The Solepack SP-1

 

What is it?

The Solepack SP-1 is a unique dual pack that attaches to the sides of your backpack specially designed to hold your spare shoes. It effectively solves the days of stuffing your dirty shoes into a plastic shopping bag in order to keep the rest of your stuff in your backpack dry and clean. Inevitably, the dirtier and muckier your shoes were then the greater the chance that the shopping bag would leak all over your biology textbook or your new white gym shirt.

The two shoe-shaped packs are made of a durable neoprene and nylon and are connected to each other through a top and bottom clip strap that also serves to hold the packs to the sides of your chosen backpack. The SP-1 has a couple of well thought-out additions such as the venting hole placed over the top of the shoes to help air out your sweaty sneakers as well as some ergonomical shaping to help fit the left and right shoe up to a size 13.

Solepack Pros

The Solepack carries out it’s intended job with ease; the design is simple yet effective. I was worried about the pack possibly slipping or flopping around, but I have had no issues as the straps hold the packs firmly in place. The two snap clips make it easy to take on and off depending on whether you are bringing along some spare kicks. And, I think the Solepack looks pretty slick with the clean design and trendy orange logo.

I’ve been using the SP-1 almost daily for about two months now and it has satisfied a need that I didn’t even know I had. It frequently finds itself carrying my gym shoes, leaving my main bag free to hold all my other stuff. When I pack for an overnighter now my Solepack routinely handles my dress shoes or other spare footwear and will even fit my favourite Blundstone boots. The Solepack has been my personal shoe sherpa on trips that have taken me across the country.

Solepack Cons

The main drawbacks to the Solepack are that it is limited to only doing what it was designed for. This wouldn’t seem like much of a negative, but I wanted to be able to use the Solepack for more.

On my past four day backpacking trip in the Rocky Mountains I decided to try hiking in trail runners rather than leather hiking boots. I had planned to use the Solepack to bring my boots along in case the trail runners weren’t working for me. However, the SP-1 didn’t have enough room for the ankle height and I actually ended up splitting a zipper. Slightly increasing the width and making the zippers more robust could make the pack more versatile. Alas, the Solepack and my boots stayed at home, however the trail runners worked out in the end. My job requires me to wear high boots and unfortunately these also won’t fit in the Sole. (maybe they need to make a Bootpack model as well?)

Aside from the obvious size restrictions, if you were to use the Solepack to house spare shoes while hiking you would want to consider rainproofing by either using a pack cover or wrapping your shoes in plastic bags. Spare shoes are no fun when they are wet.

Summary

The Solepack solves the problem of shoe storage and does it well. It is the perfect product for a niche user. Sure, it takes a little longer to pack your footwear, two zippers instead of one main pocket, but it does an excellent job of keeping shoe grime away from things that don’t mix well with mud.

It is not a necessity by any means, but for anyone needing to bring a spare pair of shoes with them, whether that be students toting books and gym gear, people biking to work with spare office shoes, or athletes looking to keep grass stained cleats or clay clogged runners off their clothes, the Solepack does its job.

For outdoors use I could see climbers using attaching this pack to hold their approach shoes or hikers using it to carry along camp shoes. However, the drawbacks of no waterproofing and the inability to fit a pair of hiking boots lessens the versatility of the Solepack.

The SP-1 retails for $39.95. Check out their website for more information.

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