Golfer Matt Saternus reviews the ALINE Product with a bias towards Barefoot. It is nice to know he is seeing the exact same things we are. Way to go Matt!
ALINE System Insoles Review
By: Matt Saternus
For the last 3 years, I have been Mr. Barefoot: I’ve run barefoot, I’ve hit balls barefoot, I’ve worn barefoot shoes, and I’ve preached the gospel of barefootedness to anyone who would listen. And yet today, when I went for a walk, I wore not only shoes but specialty insoles. And not just any insoles: ALINE insoles. Why? Well that’s what I’m going to tell you about. Duh.
Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been, a doctor, physical therapist, physical trainer, biomechanics expert, kinesiologist, or any other kind of certified expert on how the body works. As such, I am making no expert endorsement, only sharing my experience with a product that I have found really beneficial.
My ALINE Fitting
I first heard about ALINE from a very excellent younger golfer with whom I played over the summer. I thought about looking into them immediately, but ended up putting the thought in my hip pocket (work, kid, busy busy).
Fast forward to the PGA Show this past January when I saw ALINE on the list of presenters. I decided this would be my chance to check them out. I walked up to the booth, introduced myself, and asked bluntly, â€œI’m a big believer in barefoot. Why should I wear your insoles?â€ The gentleman explained to me that the barefoot philosophy is greatâ€¦on natural (soft) surfaces. The problem is that most of us spend our days on unnatural (hard) surfaces. Our foot is not designed to be on hard surfaces all day, so, as a result, the foot flattens out and throws the rest of our lower body out of alignment.
To prove his point, he put me up on his fitting platform. The platform is basically a mirror that you stand on with some lasers and foot measuring devices. I stood on the platform in my bare feet, and the lasers and mirror showed me how my ankles were pitched in towards each other which knocked my shins and knees out of alignment. I was appalled, but my fitter said that my alignment wasn’t even that bad. Then he asked me to perform a squat. As I did, I could see how my knees bowed out to compensate for my ankles’ instability.
Shocked, I asked my fitter what ALINE could do for me. He pulled out a pair of insoles and had me stand on them. The first thing I noticed was that my foot got half in inch narrower because the arch in my foot had been restored. Next, I saw that my ankle and shins now followed the laser lines straight up to my knee. Finally, when I squatted, my knees tracked straight forward instead of bowing out.
If you’re guessing that I went home with those insoles, you’re right.
My ALINE Experience
I wore the ALINEs right out of the booth, and, true to the fitter’s word, my feet hurt after a couple of hours. He told me that would happen because my foot was now using muscles that had long been ignored. For the remainder of the show, I swapped insoles every couple of hours. The pain from wearing them lasted only a couple days, and now it only feels odd when I don’t wear my ALINEs.
The benefits of wearing ALINEs have been numerous. My balance is better. and I feel less wear and tear when I exercise. One of the most noticeable changes that I’ve found was when I was rowing (I have a rowing machine in my basement, and it’s one of the few forms of cardio I enjoy). When rowing in my ALINEs for the first time, I noticed that my speed was better than normal, despite what seemed like a lack of exertion. On reflection, it seemed obvious: I was creating more power more efficiently because of the improved alignment of my ankles and knees.
So far I’ve only hit balls on mats in my ALINEs, but I’m pleased with the results. I’m really eager to see how they impact my game on the course, particularly when I’m walking. I expect that, if nothing else, the reduced wear on my lower body will be a strong positive.
ALINE has over 20 professional golfers who use and endorse their product. At the 2012 US Open, Olin Brown, Bo Van Pelt, Kevin Na, and Scott Smith wore their insoles.
Also, in his most recent video (Ground Reaction Forces), Michael Jacobs trumpets the benefits of ALINE insoles (if you’re not familiar with Michael Jacobs, you need to get familiar. He’s one of the most cutting-edge golf instructors out there).
Clearly, I’m a big fan of ALINE insoles. The concept behind them makes sense, and the benefit was proven to me in dramatic fashion.
If you head over to the ALINE website (www.aline.com), you can find a fitter near you. ALINE insoles range from $80-90 through the ALINE website. The cost through a fitter, and the cost of the fitting, can vary.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the website does the product any justice (I think they need videos of fittings on the site), so please don’t let that dissuade you. If you can, check out one of their fitters and see what ALINE can do for you.