People are meant to walk, run and jump. But foot pain affects 25% of adults every day, keeping them from enjoying these activities. Your exploration of the earth shouldn’t be limited by plantar fasciitis, blisters, athlete's foot or other foot injuries. Shoe inserts can alleviate much of these problems, but only if they are made from the right material.
Synthetic materials are cheap to mass produce, but they don’t give you the natural support your body needs. Instead, they trap moisture and add weight to your step. We want a world where people walk on clouds, instead of dragging their feet through the mud. And to that end, cork insoles present an attractive option for people who want nature-based support for their feet.
To support yourself is to support nature. Your body is nature. Your feet are nature. Cork gives your feet the support that they can not get elsewhere. But what are the properties that make cork such a perfect material for insoles? Well, there are many reasons to choose cork. In a nutshell, cork is:
Cork insoles are light
Above all, insoles should be comfy. The more weight you’re carrying around, the more stress is placed on your feet. Insole users sometimes walk for hours on end through rough, uneven terrain. But you don’t have to be hiking up the Kilimanjaro to understand why every kilogram counts when you’re moving.
A light step reduces foot fatigue and the muscle pain associated with walking and running. Cork is incredibly lightweight and sturdy at the same time. Cork cells are made up of 90% air, which makes them almost as light as…well, air! So with cork insoles, your steps will be lighter, and you can take more of them. Cork is soft to the touch and forms a pillow for your feet, so it literally feels like walking on clouds. And with a comfortable insole that is close to weightless, you will be able to walk further and explore more.
Cork insoles support you
Even though they weigh almost nothing, cork insoles don’t offer any less support than synthetic insoles. On the contrary, lignin and the polysaccharides of the cell wall make sure the soles provide a unique mix of flexibility and rigid stability. This means that cork insoles lift you up, instead of weighing you down.
Most shoes are designed to fit as many people as possible. And wearing a high arch insole when you have low arches or vice versa feels worse than no insole at all. So to make sure shoes fit everyone out of the box, shoe manufacturers usually don’t include supportive insoles. Over time, this causes problems with your feet like overpronation or underpronation. Cork literally fills the gap, to make sure your feet don’t pay the price.
Cork insoles don’t only support you. They also support your shoes. Every step you take without protection wears out your shoes. Over time, this can erode even high-quality shoes. But the same impact resistant qualities that cork uses to protect your feet, protect the shoes they are in as well. So by using cork inserts, your favorite pair of shoes will last much longer.
Cork insoles are squishy
What that means, is that when you walk and run on insoles made of cork, you reduce the impact on your feet. Repeated shocks can lead to injuries such as stress fractures or heel spurs, but cork absorbs these shocks, so you can walk care-free.
This is possible because the cell walls of the cork bark have a so-called “honeycomb” structure, which makes it a natural impact absorber, while staying flexible. The flexibility of cork also allows it to adapt perfectly to your foot. After only 10 hours of walking, your insole will have formed to your foot, creating a fit that’s unique to every person.
With cork soles, you won’t wear out your body or your shoes. So both of them will last you much longer. And the cork insoles themselves? Well, cork is fully recyclable, so buying cork insoles instead of synthetic ones even helps our planet last longer. If that isn’t sustainable, then we don’t know what is.
Cork insoles regulate temperature
You want your shoes to be warm when it’s freezing outside and cool when the sun is out. With cork, you can have your cake and eat it too. Because there is such a high air content in the cells of cork, it is excellent in regulating temperature. The natural insulating properties of cork are used for houses, but they also do an outstanding job keeping your feet at the right temperature.
This isn’t a coincidence. The cork oak tree forests, where the highest quality cork is sourced from, are found in Portugal. The Mediterranean climate there has pushed the cork oak tree to develop its bark to be resistant against harsh temperatures and even forest fires. And if you’re worried about the cork oak trees themselves, rest assured. Harvesting the cork doesn’t damage the tree itself. It simply grows a new layer of cork once the old one is harvested.
Cork insoles stay dry
Synthetic materials trap moisture in your insoles and cause blisters, athletes foot and many other foot conditions. This also creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. But cork is known for its natural moisture wicking properties.
Cork is naturally hydrophobic, so it repels moisture instead of absorbing it. This makes sure your feet stay dry and odor free, whether you’re strolling through the streets of Mumbai or hiking through the Amazon rainforest.
Primal Soles support you
Your feet spend your entire life supporting you. So why not give them a little support? Whether you have high arches or low arches, we have the cork insole for you. All of our products are 100% recyclable in accordance with EU regulations - and sourced, produced and recycled at Cortiçeira Amorim in Portugal. By using Primal Soles, you help the cork oak forests thrive, while supporting yourself in the process.
Check out the PRIMAL Collection to find the perfect pair of Primal soles that will help you explore our beautiful planet. Support cork, and let cork support you.
Written by: Sanjay Ghosh