As a person who values functionality over style any day of the week, the idea of heated insoles sounded like a bit of a gimmick. I’d consider heated socks a much more practical choice for keeping feet warm during winter riding, but I have an open mind about pretty much everything when it comes to motorcycle clothing, so when I received the Keis Heated Insoles to review as a Bennetts Rewards member, I expected the soles of my feet to get some warmth, leaving my toes to stay chilly. But if you suffer from chronically cold extremities like me, these insoles are a worthwhile investment, as long you can figure out a way to tame the heat they produce…
I’ve been wearing these for more than 1,500 miles on my Honda CBR500R, commuting on all manner of roads and at various times of the day and night.
The insoles are made of a very solid PU foam that has little give when putting your feet onto them. There’s a bit more foam under the heels, and they thin down towards the front. There’s heating elements can’t be felt, being firmly encased in the foam, and Keis points to its ‘micro alloy heating elements’ that spread the warmth evenly along the soles.
The front sections of the insoles are marked with two cut lines; although they’re available to order in various sizes, they can be further trimmed with a pair of scissors to fit your boots exactly. Mine were slightly too long so an easy cut along the front and they fitted perfectly.
The two-wire power cable exits the insoles exactly at the back of the heel, ending with a female connector. Unless you wear tall adventure boots, the connector will be above the upper boot line.
The Keis insoles feel like a sturdy piece of kit and I don’t expect them to suffer any significant wear and tear any time soon.
These insoles feel a bit more solid than the ones that came fitted in my boots. However, they’re comfortable to stand on and encase the bottom of my feet very nicely, the arches also feeling well supported. I tried to put them on top of the boots’ own inserts at first, but my feet wouldn’t fit comfortably.
Once they’re worn in a bit, these heated insoles don’t feel any different to any others, except for the presence of the cable. The thickness of this could be an issue if you have very tight-fitting boots as running it up the back of the heel straight over the Achilles tendon may not have been the best choice. For many, this is a particularly sensitive area and in my ignorance I first just let the cable run straight up the back of the boots. After just one commute I ended up with a bleeding rub sore over my tendon that took over a week to heal. I think most people will recognise this from wearing-in thin, new office shoes.
After that painful experience I’ve adjusted the cable to run along the outside of the foot, up the hollow between the heel and the ankle bone. Once the ‘sweet spot’ has been found, the cable is hardly felt.
Regardless of sock thickness, I also find it quite painful if the cable is caught under my heel. Everyone has different comfort zones though and I very much recommend trying out various cable positions and adjusting the cable run if you feel even the slightest discomfort. I have to add that I don’t have young, strong skin anymore, and may be more sensitive than someone in their twenties.
I’ve not found the connector poking out over the boots to be a problem; once all the clothing is zipped up and in place, I can’t feel the connectors. I don’t bother taking the insoles out when I’m not using them as the connectors flopping about don’t really get in the way – I just loop them over the top of the boots as the cable feels sturdy enough to bend this way and that.
The insoles draw 1.3A so use about 15W from a 12V source via the supplied cable with a fuse box and terminal ends for the bike battery. These insoles can be used on their own, but if you have Keis heated trousers, they can be plugged into the bottom of them, which is a tidy way to do things. Or use the supplied Y-cable to plug into a Keis heated bodywarmer, vest or jacket as this garment acts as a power hub for accessories.
On their own, there’s no way to directly control the heat setting of these insoles, so you’re more or less forced to invest another £20 in the Keis light duty heat controller to hook between the Y cable and the power cable or the jacket/vest.
If you plug the insoles into the bottoms of a pair of Keis trousers, the heat output is dictated by the setting on the trousers’ built-in controller, but if you want to control these separately to the trousers you’ll need that controller, and it’s worth investing in the £11 splitter lead too, which will give you two additional outputs from the jacket/vest outlet or a power lead, which avoids needing to have more than one power outlet on your bike.
In a nutshell, the Keis insoles work terrifically. I use this term deliberately as the heat produced is very powerful indeed. The soles of the feet get an almost instant temperature boost that doesn’t disappoint, the warmth spreading evenly through the feet, including the toes.
It’s important to figure out how the insoles are best connected to the power supply; if they’re connected to the heated trousers via the convenient connectors at trouser-leg ends, then anything above the green (lowest) setting on the trousers results in roasted feet for me.
If the insoles are directly connected without a controller, after about 10 minutes I have to disconnect them from the power cable. To be fair, after disconnecting the insoles, the residual heat lasts for at least 20 minutes at about 2°C air temperature and an average speed of 70mph.
I tested these using the controller I have for my Keis bodywarmer, and the lowest setting has been absolutely sufficient and comfortable for everything from 5°C down to -4°C. Unless you have almost no blood supply in your feet, or insist on wearing your summer track-day boots even in the winter, then the lowest heat setting could be all you ever need to keep your feet warm and toasty, including all the toes. Really though, it’s going to be worth me investing in the compact controller, as well as a splitter cable in order to maintain comfort.
These Keis heated insoles are definitely a worthwhile investment for those suffering from cold feet; they’re a real comfort and an absolute toe-saver when the temperature hits the freezing mark.
The heating is very powerful indeed, and some people will be happy with running the same temperature settings as the heated trousers, if they have them. For me though, that’s not a viable option in really cold conditions when I have to turn up the heat above the lowest setting on the trousers.
Having said that, Keis has designed a very effective overall product. It’s also less smelly and easier on the maintenance-front than heated socks. There’s just a bit too much power in my opinion, considering that most riders use warm winter boots during the cold seasons. If Keis could include a heat controller in the package, instead of having to buy one separately, then I’d have had no complaints at all.