Runner’s feet are a funny and fickle thing. What works for one person does not necessarily work for the other, even if two people have a similar foot style. Sometimes finding the perfectly designed shoe for your pronation, supination, flat foot, or high arch still isn’t enough to provide you with the proper support needed to withstand the pounding of mile after mile on the pavement or trail. This is where aftermarket inserts and orthotics come into play. Tuli’s (a member of the Medi-Dyne umbrella of companies) has a product that just might pair well with your favorite pair of kicks to provide the perfect amount of arch support and heel cushioning you need.
The Tuli’s Gaitor ¾ inserts, as the name implies, are a ¾ length insert designed to slide directly into a pair of shoes to instantly provide additional arch support. The thin carbon fiber design allows for the volume of the insert to be reduced without sacrificing strength, durability, and effectiveness. The cushioned “waffled” heel cup collapses with the motion of the foot, allowing for energy to be absorbed then returned back in a spring like manner as it reshapes. The surface of the insert is covered in a moisture wicking fabric which helps prevent odors and works to reduce blisters.
This all sounds too good to be true right? Well it might be or it might not be depending on your foot. As I said in my opening lines, everyone is different and what works for one may not work for another. I put around 25 miles spread out over 4-5 runs on my pair of ¾ gaitors before ultimately deciding they were not the product for me. At first I was amazed at how my feet really did feel like they were springing off the pavement. Unfortunately, by the end of each one of those runs, a nasty blister that had formed on the insole of my right foot was screaming at me. After run number one, I figured the inserts just needed a bit of a break in period. I even took time between runs to let my foot heal and have the irritated zone of my foot calm down. Unfortunately runs two through five were not too different from run number one. By the end of each run, my foot was in quite a bit of pain. It was an unfortunate reality as I really did like the support I was getting and the spring like feeling was very enjoyable.
Now, with all of that said, that isn’t to say these products would not work for everyone. I did receive arch support and heel cushioning as advertised. I’ve actually begun using these inserts in my dress shoes for work. As I’m not running in them, the blister issue isn’t a problem. My feet feel refreshed and ache free after standing on them most of the day. When I contacted Medi-Dyne about my issue, they immediately wanted to find a solution for me. They suggested that I try the full length inserts instead of the ¾ length as the blister was forming at the end of the ¾ insert. I’ll save the full review of the full length inserts for another time but since I’ve been using them, I have had all the same perks and none of the problems. My blister has gone away and my feet still feel like I’m running with springs on!
It is also worth mentioning that Medi-Dyne has a fantastic warranty as they stand behind their products and ultimately want their customers to be happy. They will almost always exchange an insert for their customers and in fact encourage them to call to help figure out which one would best meet their needs. I can say when I was deciding which one to get, Medi-Dyne customer support was above and beyond helpful in taking the time to explain to me my options.
So, while the Tuli’s ¾ insert wasn’t the right running product for me, I have still found an everyday use for it in my work shoes. Again, what works (or doesn’t work in this case) for me may work or not work for you. I encourage everyone looking for arch support and heel cushioning to browse the available options offered at www.medi-dyne.com. Don’t be afraid to try something out and see if you like it. If you don’t, the folks over at Medi-Dyne will be more than happy to help you find something you do. Use code ARM20 at checkout to get 20% off your purchase.