footbeds utilizes their signature shape, so if you’re familiar with SOLE, you’ll know you’ll get a supportive arch. Note: if you don’t like any arch to your footbed, this may not be the product for you. The SOLE Active has more cushion than their regular line, so make sure your shoe has enough space for them. That said, my husband tried a pair in his favorite dress shoes, and while he wasn’t sure they’d fit nicely, they work just fine.

You get customizable support and, maybe best fo all, odor control technology so your shoes won’t stink up your hotel room or the plane if you slip them off. The topsheet is moisture-wicking and you get the support you need for light hiking, stair climbing, city touring, and airport terminal sprinting.

As noted, these insoles will fit in almost any shoe, but I advise pulling the original footbed out first, to give you a more snug and authentic fit. The Active line comes in several types, all of which are zero-drop. The medium we tried out is the median-option, between the standard and the performance line (best for those pursuing serious sports).

Put an Active Medium footbed in any pair of your own shoes for $45 from SOLE. I now have SOLE footbeds in both my favorite travel shoes, and won’t go back to the original footbeds any time soon. There’s both a men’s and women’s version, and we found the active line to be wider than the standard. You can also find SOLE footbeds at a number of online retailers, sometimes for a few bucks less.


Amy Whitley is a freelance creative and travel writer and founding editor of the family travel website Pit Stops for Kids. An avid lover of the outdoors, Amy makes her home in Southern Oregon, where she, her husband, and three school-aged children spend much of their time backpacking, camping, skiing, and hiking. When not exploring her own backyard, Amy and her family hit the road for travel reviews of resorts, tour operations, and hotels across the country and abroad. Follow Amy Whitley on Twitter and Facebook.

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