Do you like backpacking, running, skiing, cycling, or hiking? Does your feet aches, hot spots, blisters, or discomfort hamper your activities? If so, you might want the extra comfort and support provided by shoe insoles. Stock footbeds in performance shoes are usually inexpensive fillers. Aftermarket insoles can better tailor your boots, as well as comfort and support your feet.
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Types of footbeds
The types of footbeds you will find at supermarkets or sports shops are sometimes called sport or support insoles. It features a more rigid material for structural and stability support. Comfort is obtained from the increase in stability instead of a more direct cushioning. They differ from cushy or soft insoles that you may find at your nearest drug stores.
Support or sports footbeds are best used if you have one of the following conditions:
Structural misalignment – it can show not only as simple pain, but also discomfort in the knees, back, ankles, hip, head, or neck.
Plantar fasciitis – Most medical professionals usually recommend the use of these supportive footbeds as part of their usual treatment protocol to combat this painful state that comes from tearing your plantar fascia – connective tissues that connect the forefoot to the heel.
Supination or Over-pronation – Support inner soles moderate a tendency of your feet to over-pronate (too much rolling in) or supinate (roll out) when running or walking. Although they are not customized to individual feet, support footbed comes in different profiles and models to suit most footwear types and shapes.
These inner soles can come in contrasting volumes. It means that they take up various amounts of space inside your shoes or boots. For most inner soles, there is a correlation between the size and the arch shape that insoles are designed to fit. High-volume soles will best suit high-volume footwear like hiking boots, running shoes and ski boots.
They usually work best in shoes with high arches. Medium-volume inner soles fit better with average-volume footwear, like casual shoes or some sports footwear. It also works well with different arch types. Low-volume footings are needed for shoes with low-volume like in-line skate and ski skate boots or cycling shoes.
People with very low arch feet usually find low-volume footbeds work better for them. It would be best if you remembered that the thickness of the socks would also have a significant influence on footwear fit.
Common fitting problems
If you have one of the following fitting problems, footbeds may help. They differ in heel and arch dimensions. Footwear specialists can help assess your feet to see what kind of inner sole works best for you.
Heel slippage – A shoe that perfectly fits the mid, as well as forefoot, but allows lift or heel slippage can be improved with the help of a supportive mid and high-volume footbed. It reduces or minimizes the heel slip that causes blisters and hot spots.
Foot elongation – For people with significant elongation in their feet when assessed standing as compared when they are sitting, a supportive inner sole can help with this problem. It minimizes elongation when weight is applied to the foot, creating a much better fit, as well as lessens the need to go one size up when purchasing footwear.
Collapsed or low arches – People who have collapsed or low arches usually ask for arch support-types of insoles. What is needed is support that helps stimulate arch muscles to be active and more engaged. Supportive inner soles stabilize the heel and help distribute pressure in the arch area. Direct arch support is usually uncomfortable for a lot of people because it inhibits a normal flexing if the feet.
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Footbed fit tips
After you narrowed down your options, you need to test them out to make sure it suits your needs. You can ask specialists to guide you through this process. The first thing you need to do is to stand on the footbed outside the shoes. Lift up the other foot and balance on the other that is on the inside sole.
Check whether you feel stable or not, how much pressure you feel and if the tissue of your heel is supported or cupped nicely by the insole. The next thing to do is to try them inside your footwear – do not forget to discard the stock insole of the footwear first. Now you can assess the fit, the support and the feel of the sole. Make sure it feels more stable to use and that they take up the perfect amount of volume, not too much or not too little.