The Benefits of Custom Footbeds in Walking Boots
Most walking boots come with stock insoles which have been modelled around a last mimicking a 'standard foot'. Very few people actually have a ‘standard foot’, with a multitude of factors influencing what insole shape is actually right for them. The solution is to use custom-made insoles that provide the correct support and alignment for the individual.
Below we explain some of the most common feet/body idiosyncrasies, how these can be addressed, and the benefits you’ll enjoy from using custom insoles.
Common Foot & Body Idiosyncrasies
Your feet influence the posture of your whole body and can cause you an array of problems if not properly supported.
What is pronation?
As the foot strikes the ground the arch becomes shallower absorbing the impact and causing the foot to roll inwards. An inwards roll of around 15° is a healthy amount of pronation.
The heel strikes the ground and ankle rolls 20-25° or more inwards as the forefoot and toes meet the ground. Having a small arch (flat feet) is a common contributor to this.
Problems Associated With Over Pronation
As the foot strikes the floor toe, ankle, knee misalignment distributes the body's weight to the outside of the knee causing pain. Over time this can shorten lower leg muscles, affecting the stabilisation of the knee joint and eventually the hip and pelvis.
Supination (Under Pronation)
The heel strikes the ground and the ankle rolls 5 - 10 degrees inward. This lack of pronation forces the outside of the foot and little toes to carry out all the load and push the foot back off the ground. Having a high arch is a common factor in supination.
Problems Associated With Supination
With a high arch there is a smaller amount of foot surface area in contact with the shoes and more chance of rolling your ankle, straining it and causing soft issue injuries. The extra strain on the outer foot can even cause stress fractures in the metatarsals (bones within the foot).
Feet that over-pronate do not align properly with the ankle and causes the knee to turn in. The inward knee turn causes the femur to line up with the pelvis incorrectly (bad hip posture) and destabilise the spine.
Plantar Fasciitis / Heel Spurs
Over pronation causes excessive rolling of the foot and the arch of the foot gets shallower, stretching the Plantar Fascia. It becomes strained, inflamed and irritated and also pulls on the heel bone causing pain.
The degree of curvature between the knee and ankle affects the level of pronation and supination. If the leg bows inwards from the knee to the ankle, supination occurs, and the greater the curvature, the more supination. If the leg bows outwards from the knees (knock knees) pronation happens: the greater the curvature, the more pronation.
Leg Length Asymmetry
Slightly different leg lengths can causes foot supination (on the short side). Knee problems, pelvis tilt and spine problems can all result from this.
Fractures, ligament or tendon damage and other injuries can affect the alignment and flexibility of the foot,I.e damage to ankle ligaments can result in one foot being able to extend forwards shorter than the other. As the foot reaches its new shorter extension limit it compensate for this and it over pronates to complete the stride.
How Do Custom Footbeds Improve Your Walking Boots?
Custom footbeds position your foot into a neutral state and align your foot, ankle and knee in a straight line. The foot can now pronate around the 15 degree mark, absorb and dissipate force evenly and push forwards off the big and middle toes. With a balanced and supported foot, you will be able to walk for longer in greater comfort.
Benefits of Custom Footbeds in Walking Boots
- Lack of fatigue
- Good posture
- More efficient stride
- No toe, feet, heel, ankle, knee, hip or back pain
If you want any further advice about footbeds please feel free to speak to our experts or pop into a store and have a chat with our experienced staff.
About the Author:
Pete Fletcher - Outdoor Expert
Pete grew up hiking most of the trails in the Lake District before being introduced to skiing. A few decades later and you’re most likely to find him snowboarding, skateboarding or making a mean coffee.