Review: Esker Approach Insoles
Esker Insoles takes a natural approach to orthotics with their Approach Insoles. Canadian wool felt, linen canvas, and natural rubber combined with a supportive orthotic shape make the Esker Approach Insoles a great way to keep your feet happy on the hills.
- Material: Wool Felt, Linen Canvas, and Natural Rubber
- Weight: 168 grams for a pair of size 44
- Country of Origin: Canada
Who is Esker?
Esker insoles is a collaboration between outdoor industry vets Andy Boniface, Patrick Long, and Paul Casdan, a Canadian Orthotics expert. Paul had already released a wool insole on Kickstarter when he was introduced to Andy and Patrick. Together, they founded Esker with the mission to create a Canadian-made plastic-free insole, and Esker was born.
What are the Esker Approach Insoles made of?
The Esker Approach is the first plastic-free insole on the market. To accomplish that task Esker uses three things in their creation: Wool Felt, Linen Canvas, and Natural Rubber.
The top of the footbed is made of Canadian Wool. The wool has anti-microbial properties and helps regulate temperatures much better than synthetic materials. The mid-layer of the insoles is made of undyed linen canvas from Flax. It is the foundation of the insoles and thanks to its woven structure it supports the shape of the insole while still allowing it to be flexible. Finally, the bottom layer of the insole is made of 100% natural rubber. The use of natural rubber allows Esker to avoid the use of harmful bonding agents and petroleum-based plastics so when it comes time to retire your Approach Insoles, you’ll feel much better about it.
How do the Esker Approach Insoles Fit?
The Approach Insoles are a little wide. Thanks to their tapered edges and flexibility you should not have to have to trim the edges of your insoles. The insoles have an integrated metatarsal pad with adaptive arch support. In layman’s terms, I would say they have mid-level arch support. It is supportive but not aggressively so. Thanks to the rubber there is also a little flex which means the insole gives a little under heavy loads which improve the comfort as they move with the wearer not against.
I’ve used the Esker Approach Insoles in my Scarpa running shoes, Dynafit ski boots, and some bike shoes. They slid into all of my shoes, albeit with a little bit of coaxing thanks to their width. On that note, they are a little bit bulky and heavier when compared to more typical insoles. So fans of thin insoles may want to look elsewhere for now and keep their fingers crossed for a thinner Esker.
The Esker Approach Insoles have kept my feet happy, both on and off the trail. And I put them through the pace. They’ve been used and abused on muddy trails, wet and sweaty skin tracks, cold ski descents, dusty bike trails and the list goes on. They’ve held up exceptionally well, which I can’t say for some of the other insoles I’ve worn.
I find summer is the most challenging time for insoles as I frequently put in 20km days. The heel of my previous insoles has basically fallen to pieces whereas the Esker Approach Insoles still looked great. Bear in mind, if you keep your shoes loose when you wear them your feet may slide around a bit which will likely prematurely wear out the wool on the top of the insoles.
I’ve found the anti-microbial properties of the insoles to be my favorite part. I often don’t wear socks after a day on the trail, which means I’m barefoot in my shoes. Not only are they super comfortable barefoot, but they don’t pick up any foot odor.
Who They’re For: The Esker Approach Insoles are for someone looking for an all-natural insole with Anti-Odor qualities that is made in Canada. They have great support and look like they are going to last quite a long time.
Who They’re Not For: Someone with already tight-fitting shoes that counts the grams of every piece of gear.
If you are interested in checking out the Esker Approach Insoles, head on over to Esker and check them out!
Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with a free sample of the Esker Approach Insole. This in no way affected our opinion and review of the Insoles.