Memory foam, like a smart phone, is one of those products you don’t know you need until you have it. You wonder how you ever got along without it. This amazing material was developed by NASA, and like Velcro, it is proving to be a world-changing product. If you’ve ever had the chance to relax on a memory foam mattress, you know the sweet, sweet bliss of the sinking feeling as the foam slowly molds to the shape of your body.
Naturally, it was only a matter of time before memory foam found its way out of bed and into your shoes. While most insoles take a little time to “break in,” memory foam conforms to the curvature of your foot right from the start, and recent breakthroughs in the makeup of the product allow it to hold its shape even after your foot is out of the shoe.
For those who use their shoes for casual walking, memory foam shoes are a delightfully refreshing switch. The cushion of memory foam is virtually unparalleled, making them extremely comfy for people suffering from foot ailments like bone spurs.
That said, those intending to do serious running, shoes made largely from memory foam tend to lack an efficient rebound because there is too much give in the insole. This can reduce the efficiency of your stride, ultimately resulting in more work for you with every step (think of running across loose sand at the beach.) This many not be highly noticeable when you’re out for a casual run, but when you’re putting in serious miles, you will definitely notice that shoes made entirely from memory foam do not have the same potency as a regular running shoe.
Fortunately, there is a way to get the best of both worlds! Superfeet is beginning to explore the potential uses of memory foam in insoles. Superfeet, famous for its custom insoles that go through a heated molding process to confirm to the precise shape of one’s foot, has coupled that with memory form. This new technology doesn’t require heating the insole. This three-layer DMP Insole features three separate layers of memory foam, each layer serving a unique purpose. The bottom layer is designed to provide stability and support, while the top two layers offer molded cushioning to the foot.
Other companies have integrated memory foam into their technology in pieces and parts. Asics, for example, created the Gel Oracle with a memory foam heel cup. This allows for added cushioning and a more customized fit. By incorporating the memory foam into an actual running shoe, Asics has managed to offer a shoe that maintains efficiency while adding to comfort and footbed customization.
Though memory foam shoes may not be for everyone, they certainly have their fans. People who aren’t looking for serious running shoes, but rather a shoe that is focused on comfort and cushioning, a memory foam shoe may be an ideal solution. However, for those of you who are looking for something to do some serious training, Dardano’s recommends going with a standard running shoe that will still offer cushioning but not at the cost of efficiency.