Your poor, tireless feet. They’ve suffered at the helm of flimsy footbeds for far too long. You know the kind: the ones that come standard in any boot or shoe. A thin piece of foam is practically all that separates you from the hard-molded rubber outsole of your shoes – not exactly the most forgiving and supportive platform when you’re logging miles across terra (very) firma.
Enter the world of footbeds. (Or often referred to, rather geriatrically, as orthotics.) They span the gamut from over-the-counter Dr. Scholl’s to tailor-made insoles. I had a chance to test out a new line of insoles from FootBalance that aim to fill the void between either ends of the spectrum. FootBalance, a maker of all things footbed related, recently launched QuickFit footbeds, an effortless and affordable option that’s an easy shoe in for more expensive foot support. (Yeah, pun intended…)
Because they’re pre-molded, the QuickFit footbeds aren’t fully customized to the exact dimensions and angles of your feet, but they’re designed to give you as much customization as possible without heading to a specialty shoe store. Simply put: unless you already own a set of fully custom footbeds, you won’t know the difference.
It’s a painless process to get started. Pick your length (Euro sizing) and trim the toes of the insoles to fit your shoes (if necessary). Use one of two heat sources to mold the fit and arch support to your feet: pop them in the oven for a few minutes, or stick them in your shoes and let your body’s heat gradually mold the footbeds over time. Wanting to embark on an immediate hike and test the out-of-the-box functionality, I chose the former.
So how do they feel? Within the first few minutes, I could feel my feet contouring to a comfortable and natural position – a cloud-like support that I’ve apparently been lacking for years. FootBalance’s packing claims to “enhance foot muscle function,” and I’d fully agree. A few hours after a routine 4-mile hike, a dull burn flowed through my legs – a sign of soft muscles getting a much-needed workout. Since then, these seemingly trivial footwear additions have been an invaluable support system on daily hikes, whether accompanying me on casual strolls up Main Street or more aggressive treks on snow-covered singletrack.
The footbeds also act as a shock absorber, dampening unruly terrain or heavy strides and helping to reserve your energy so you can forge ahead longer. I’ll vouch for the truth of this statement, as my comfy but clunky Sorels – now retrofitted with FootBalance QuickFits – have racked up more miles on a trail than I could expect from a utilitarian “fashion” boot. After a dozen casual 2-hour hikes, foot fatigue has yet to cull me back to the car. In fact, I could easily take off on another hike in the same day and still have some spring in my step – so I’ve done exactly that.
Ideal for low- to medium-impact activities, the heat-molded QuickFit footbeds are available in standard and narrow widths for both men and women. All QuickFit footbeds retail for $45.
For more information on FootBalance, visit http://www.footbalance.com.