I came across Somnio (HERE) online. Somnio is Latin for “dream.” Their mission is to help people achieve their lifestyle goals and do so while remaining injury and pain free. They claim that they aren’t just selling shoes; they’re solving problems, and are helping to make some dreams come true along the way. Somnio is founded on the principle that shoes should adapt to the individual and improve biomechanics. Every person is different, and they believe that every pair of shoes should be different, too, so they built a platform for making that possible. Their exclusive system of almost infinite shoes and limitless possibilities was designed in the nation’s leading sports medicine lab, and then tested and refined on “real runners”. Their adjustable component system is superior to every running and casual shoe currently on the market. They believe focus provides a clear path to achievement. They are focused on making great shoes that accommodate to every individual's needs.
They are focused on building the perfect Somnio shoe for you. And, that’s exactly what they did for me!!
The approach of Somnio’s design (as taken from their website):
Somnio’s design is embedded in the concept of alignment control and force distribution. To achieve this level of customization, Somnio utilizes a “direct” vs. “indirect” approach. Old convention achieves alignment control (in this case pronation control) through firmer medial mid-sole materials to “block” motion from happening (“indirect”). It does not address the actual alignment of the foot/ankle itself. When the same durometer (cushioning) is used across all weight categories, it can create a stiff/unnatural feeling for some runners. Somnio’s “direct” approach toward alignment control incorporates both the extrinsic and intrinsic design concepts utilized in orthotic prescription. Extrinsic posting in an orthotic changes the angulation of the foot/ankle while intrinsic posting supports the structural alignment of the foot and can be made to improve the foot/ankle alignment.
Last shape and medial mid-sole durometer options are offered in all Somnio models upon which further customization occurs. Somnio uses the different last/durometer options to accommodate for foot shape and weight categories.
Somnio achieves improved force distribution through improved alignment and customization of the cushioning inserts at the postero-lateral heel and across the metatarsal-phalangeal joints (balls of the feet). While old convention relies on numerous shoe models that try to predict the various combinations of firmness/softness that someone will like, the intangible “feel” of a shoe is a very personal experience and can be customized throughout the Somnio footwear line.
There are six shoes for men and six running models for women, ranging in price from $70 (on sale on the Somnio website) to $160.
I was asked to go get my “prescription” at a local running store. A prescription?!?! I had no clue what kind of fitting they had in store for me. The wonderful folks at Berkeley Running Company (HERE) in Madison helped me get fitted. WOW – what an amazing process! In the past I had just been asked by local running stores to run on the treadmill or to take a quick jaunt around the parking lot. I was simply asked if it was comfortable or not (How do you really know?!?!?). Or, I’d simply stop in and pick up another pair of the exact same shoe I was already using (typically the case). Well, not that day!! I was asked to use the patented Line-Up device and do a variety of activities to get fitted properly while barefoot. A model was then chosen for me and we played around with various cushions until I got what I thought was the right fit for me. They analyzed me as I ran on the treadmill and I tried out the shoes. I could still feel the pain and rubbing on the bunion on my right foot and we adjusted the cushioning accordingly. I ran on the treadmill again and immediately felt a difference. My foot felt completely different as I ran on the treadmill and there was no pressure on my bunion. It was amazing. It even made the impact on my right ankle seem lighter.
The Somnio fit process works in 5 easy steps:
The individual stands on our patented Line-Up device. (pictured above)
The fitter adjusts the varus until the knee is aligned.
The fitter uses the arch ball to select the correct footbed.
The fitter uses the chart to select the correct Ind-X inserts.
Then, the fitter slides the F.E.A.T system into the shoe for the individual to try.
BEYOND SHOE SIZE AND PRONATION: HOW TO TRULY CUSTOMIZE A SHOE.
The Line Up Measuring Device is our patented fitting tool.
The biomechanic design is a result of our partnership with the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. While the individual stands barefoot upon the Line Up Device, the fitter uses the adjustable slides to easily determine:
Which footbed fits their arch
Which cushion is appropriate for their weight and running surface
Which varus wedge inserts best align the foot and lower leg
Step 1: Line Up Device
Standing barefoot alignment assessment:
The shoe fitter measures arch height (Low, Normal, High) and pronation (Neutral, Mild, Moderate, Significant).
Supinators should chose a neutral model shoe to encourage any pronation.
Cushioning is selected based on body weight.
The individual does a single leg squat on the Line Up Device:
The individual places their heel against the heel cup. This allows the inherent tibial torsion of the lower leg (degree varies between people) to place the foot naturally vs. forcing the foot straight forward and imposing an internal rotation of the knee/femur.
Fitter lines up laser on middle of patella.
The individual perform a single leg squat (1/3 knee bend) while looking straight forward.
The individual performs a few repetitions of the squat so the fitter can assess typical running patterns.
Step 2: Adjust Varus
The fitter adjusts the varus using our patented Line Up Device.
The fitter adjusts the balance of the Line Up Device to optimize the alignment of the laser tracking on your patella.
Step 3: Use Arch Ball
In this step the fitter will select your ideal arch height based on:
General visual assessment of arch height (Low, Normal, High).
Historical tolerance of arch support (this is determined during your initial questioning).
Step 4: Select Components
The fitter will use the Durometer Gauge, your general weight and the varus setting to select your correct inserts.
Durometer will initially be based on body weight or injury needs and then be adjusted to accommodate for fit.
Step 5: Shoe Trial
Place the Functionally Engineered Adaptable Tricomponent [FEAT] System into the shoe.
The fitter will use their biomechanical knowledge to make specific adjustments to get the best shoe fit. Any necessary adjustments are based on how the shoe actually fits and feels.
The shoe fitter’s first priority is addressing any alignment needs with appropriate canting changes.
They will modify durometer of inserts to provide a good balance between comfort/feel and injury needs.
Arch height is typically a straight forward decision.
Here is the Somnio prescription that I was given:
Model: Womens Exact Change (I knew that I would need a stability shoe)
Women's Size 10 (my usual size)
This shoe provides stability. With a slightly curved last, it’s best suited for runners with medium to high arches and moderate pronation.
F.E.A.T.SYSTEM Functionally Engineered Adaptable Tricomponent SystemInterchangeable footbeds for a custom fit based on the runner’s arch height, providing more support and comfortIndX cushioning inserts for long-lasting cushioning and customization based on weight and preferred running surfaceTunable Varus angulation for addressing each runner’s particular biomechanical needs – like having a custom orthotic made specifically for your shoe2 Step dual density midsole for pronation controlRoll Bar midfoot bridge provides extra support and gait alignment during the transition from heel to forefootRoad Block tread rubber compound for durabilityStretch Mesh forefoot material allows the shoe to move with the foot and accomm dates a wide variety of foot typesLace Keeper keeps laces in place and tied
Neon Yellow Cushion front and back (Variable Cushioning (inner front and outer back) is based on the runner’s weight and preferred running surface.)
Varas Wedge - right foot is red; left foot is blue (Adjustable Varus Wedge inserts (three sizes) for biomechanical fine-tuning.)Provides correction of subtalar joint alignment (direct pronation control). Full foot varus wedges are utilized to provide better functional alignment control throughout stance phase (forefoot control is particularly needed during mid-to-late stance).
Footbed - right foot is green ++; left foot is green ++ ( Customizable Footbeds (three sizes) to match arch height and shape of foot.)Provides improved alignment control by more adequately supporting the arch structures (aids in “intrinsic control” of subtalar joint alignment. Increased comfort (allows for accommodation to both the high and low ends of the arch height spectrum).
Footbed packages (HERE) retail for $40 on the Somnio website. They also had these for sale at the running store.
Running Diva Mom’s Experience with Somnio Running Shoes:
Fitting day was like a "spa day" at the running store. The fitting took about one hour of pampering (the store was kind of busy, too) with my professional fitter and I left with my “prescription” to email to Somnio. I received my shoes about one week later and have been using them for the past month (all on the treadmill). I was even able to pound out that half marathon the treadmill last weekend. Since my right foot and left foot had slightly different prescriptions, I did feel a little difference in my shoes when I first put them on, and even during the first mile of my runs. In the right foot, the cusion felt similar to when my sock is bunched up under my foot. Kind of annoying at first. But, that went away as I got about a mile in and got comfortable with my shoes. Very comfortable. I also noticed that the shoes seemed “chunkier” and not as “slender” as my Brooks (not that my Brooks were a sleek design either). Appearance-wise, they seemed less feminine (less sleek/slender) and I certainly wish that they had some girly color options (think pink!). But, outside of my annoying personal color preferences, the performance on these babies was great. The toe box seemed a lot wider. My toes seemed to move better and more freely and they didn’t fall asleep like they do sometimes when I’m running at longer distances. I did get a blood blister under my longest toenail (like I usually do in my Brooks on long runs). I’m not sure if this was the shoes, just my annoying feet, the fact that my nail may have been too long at the time, or if my toe simply couldn’t stand the same exact pounding/wear on the treadmill time after time after time (versus being outside on the road and having some variety). So, the fit was great. My bunions didn’t hurt (even after that 13 mile run on the treadmill). And, my feet still don’t ache about 100 miles later. I am absolutely, completely amazed about that fact! One downfall is the suggested retail price for these shoes and the fact that you also have to purchase the cushions as they wear down. An added expense. Running is already an expensive hobby (despite what non-runners may think!). But, based on my personal experience and what they’ve done to make my feet happy again – I think they are a great investment! What a difference. I suppose that I could justify the splurge by taking the money that I spent at a discount department store (on a couple of pairs of cheap shoes every few months) and apply that to these babies?! I would totally recommend these shoes to anyone that has problems with their feet or just wants to try something new. The fitting experience, alone, was enough to make me more informed and make me appreciate what my feet (and my body) are actually doing for me.
One VERY lucky winner will win a
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Enter now though Thursday, December 9th.
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