In this article, I’m going to tell you about the single most important $99 purchase I’ve made in over ten years! Of all my “biohacks” — I can maybe go a day without Bulletproof coffee or a week without cold showers — but I literally will not go a single day without my ALINE inserts. Yes. That’s right. Shoe inserts. I see you rolling your eyes. This is definitely not the most glamorous hack, but the ripple effects it’s had on my health and social life have been game changing.
I developed severe hip and lower back issues in my late 20s. I blame it on a combination of years spent wearing TOMS, plus intense periods of running and cycling without the proper footwear or form.
And I’m probably not alone. So many of us are walking around with hip and back issues and don’t even know it…or maybe we’re just ignoring the problem. I did that for two and a half years until my hip pain got so bad I thought I only had two options: surgery or keep taking two Advil every day for the rest of my life.
I did physical therapy and saw a chiropractor, which helped a lot. But hundreds of dollars later and I still felt like I was limping while walking and I couldn’t shake the pain from my left hip. That was until I discovered the company ALINE at the Bulletproof Conference in LA. They did a full examination of my lower body and feet using state-of-the-art laser technology, and it turns out my right ankle was shooting inward while my left ankle was totally straight.
Based on this imbalance and the hip pain I was experiencing, they recommended the classic ALINE insert. And I swear within a matter of days I was feeling relief and walking better. Now I’ve tested a ton of different inserts over the years, including the ever-popular Dr. Scholl’s, Superfeet, and Currex. But nothing has come close to the power of ALINE. Nearly a year after buying them and I’m still walking better than ever. Plus I only see the chiropractor once every few months versus twice a week.
Now onto the reason these inserts are different, and in my opinion, better. ALINEs are the only insoles that allow your feet to move freely, restoring your barefoot function and lower body alignment. They have more than 100 dynamic support and suspension structures, and these help activate your natural barefoot functions. It feels like you’re walking barefoot, but the inserts keep your feet, legs, hips, and back in alignment during any activity. Many other inserts, including the very popular Dr. Scholl’s, are made with rubber or gel, which provides cushion and shock absorption but doesn’t actually help contour your feet. And others are full of foam, which can cause instability. Even custom orthotics, which can be extremely expensive, only capture the foot in one shape, which can be problematic because the foot doesn’t just have one shape.
So here’s how their technology works:
- Dynamic Ribbing: This essentially gives your foot the freedom to move naturally and form to the natural contour of your feet.
- Suspension Zones: This is the part of the insole designed for lower body alignment. It sets the foundation to help keep your knees, hips, and back aligned while you move.
- Shock Absorption: The combo of the gel pad and heel cup absorb impact, which helps with everything from everyday walking to marathon running.
Aline has the backing of several Olympic athletes and they claim their inserts help with everything from plantar fasciitis to bunions and heel spurs. If you’re thinking about getting inserts, I highly recommend you get your feet assessed first. I visited A Runner’s Mind in San Francisco where I was given us a full diagnostic of my feet while running — looking at everything from my stride to pronation and arch shape. From there, I was able to gauge how much support I needed in my shoes.
Even though these inserts are not custom orthotics, they do make the online purchase experience as personalized as possible, by having you answer a series of questions about your activity level and pain points to determine the best type for you. Plus they have a 30 day free trial so there’s nothing to lose in testing them out.
Now the only pain point (get it??) is the price. One pair is $99, which may seem like a big upfront investment. But to be able to walk better and not experience pain — you just can’t put a price tag on that. Plus these inserts are built to last. If you use them everyday with average use, you’ll probably need to replace them after 12 months of so. I’ve had them for over a year and they’re still going strong.
In fact, I love them so much I bought a second pair. And I bought a pair for every single member of my family. And one for my best friend who stands on her feet all day. I am #not sponsored, but I will truly say in terms of biohacks, this is one I can’t live without. And so if you suffer from any sort of lower body pain, I highly recommend you check them out.