There is a reason that almost every combat boot has a removable factory insole. Quality boot manufacturers know that most soldiers at some point will require a higher level of support than the factory insole that comes in the boots at purchase. They know eventually, you will step up your game and upgrade.
Why Do You Need New Insoles?
Factory insoles are three things: inexpensive to produce, flimsy, and flat.
Your foot is not flat! It is a series of contours and curves uniquely yours. The real problem for most boot wearers lies in the space or pocket of air that exists between your arch and the factory insole liner. As the soldier continues to pound and put mile after mile on their feet, this arch can become exhausted and start to collapse.
The arch collapse is the beginning of a series of foot problems that you don’t want!
If you think of the arch of your foot as a bow (as in bow and arrow), the plantar fascia tendon is the bowstring. The ends of the bowstring attach at the base of the toes and at the front of the heel bone by means of fascia, a strong fibrous membrane. The plantar tendon keeps the arch of the foot from flattening completely when the foot is bearing weight.
As your arch starts to collapse, it can start to put a strain on the tendon. People who tend to pronate (a large percentage of us do) will roll to the inside of their stride gait. Those people are especially susceptible to Plantar Fasciitis, a very painful condition.
Imagine wearing a pair of combat boots with no arch support. Then also imagine going on a 10-mile run and wearing an additional 50-pound rucksack. Get the picture? Your arch will at some point start to exhaust and collapse, in turn elongating and potentially tearing or damaging the tendon that should be keeping your arch strong.
OUCH! Once it tears, welcome to the world of Plantar Fasciitis, an inflammation of your tendon that presents as sharp heel pain with every step you take. The solution is simple and inexpensive. Find an insole that actually focuses on supporting your arch. You can even take it one step further, and find an insole that combines a Custom Heat Moldable Fit, with a strong level of arch support.
Heat moldable combined with arch support is the ultimate insole solution for any soldier. Not only is your arch kept in place, but you also have extreme comfort because the insole has molded itself to YOUR specific foot shape. The point of insoles is to keep your foot supported and cradled in the footwear.
In addition, the more surface area of your foot that stays in contact with the floor of the boot, the better the boot will perform. Having an insole that is custom moldable will create the perfect handshake between the sole of your foot and the boot itself.
Questions to ask before you buy new insoles
How do I know if they’re quality insoles?
Look for something solid. Stay away from cheap gel Insoles and other similar products. They simply don’t last. You will find the illusion of comfort lasts only a week or two. Eventually, as your foot sinks to the bottom of the soft insole and touches the hard bottom of the boot, it effectively renders the gel cushion useless. Not to mention, cheaply made insoles wear out and shred rather quickly. You will spend $25 every two months replacing these, which equates to $150 a year. A good, long-lasting insole will cost you around $40 and should last 6-9 months or longer.
How do I know it’s time to get a new pair of insoles?
- Look at them from time to time. If you notice the top sheet is wearing out and exposing the cushion underneath, it’s time for a new pair.
- Pay attention to how your feet feel. Insoles don’t last forever, not even the good ones. If you start to feel your arch getting tired, that means the arch of the insole has lost some integrity.
- Your body type matters. A 300-pound person is going to wear out a pair faster than a 110-pound person.
- Your activity matters. How often you wear them and what you do will make a difference in the lifespan.
What are the best insoles for running shoes? What about combat and work boots? Women’s casual shoes?
There is no best insole for a specific sport, industry or shoe type. Some feet are wide, some feet are narrow. Some people are big, some people are small. You get the picture.
First and foremost, pick an insole that feels comfortable right out of the package. It should not make the front of your shoe feel too tight, and it should also not push your heel out of the footwear. Contrary to what some say, there should not be a two-week long adjustment period. Insoles are a lot like a new mattress; you either like it or you don’t.
Choose a brand that gives you a chance to test them out with a money back option. Moldable insoles take the guesswork out of it, as they adapt to your foot and the shoe they are going into.
What are the best materials for a long-lasting insole?
Look for an insole with a rigid arch and strong bottom layer. It should be coupled with a few different layers: a strong base, a middle layer of long-lasting cushion, and a top layer of strong polyester weave fabric (so it doesn’t tear apart, and can be washed as well).
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
An entrepreneur, award winning product designer, and busy family guy, Andrew is an avid fan of the underdog. He loves the start-up process most, and defiantly laughs when people tell him it can’t be done.
This thinking has caused more gray hairs than he would like.
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