Can you really get well-made custom insoles from an app? Using ExoSols' mobile app to take photos of your feet, you can create 3D-printed insoles, and the company promises to deliver them to your door in a week. Is this $99 service for real? Count me as one who was skeptical, but I'm now convinced.
When I was fitted for insoles by a podiatrist a year or two ago, he had me place my feet inside a foam-filled box that recorded every single contour of the bottom of my feet. ExoSols eliminates the middleman by having you take photos of your feet, and then you can use its app to send those photos to the company.
The first step in getting sized for the insoles is to download the ExoSols app to your Android or iOS device. It’s probably easiest if you use a smartphone rather than a tablet, as you’ll have to take photos with whatever device you use.
After creating an account on the app, it had me enter my height, weight and shoe size. Next, it walked me through a few other screens, to see where my shoes were most worn, and when I experienced the most discomfort.
The app then guided me as I took four photos of my feet (two photos per foot). The first was an overhead profile of my foot next to an 8.5 x 11-inch piece of paper. The other photo was a side shot from the floor, to show the arch of my foot.
ExoSols recommends that you have a friend take the photos. I recommend that you do, too. I tried taking the photos, but it was very difficult, if not impossible, for me to get the correct shot. Finally, the app scanned and uploaded the photos of my feet.
You can also choose between two fabric options: Comfy, a layered top-knit fabric with a smooth foundation; and Sturdy, which has interwoven steel fibers. I went with the latter.
I received a confirmation email from ExoSols, but despite a claim on its site that the company's lead time is just six days, two weeks passed with nary a word from ExoSols. I finally emailed the company's customer support center, and heard back that my order would be shipped out "in the next few days." However, to my surprise, the insoles arrived the next day.
If the Shoe Fits…
The insoles slid easily into my shoes, so I didn’t have to trim the tops of them, as you would have to do with the ones you buy from a store. And they felt great as I went about my daily routine, and they even survived a business trip.
They provided very nice arch support, but unlike my other insoles, which were made by a podiatrist, they didn’t have any additional support for my metatarsal arch, even though I had indicated in the app that I experienced pain in that area of my foot. Regardless, while wearing the ExoSols for two weeks, I never felt pain in my feet, so it must have been doing something right.
If you purchase ExoSols through the company's app, health insurance plans don't cover the cost. However, ExoSols can also be sold by podiatrists, who can provide more precise fittings. You can search for providers through Exosols’ website; I found three within a mile of my office.
As someone who runs a lot, keeping my feet comfortable is a big priority, so I was a bit wary of ExoSols’ claims. After wearing them for two weeks, however, I liked the support they gave to my arches. While I still might go to a podiatrist for a more accurate fitting, the ExoSols are a good, do-it-yourself alternative.