In Week 10 of the NFL's 2020 season, Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb showed just why he's one of the NFL's best rushers, racking up 126 yards and a touchdown in the Brown's 10-7 win over the Houston Texans. It was the 13th time in the 5-11, 230-pound fire plug's young career that he has rushed for over 100 yards.
Entering Week 4, Chubb led the NFL with 233 yards after contact. Now, entering week 11, he's second in average yards per rush attempt and third in rushing yards per game, even after missing five weeks with a knee injury.
And when you watch him juke left and right, plow through opposing defenders and accelerate into open space, you marvel at how he does it. Of course, it's mostly due to hard work and God-given talent. But Chubb has a secret weapon in his shoes that give him just a little more pop.
"When I first put on VKTRY Insoles, I felt very explosive," Chubb says. "I felt the arch support. I had a good bounce. When I have VKs in my shoes, I feel 10X faster."
Chubb isn't the only NFL player who has literally taken that feeling and run with it. Over 200 players on 29 NFL teams – including Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, Jets defensive end Quinnen Williams and Bills wide receiver John Brown - now wear VKTRY's carbon fiber insoles to help protect against injury and improve performance. Young MLB stars Fernando Tatis Jr., Vlad Guerrero Jr. and George Springer, along with Olympians Tianna Bartolatta (track), Jordan Larson (volleyball) and Angel McCoughtry (basketball) are also fans. Additionally, young athletes, avid runners and healthcare workers who are on their feet for long shifts are turning to VKTRY for happier feet.
"I work 12 hours a day as a nurse so normally my feet feel like they're on fire at the end of my shift," says Ashley Donegan, who received a pair of insoles through the VKTRY4HEROES program. "These insoles have taken that burn away. They help my feet feel more energized and give me a spring in my step, even at the end of a 12-hour day."
While most insoles are made from plastic and different varieties of foam that provide comfort and support, VKTRY Insoles are made from multiple layers of 100% aerospace-grade carbon fiber. The material, along with VKTRY's unique, curved design, provides a unique blend of stability and flexibility that allows for unmatched shock absorption and a return of energy to the wearer; the more force you put into the product, the more you get out of it.
"When an athlete's foot bends to run or jump, the "VK" stores energy and then returns that energy to the athlete upon push off," says VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik. "While standard insoles are passive in nature, VKTRY Insoles have been designed to be dynamic to help athletes improve performance."
VKTRY insoles were originally invented by founder and CTO Matt Arciuolo, a board-certified pedorthist who specializes in biomechanics, gait analysis and orthotics, while working with the U.S. bobsled and skeleton teams. His insole prototypes helped them improve their starting times, which are crucial to winning races in both sports. Now, what those athletes originally felt has been quantified: Independent testing conducted by The Human Performance laboratory at Southern Connecticut State University over the course of a year showed a 9.3% increase in explosiveness and an 8.1% increase in ground force production during sprint and jump tests.
Anecdotally, long distance runners have reported faster times while wearing VKTRY insoles, but according to Wasik, this makes perfect sense. "Besides loving the shock-absorbing bounce they feel with VKs, a distance runner will be propelled forward by VKTRY's carbon fiber base plates," he says. "This allows him or her to cover the same distance in fewer strides." In fact, VKTRY insoles can both increase stride length and lower the rate of perceived exertion, allowing athletes to work harder for longer.
A 12-month study with over 260 athletes from four Division-I football programs wearing VKTRY Insoles showed a 41% decrease in foot and toe injuries and a 22% reduction in lower leg injuries. That field research was followed up with a clinical, PhD-led study by the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut. KSI scientists found that VKTRY Insoles decreased lateral movement of the knee, which improves alignment during running and jumping, and reduced abnormal joint load, both of which reduce the risk of knee injury. VKs also increase the stability of the ankle joint, reducing the risk of shin splints, ankle injuries and plantar fasciitis. Additionally, VKTRY Insoles have been shown to help athletes recover more quickly from lower leg and foot injuries like Jones fractures, Lisfranc sprains, turf toe, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and Achilles tendonitis.
"It is clear that VKTRY Insoles improve lower body biomechanics, stability of the ankle and knee during running, and shock absorption during landing," says Dr. Douglas Casa, ATC and CEO of KSI. "These improvements can help safeguard athletes by providing injury protection."
VKTRY insoles are available in five levels of flexibility for athletes of different sizes. A proper, personalized fit takes into account the gender, age, weight, shoe size and chosen sport of each individual, along with the type of shoe – sneaker, cleat or track flat – in which the insole will be used. They come as small as a size 4 and can give any athlete over 100 pounds, including children over the age of 12, more confidence on the field, track or court.
"My flat feet have bothered me my whole life," Chubb says. "When I put the insoles in, I feel like people bounce off of me when I run the football and they give me a lot of confidence when I'm making cuts or a long run or breaking tackles. I can feel the stability in my legs. I feel safer with my VKs."