Thursday, August 12, 2010

Somnio Shoe Review

Now it’s time to put away the excitement of this week and settle down with a product review.

About a month ago Somnio asked if I would try out their custom fitted running shoes. As I usually say when I am offered free things to try, especially those related to running, “Okay, but can I bake you a cake or rub your feet or something? How ‘bout I buy you a drink?” I feel like we should barter.

About Somnio

Let me tell you how Somnio works, because it’s a very cool thing for us runners who are looking for that perfect fit, but haven’t had much luck. In their own words, “Somnio is founded on the principle that shoes should adapt to the individual and improve biomechanics.”

The question is, how does Somnio create the perfect fit for you? There are four variables that Somnio interchanges in order to make it a custom fit:

  • Variable cushioning in both the front and rear of the shoe. Depending on the type of surface you run on (asphalt? dirt?) and your weight, Somnio determines the type of cushioning you will need in two distinct parts of the shoe.
  • Adjustable verus wedge inserts to fine tune your biomechanics. Pronate? No problem. Somnio adds an insert to correct your particular biomechanical issue.
  • Customizable foot beds to match your arch height and foot shape.

Because each foot is looked at individually, each shoe is customized for each foot. No more buying a pair of shoes to correct pronation on one side even though you don’t have it on the other! In fact, if your feet are different sizes, Somnio can cater to that as well.

One thing to keep in mind is that these shoes run small. I typically wear an 8 regular shoe, 9 running shoe, and 9.5 Somnio shoe.

Getting Fitted

To get fitted for my shoes I went to a local retailer in Boulder, Z-Coil. They did the typical gait analysis on the treadmill. During this process the shoe fitter uses gait analysis software that compares side by side and forward facing/rear facing views of the runner. Video speed is increased or decreased to provide proper analysis.

Another part of the fitting process included:

  1. Standing on Somnio’s patented Line-Up device.
  2. The fitter adjusting the varus until the knee is aligned.
  3. The fitter using the arch ball to select the correct footbed.
  4. The fitter using the chart to select the correct Ind-X inserts.

And voila! The shoe is ready to try. Here’s what I ended up with, the Pacemaker:


Running in My New Somnios

Before I took a run, I got some candid shots with my new kicks:

Laying down:


Chillaxin’ (dumb word, but I’ve never used it). Man them shoes are white:


With one-eyed, three legged Lucky (and my gross slippers that smell like ass):


By the toilet. Won’t be the last time these shoes see a toilet:


On the counter because according to my kids this is where shoes and fingernail clippings and bloody tissues belong:


Then, the moment of truth. I ran for the first time in the Somnios. The fit was great. Aesthetically speaking, they are a wider shoe and have a bulkier appearance than I am used to. They are, however, a light shoe, which I love (it is the lightest weight shoe they sell). The cushioning felt comfortable and was not too marshmallowy or too hard/stiff (that’s what she said). I actually did an interval workout in these and was pleasantly surprised at how natural it felt to do speed work in a shoe that I had not broken in properly (I never said I was smart). One thing I really liked was the wide toe box. Some shoes I have tried really narrow at the front causing my toes to cram together. One negative: these shoes seem to have a flatter outsole to them which sometimes made me feel I was slapping the ground.

I am now going to start rotating these shoes with my Mizuno Wave Inspires. Apparently circulating the wear of your running shoes while training is a good way to extend the life of your shoes (duh!). It also helps prevent injury by using different muscles and ensuring you’re not running in worn down shoes.

Of course, as Jimmy pointed out in the comments, the real moments of truth come in the future miles to be put on these shoes. This may not be the case with everyone, but if a shoe feels good to me on my first few runs in it, I generally continue to like it. Times that I have had to return shoes have been after wearing them only once or twice. I have known right away if they will work or not. Certainly, there could be a time when this does not hold true.  If I do have any major concerns about these shoes or they don’t serve me well over the long run, I will be sure to do a second review.

Price. It’s what you want to know about. Prices range from $135 (the cost of the above shoe) to $160. It’s steep, but my bet is you are paying $80-$110 for a good pair of running shoes right now. You get what you pay for. In this case, you are paying for the custom fit and a very high quality shoe.

You can find a retailer near you on the Somnio website.

Thumbs up, Somnio and thanks for the chance to try these babies out.

Don’t forget my Take the Pain Away Giveaway, which ends tomorrow. Salonpas has generously offered to give out 12 instead of 10 packs, so your chances of winning just got better. Salonpas is also hosting a Pain Free and Proud contest to encourage people to share their stories about how Salonpas has helped them.  They are accepting entries for the second cycle of the contest up until Sunday August 15th. The Grand Prize is a 2-day spa getaway vacation for two people to Miraval Spa in Tucson, AZ.

Fine Print: Somnio gave me these shoes to review free of charge.


  1. After seeing the shoe on toilet photo. I'm sold.

  2. Great review, I might check these out for my next pair of running shoes.
    PS I love Lucky, he's just so dang adorable, which is hard to do with one eye and three legs.

  3. Whoo wee! $135 - $165, huh? I think that price warrants a second review after you've had a chance to put some real miles on them!

  4. Great photo shoot! I'd have to agree with Emz, the toilet pic sold me too.

  5. Nice kicks! BTW, I use "chillaxin" all the time! LOL

  6. I'm so glad you introduced them to the toilet. That's a great idea. I'll be allowing my new shoes to meet that buddy o' mine as well. Great idea.

    BTW - LOVED the interview with Dean. You rock!

  7. way cool. i want to be fitted for shoes!

  8. Do they have a trail version? I have crappy-to-fit feet, so might be interested.

  9. I have a feeling somnio will want to use that glam toilet shot in all their promotional materials in the future!

  10. I've never had a custom pair of shoes (running in Asic Gel Strike IIs right now) and it's time for a replacement. I'll have to commit to all kinds of "favors" for my husband to let me spend $160 on new shoes.

    Worth it, though. Thanks!

  11. Everyone should use "Chillaxin'" at least once in their life. So, uhm, check!

  12. Phew...I would love to try these out (considering I have a 50% athlete patient population) but as everyone else has said, they're a leeeeetle pricey to try out on my own.

    So cool you got to try them out though - especially with your BIG RUN coming up!

  13. very interesting. i wear orthotics and i need them in my shoes. but if the shoe was custom made would you need them anymore?

  14. That's awesome how they customize each shoe to fit that foot instead of buying the same shoe for both feet if they are different! :D

  15. I'm super glad to see this review! I don't know anyone else who has worn them. I'll be looking forward to the second review after you've put in some wear/mileage on them.

    I'm super intrigued by these shoes and have wanted to try them, mostly because I always need inserts or custom orthotics to make my shoes fit just about correctly -- I have a ton of bio-mechanical issues, but that's another story. I end up paying an arm and a a leg, anyway. If Somnino reads this, I'd be willing to review a pair! (LOL)

    The toilet picture is the money shot.

  16. Love the toilet shot : ) I am due for a new pair of running shoes very soon. I'm pronater. My heel is a victim of that so I may check these out.

  17. I keep hearing about these shoes, I'm going to have to put them on my birthday list and tell the hub to save up!

    Now, if only my legs would look as good in them as yours do!