Clearly, our great sport of cross country skiing is becoming more popular. How do we tell? Well, there are obvious signs. Like more and more companies entering the competition for skiers’ hard earned dollar, offering their hitherto unknown wares. Not something that they would consider on a shrinking market, right?
The German brand Solestar is primarily known for their high-tech ( and uber-expensive ) insoles used by some of the world’s best cyclists – such as André Greipel, Matteo Trentin, Steve Cummings and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot to name but a few.
To develop a product fit for xc skiers the Germans have enlisted help of no lesser figure than Jean-Marc Gaillard, a skier from Equipe de France who’s career is spanning nearly two decades ( and running) – seen on the photo below in a company of Oliver Elsenbach, sports scientist and co-founder of the Solestar company.
To get a better idea of what could Solestar Nordic do for a skier, we reached to the company represantive Judith Schlumberger-Steger
1) Who is it for e.g. elite skier like Jean-Marc Gaillard himself, advanced amateur or “occasional weekend warrior”?
Our insoles are of benefit for ambitious athletes as well as for hobby sportspeople. Every athlete, regardless of his level, benefits from a biomechanically optimized and profoundly more stable base for the foot in the boot. It is the matter of practicing the sport with pleasure and comfort and at the same time improving the own performance.
SOLESTAR NORDIC are based on the patented SOLESTAR functioning principle, which was originally developed for cycling. With three main contact points, the foot – regardless of the individual foot shape – is brought into the neutral position, where it then remains. We have now adapted this insole design, which has been tried and tested in the cycling industry very well, for the specific needs in cross-country skiing. It was the matter for us extending our philosophy “one shape fits all” also in this way that with SOLESTAR NORDIC there is an insole which works for all disciplines/techniques in cross-country skiing.
2) What, specifically, does one stand to gain from using them?
The main advantages of SOLESTAR NORDIC are:
+ Higher stability in the xc ski boot
+ More control over the skis
+ Better power transfer
3) Where are the insoles benefits are most obvious i.e. classical diagonal, skate (freestyle) or doublepoling style?
In each discipline, the SOLESTAR NORDIC have an advantage which, however, is also different due to the different specification demands. In general, the more complex the movement process is, the more benefits are gained by the insoles. However, the complexity of the movement process is being experienced individually in a different way. Or, in other words, skating is more complicated for someone, and classical technique for the other one. From experience skating is the most difficult for most of the athletes. Therefore you can say the SOLESTAR NORDIC are of most benefit for skating.
Considering the different techniques then the SOLESTAR NORDIC are of benefit for Classic style mainly at
+ defined force impact
+ improved guidance in the gliding periods
+ more control over the ski.
In Skating the support of SOLESTAR NORDIC is particularly evident in
+ stable gliding period for optimized recovery
+ regulated edge pressure for exact power transmission
+ precise controlling of the skis
+ more stability for the ski in the weight shift
To that we add:
– Solestar Nordic is not the first attempt to conquer the hearts of skiers through the soles of their feet: Rottefella a few years ago was actively marketing its Xcelerator insoles, that could be had in two flavors: Skate and Classic
– Unlike Solestar’s flagship BLK model that utilizes carbon fiber, the Nordics’ core is made of glass reinforced PA. The company says that “the material is stiff enough to keep the foot stable, but also allows for the necessary rolling off movement of the forefoot which is needed for classic xc skiing.” Most probably. We, however, like the sound of the word combo ”carbon fiber” – but would probably have to wait till Nordic 2.0 comes to the market.