The importance of insoles.

3:17 a.m. on October 3, 2018 (EDT)
Randall Purrett @Boulder Strider
0 reviewer rep
49 forum posts

I'm huge fan of aftermarket insoles.  Used to be that a lot of hiking boots didn't even come with insoles, so they were pretty brutal if you didn't put something in them.  Later, they started putting insoles in, but they weren't very good.  This was true of trail runners too.  Now, some of the insoles that come in boots and running shoes are pretty good, but I still replace them.  As soon as I get them home (or they show up at the door) I take out the original insoles and put some better aftermarket insoles in them.  Sometimes I use insoles to fix a poor fitting boot or shoe.  A thick insole, or even double insoles, can fix a loose fitting pair.

I got a real lesson, on the importance of cushioning, when I tried a pair of minimalist running shoes.  I ended up getting Plantar Fasciitis.  No fun at all.  Really, really painful.  Once you get it, it's hard to get rid of and is always hiding in the wings, ready to flair up at the least provocation, so preventing it, in the first place, is the way to go.

You don't need to spend a lot of money on insoles.  You can find great insoles for under $25.  Years ago, a podiatrist recommended Spenco insoles to me and they are very good.  I believe they make runner and hiker models.  I have mostly Dr. Scholl's in my many, many shoes and boots.  Fairly cheap and easy to find at any Walmart or Walgreens, and most large grocery stores.  I like the runner model pretty well.  I bought a pair of Sofsole athlete's and they are really thick and cushy.  I have them in some LaSportiva Ultra Raptors.  If you take the insole out of Raptors, what you find underneath is hard plastic.  Even with Dr. Scholl's, I found them a little hard on the feet.  The Sofsoles fixed that.

11:20 p.m. on October 29, 2018 (EDT)
236 reviewer rep
20 forum posts

 I too had Plantar Fasciitis, then went to a sports physical therapist for 2 months and also used Spenco inserts. I have been 90% pain free, I still have to stretch my calves and feet everyday.

11:19 a.m. on November 30, 2018 (EST)
andrew f. @leadbelly2550
7,715 reviewer rep
2,357 forum posts

for what it is worth, i have been doing sports, walking, hiking, and living with custom orthotics since 2005.  used to be a high mileage runner, a heavy overpronator, and the miles and years took their toll on my knees, ankles, feet.

the process of making orthotics has evolved a lot over the last 13 years. My first pair, the doc put my foot in a plaster cast.  today, they accomplish that process by scanning your feet.  all of my previous pair of orthotics were built somewhere else & sent to the doctor; the practice i go to now scans and makes them in-house on a 3d printer.  

after-market insoles can be really helpful, both for cushioning and changing how you walk. superfeet have worked well for our kids, though my oldest now gets custom orthotics (feet even flatter than mine).  

10:46 p.m. on December 30, 2018 (EST)
Phil Smith
1,310 reviewer rep
429 forum posts

It was an EMS employee who took the time to work with me and a pair of SuperFeet Carbon that made hiking enjoyable and almost pain-free for my flat feet. Now I also put insoles in every pair of boots I buy. I usually have a few pairs laying around to see what works best, and between those and socks of different thicknesses I can dial things in pretty good. 

May 30, 2020
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