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special insoles

11:08 a.m. on September 8, 2009 (EDT)
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Hello everybody, this is my first post. I have been reading this site for a while to help me choose my gear. I have found a lot of the forum posts and reviews very helpful, so thanks to everybody for the great information. I was wondering how many of you use inserts (Dr. Scholl, etc.) in your boots. I have a high arch, and find that if I use an arch support insert, my feet fare much better. I use them in my running shoes and boots, basically anything that will put my feet to a test (have been doing so for years). It improves my performance, as well as my comfort. In a way, I find a good insert can make up for other shortcomings in a boot/shoe. Anybody else use/like these???

11:19 a.m. on September 8, 2009 (EDT)
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There are insoles made for hiking, skiing, distance running, and other outdoor activities. Dr. Scholls are for dress shoes and not suitable for most people for hiking boots. The most popular brand of ready-made insoles (determined by hikers who actually use them) are SuperFeet, along with a couple of others. There are also custom-molded (thermomolding) insoles for hiking boots. Go to a good backpacking (or skiing) shop and talk to an experienced and trained boot fitter. If you want to try the ready-made ones, REI, EMS, and a couple of other chain-type outdoor shops have SuperFeet. The hiker-oriented ones are the green ones.

1:43 p.m. on September 8, 2009 (EDT)
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I would also recommend Superfeet greens. This is all I use now in a hiking boot.

5:30 p.m. on September 8, 2009 (EDT)
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I use Montrail Enduro insoles in my trail running and hiking shoes.

I'm going to try some Superfeet too.

5:38 p.m. on September 8, 2009 (EDT)
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+ plus one for superfeet. Wish I could find Keen replacement insoles somewhere.

7:05 p.m. on September 8, 2009 (EDT)
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I've started using custom orthodics about 4 years ago and they make a world of difference. The only problem is my feet got smaller a full size...anybody needs size 13 boots?

7:28 p.m. on September 8, 2009 (EDT)
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Hey....Franc is back!

How goes it?

10:24 a.m. on September 9, 2009 (EDT)
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I have a bad back, so are superfeet insoles better than the soles that come with the shoes/boots? I also have a high arch.

2:52 p.m. on September 9, 2009 (EDT)
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Yes, superfeet are better. Consider that a pair of superfeet costs something close to $30 and then compare their construction to the paper thin flimsy insoles shoe makers put in out of obligation (meaning as little costs as possible) as opposed to an insole that works well (superfeet).

Downside to superfeet is that you pretty much need a pair for each pair of shoes you have. Inital expense is tough but the payoff is well worth it.

Will it help your bad back? Depends on the source of your back problems. Fused disks? probably not much help. Feet sitting wrong in your shoes, twisting your kness and then hips, there's a good chance they can help. YMMV

4:24 p.m. on September 9, 2009 (EDT)
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I have tried superfeet insoles, as well as SOLE insoles, and though I find that the SOLE insoles provide a bit better support and fit for my high arches, though they weigh considerably more than superfeet. I have SOLE insoles in my backpacking boots, and superfeet orange insoles in my trailrunners. I can heartily recommend both to reduce fatigue and improve fit.

4:24 p.m. on September 9, 2009 (EDT)
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Hikerjab,

Get thee to a podiatrist! It's amazing how the feet affect the back. Proper custom orthotic insoles may help you immensely.

Good luck.

5:31 p.m. on September 9, 2009 (EDT)
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Ive used to SOLE insoles for over a year now without incident. I got them for $7 at an REI garage sale so I figured if they werent worth it, well at least I didnt pay $50. Got them home and baked them until ready, moulded them and wow! Great results! For reference Im shoe/boot size 11 wide (depending on brand, currently using Asolo GTX's) and 6'1"/185lbs (before I strap on my pack.)

5:54 p.m. on September 9, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm curious; how often does everyone else replace their insoles?

This is Superfeet's answer:

Q: How long will Superfeet insoles last with everyday wear?

A: For 80% of consumers, the insoles will last approximately 12 months depending on body weight, type of shoe and the environment they are used in (i.e. walking, running, work and sports). Because everyone is different, we can not indicate how many miles it will take to wear a pair out. We recommend replacing your insoles every 12 months or when you purchase new shoes.

7:13 p.m. on September 9, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm wondering, are cushioned insoles a given? Do any not use cushioned insoles? The reason for this question is I saw an interview with Christopher McDougal who wrote "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen". McDougal's running friends wore only flat sandals and covered 100 miles for fun. McDougal's assessment was that our style of shoes and running/walking is harmful to our feet.

My first hiking boots from the late sixties had no cushioned insoles. The insole was just leather stitched to the midsole. Same thing with the Pivettas, Vasques, and Danners that I wear these days. (Whoops, I do use an insole in the Danners to improve the fit, but my favorite Vasques are comfortable all day long without an insole.) Don't think I do it because I'm macho (I'm a wimp), I just like the fit and feel of the boots as designed. I have very narrow feet and the boots hug them well.

So, who else doesn't use insoles?

8:46 p.m. on September 9, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm curious; how often does everyone else replace their insoles?

This is Superfeet's answer:

Q: How long will Superfeet insoles last with everyday wear?

A: For 80% of consumers, the insoles will last approximately 12 months depending on body weight, type of shoe and the environment they are used in (i.e. walking, running, work and sports). Because everyone is different, we can not indicate how many miles it will take to wear a pair out. We recommend replacing your insoles every 12 months or when you purchase new shoes.

I know I've got some that I still use that are probably close to 10 years old.

8:54 p.m. on September 9, 2009 (EDT)
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Hey guys, thanks for all the replies. Hikerjab, I echo the comment suggesting you go to a podiatrist. At the very least, if you have a high arch, you should get a special arch support insole. When I used to run with regular insoles I had back pain, which disappeared when I started using an arch support insole. It makes sense if you think about the distribution of your weight on your foot. Also, the insoles I buy have a policy that every six months or so, when the insole has lost its "bounce," you can bring them into a branch of the store you bought them (in my case "Champs") and get a brand new pair for free. They will recycle the old ones at no charge. Sometimes, to get a tighter shoe/boot fit, I just place the new insole right in over the factory one instead of taking it out and tossing it. I find this helps with blisters.

8:45 a.m. on September 10, 2009 (EDT)
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So, who else doesn't use insoles?

Never have. Not yet, anyway. I haven't decided against it or anything. Maybe someday I will think it's a great idea. Maybe you and I are just lucky -- born with the kind of feet that boots just sorta fit.

9:39 a.m. on September 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the feedback guys.

11:06 a.m. on September 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Found a free wifi connection this morningwhile the car gets serviced, so a quick comment (ATT promises to have the new connections up next Monday - if I'm lucky!)

One thing implied in several responses but not explicitly stated - first step is making sure your boots or trail runners or other foot gear is properly fitted. Several comments were about not needing insoles. Some people fit a particular footgear off the shelf, like it was custom made for them. Most need some adjustment, like an insole. Some fit an off the shelf insole, some need a custom insole or special orthotic. I go barefoot a lot, which works in many situations, but use Superfeet for packing heavy packs and long distances, but nothing in my rock shoes except thin socks to cover the seams inside the rock shoes.

So, it really depends on your individual feet (I assume everyone knows that your feet differ from each other - I have a friend whose feet are 2 sizes different).

In this thread so far, we have a "nothing special", a bad back who should almost definitely see a podiatrist, some who change insoles frequently, some who rarely change (and I have a pair I swap between a couple pairs of boots). So itisn't just YMMV - it's YMWV day to day and month to month (those in my age range see the changes on a rapid basis)

11:21 a.m. on September 10, 2009 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

So, who else doesn't use insoles?

Never have. Not yet, anyway. I haven't decided against it or anything. Maybe someday I will think it's a great idea. Maybe you and I are just lucky -- born with the kind of feet that boots just sorta fit.

I agree, some people seem to be born with feet that do not necessarily need a lot of support. I often wear moccasins, the old fashioned kind, around camp and around my house and find them very comfortable.

I do benefit from a good insole on longer treks because the form fitting insole helps to lock my foot in place within the boot and reduces blisters and foot movement. On steep accents and descents this is very helpfull, especially on descents where your toes can get crammed into the toe of the boot resulting in black toenails.

I don't seem to have a lot of the problems with fit some people do, and maybe that's just something I was born with.

6:42 p.m. on September 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Wish I was that lucky. I have a high arch and wide feet. Plus that weird thing where the big toe is shorter than the one next to it. Also, blisters seem to be a common problem as of late, but thats probably because I have cheap boots.

8:56 p.m. on September 10, 2009 (EDT)
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mcgee55,

You need a proper fitting of your boots. Insoles are not a remedy if the boots don't fit.

Once you wear boots that really fit you properly, your feet will be very happy. (Vision of feet rejoicing, something from the Sound of Music in the background)

Some of the boot makers have lasts that might be better for your feet than others. Because I have very narrow feet (B), Italian lasts seem to work. Most American lasts are based upon a wider foot such as yours, so you will have more choices. A good store will probably be able to find something that works with both the width and volume of your foot. They will also have you walking down inclines testing for slippage.

Don't be cheap about toggery for your tootsies.

10:50 a.m. on October 1, 2009 (EDT)
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Regearless of the quality of the boots all come with poor insoles,to my experiance.I replace all the insoles of even my tenis shoes and find my feet are much more happy.Try Bestinsoles.com and take a look.

April 20, 2014
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