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off the shelf orthotics

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have a hard to fit, narrow and low volume foot so I've experimented with various shoe styles and orthotics/insoles for 40 years. I fall in the NORMAL range on everything but width and volume. I have a fairly normal arch and one foot is about half a size different than the other. Today I was at the Expo prior to tomorrow's St Jude Marathon. (I was there as a sponsor - not a participant) One of the local running stores had the AETREX-LYNCO representative in their booth and a device that you stand on in your sock feet and it supposedly looks at your feet and determines the height of your arch and the pressure distribution of your stance.
Over the years I've bought several orthotics/insoles. I currently use Superfeet green and Orange in various golf and tennis shoes. I have Surefoot orthotics that have been tweaked by one of our noted bootfitters in my ski boots. I was always curious about the LYNCO product but avoided it because of price. Today I must have been in a buying mood because after an extended conversation with the company rep I bought some LYNCO model L400 insoles. I've worn them for a few hours and they are very comfortable.
All that background is leading up to a question. Superfeet make a big deal of their heel cup and stabilizing the heel while the LYNCO has little or no heel cup but has an arch support that provides more support up into the inside edges of my shoes. Clearly two different ideas on the best way to stabilize a foot.
What are your experiences with insoles? Is one style of insole superior to the other? Is one better for a certain style of foot? Is one of these better for ski boots and another better for street shoes or running shoes?
post #2 of 12
If you can get an orthotic molded to your foot, that is the best.
For me with flat, wide feet, Superfeet (pink/berry-ish) color worked well but the arch was more than i needed.
post #3 of 12
I had bad luck with custom insoles. A custom insole is only as good as the boot-fitter that forms the product. 

I found Superfeet to be good, much better than oe inserts.

Better still are http://www.aline.com/

I use these for skiing, cycling and inline skating.

post #4 of 12
Ditto on the Aline. I was in a cycling shop this summer and they had the Aline footbeds and were giving me the techno-talk about how they will do this and that and even dispense beer, etc

Then I got a pair and have to admit they are the first off-the-shelf insole I purchased that really meets the hype the manufactuers alway put out. I have used them for cycling, jogging, and in the gym. I haven't tried them in my ski boots yet but got an extra pair for that purpose. They take up a bit more room than the Sole footbeds I have in the Raptors but standing around in them they are very, very supportive of the entire foot.  All off-the-shel footbeds I have tried and even the customs I got all seem to either have too much support in some areas, too little in others, or take up too much space..The Aline's feel very supportive of every nook and cranny without being too rigid or soft. 
post #5 of 12
I can't concur on the Aline (at least for my feet).  I was fitted for a set at Precision Ski in Frisco 2 weeks ago, but I found that the metatarsal support was just too much for my feet.  I like some met support, but it was just a bit over the top for me.  I should also note that I found the material (I guess it's some kind of plastic) to be cold and that's the kiss of death for a skiing footbed.

I also have had numerous custom footbeds done and it's been hit or miss.  Believe it or not I've come to the conclusion that there are 2 OTC footbeds that work really well for me - DownUnders and Sole Slim Sport.  I use the DownUnders (Ski-Board-Skate Blue) when I want to take up a bit more volume and I like the Sole Slim Sport since it's very low volume (depends on which boot liner I'm using).  I really didn't like the Sole Softec Regular that Sole actually recommends for skiing (too high in volume without much support).  The Slim Sport model actually provides much better support because it has a support frame built from a stiffer material.

I was planning on doing a big write-up at the end of last season on all the OTC footbeds that I tested, but somewhere along the way I lost interest.  Anyhow here's the quickie list of everything I tested and a thought or two on each.

DownUnders Ski-Board/Skate - Blue ($37.00 @alpineer.com, $40 @zappos.com) - nice support, medium volume, great fit

DownUnders Green Cork - ($29.95 @usoutdoorstore.com) - same as  above, but a bit stiffer with slightly more support

SOLE Slim Sport footbeds ($32.00 @rei.com) - much stiffer than the Softec Regular model, not posted - but works great in thermo liner

Superfeet REDhot footbeds [size E] ($44.95 @bestinsoles.com) - plastic posting and a medium to high volume, need to upsize to get arch in correct spot

SIDAS Conform'able Volcano Custom Fit [large] ($32.49 @summitonline.com) - very shallow heel cup, very little customization available

Lynco Sport #L425 - posted w/ met support ($48.75 @bestinsoles.com) - not really a great footbed for skiing, but feels great in my shoes

Masterfit Zapz footbeds ($20.99 @summitonline.com, $49.95 @masterfitenterprises.com) - very high volume, very little customization, can't get it into any of my skiboots

SIDAS Conform'able Snow + Flashfit  -  semi-customizable, low-volume, not posted

ALINE ($69.99) - metatarsal support is a bit too much for me

post #6 of 12
Wow...you have used a lot of foobeds.

I like the Aline's because they engage the entire foot from front to rear. Most footbeds just support the heel, midfoot, and arch and have soft , flat material upfront. The soles support the entire length of the foot in some way. 

I haven't skied in them yet so can't comment on the cold.  
post #7 of 12
The man who brought us the DownUnders footbeds has been working on bringing "back" his ZipFit footbeds - now called K'Thotic (or Kinesthotic).  If you look at the bottom of any DownUnder footbed you'll see Sven Coomer's name and the ZipFit patent.  Well Sven produced a ZipFit footbed for some time that also used the OMFit compound (same as the liners).  You could heat it up, put it in your boots, and get a footbed customized to the shape of the bottom of your foot - and here's the big difference - the shape of your foot when it's in your boot.  Although the SOLE footbeds work in a similar way, they don't provide nearly the level of support and custom fitting that you get with the OMFit molding compound.  So basically a Kinesthotic footbed is like taking a DownUnders and putting the OMFit on top.  You can see a pic of what it looks like here: www.yet2.com/app/list/techpak
post #8 of 12
For full custom footbeds. Be careful what you're going to use them for. Some footbeds are designed for ski boots which is a static position print/support. Which could wreak havoc to your back and joints if you used them in shoes. The mechanics of walking or running is completly different than the bending and flexing your feet do in a ski boot.
post #9 of 12
intersting question from the OP

personally the superfeet is my product of choice for my clients we make several hundred custom products from them + OTC  every year.. the reason for that or similar products  over something like the lynco ......

heel cup ...if you stabilize the rearfoot with a deep heel cup you can maintain (dependant on shape and heel cup) a degree of sub talar neutral, the arch shape in most of these products is a fill rather than a support.... arch support is a bit of a term which is poorly used...an arch is a self supporting structure...if you support the arch then you can weaken it...support the rearfoot and the arch will (if the rearfoot support is correct) support itself

often times i see inserts off the shelf or custom made which have lots of additions stuck onto them, extensions, raises, posts etc etc, for the most prt these are additions which are not required...IF and only IF the midtarsal joint is locked (which ensures sub talar joint neutral)

so in essence heel cup over arch support every time, but everyone is different and somethings which work for you may not work for others
post #10 of 12
 I've had a lot of experience with Masterfit Zapz.  I worked for Masterfit for a while (stopped because I was going to college), they sponsored my paintball team, and we all used zapz in our cleats.  From my experience with them, and feedback from the team, everybody loved them.  They're pretty easy to mold and i only had trouble fitting them into high end cleats/running shoes. They are a tad high volume for some shoes, however as long as you take out the stock insole, they should fit in most shoes.  

Noodler, you couldn't get them into ski boots? what boots were you using? I've put them in a few pairs of boots for friends, and they've gone in with no trouble.
post #11 of 12
 zeoalex - I have an exceptionally tight performance fit for my boots (about a 1/4" shell fit) and that combined with thermoflex-type liners leaves little room for even medium volume footbeds.  The Zapz were without a doubt the highest volume OTC footbed I've ever encountered.  This can be great for many recreational skiers who are in a boot that's too big for them to begin with, but the Zapz will most likely not work for higher end skiers with more of a performance shell fit in their boots.
post #12 of 12

Edited by RUIDI WIRSCH - 1/20/11 at 4:00pm
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