FootBalance Insoles

Custom Molded In-Store Insoles for Performance and Comfort

FootBalance Max Insole
FootBalance Max Insole. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Manufacturer's Site

Insoles can make a big difference in how your shoes feel. They can add cushioning and arch support. However, it can take a lot of trial-and-error shopping to find the right insole that gives your foot what it needs. FootBalance insoles are custom-molded on the spot to conform to the kind of support your foot needs. They are available at select athletic and outdoor shoe retailers, which you can find from the FootBalance website.

Foot Analysis First

First, you get a computerized foot mapping to determine your arch height and where you place the most pressure on your foot when standing. I had this type of foot analysis done a few years previously by a pedorthist, and also used a Dr. Scholl's footmapping kiosk to do an automated one. Every foot is different, and you may have different needs for each foot. Foot analysis and a semi-custom insole can be a solution. The foot analysis process takes just a couple of minutes.

Quick Custom Molding for FootBalance Insoles

After the foot mapping, the shoe salesman selected the Footbalance MAX insole as the one he thought would best serve my walking needs. I have been walking half marathons and putting in training days of nine miles. I switched to a more cushioned shoe in the past year, and that really helped with having less leg and foot fatigue at higher mileage. The MAX can provide motion control as well as support and cushioning.

I have a neutral gait and don't need the motion control to correct for overpronation.

The salesman warmed up the insoles, and we spent about five minutes standing on them in various ways as he molded them to my foot. I have a low arch. I normally cannot wear a shoe that has any built-in arch support, as it feels like I am walking with a rock under my arch.

The custom molding provided the exact amount of support for my arch.

Feeling the Difference with Footbalance Insoles

We slipped the Footbalance insoles into the shoes I tried on, and the difference was amazing. I am very choosy when it comes to how shoes feel. Suddenly, every pair felt perfect. I resisted buying shoes I didn't yet need and wore the new insoles home in the Brooks Glycerin shoes I wear for distance walking.

I wore the insoles on my shorter workouts of one to six miles first. They didn't seem to change my gait significantly and didn't impair my speed. I ramped it up to my nine-mile workouts and then on two half marathons. I reduced my half marathon finish time by 15 minutes and felt far less leg and foot fatigue afterward.

I don't think the increase in speed was due to the insoles, but they didn't hurt it any despite being stiffer. I felt able to maintain speed throughout both of the half marathons, with less fatigue. The insoles are shock absorbers for your feet, so if they work, you should feel less fatigue.

Blisters can be a problem when you change your shoes or insoles. Because they conform better to your foot, it may mean fewer blisters. I didn't get any new blisters with using the Footbalance insoles.

Over the next couple of years and a dozen half marathons per year, I simply stopped getting blisters, and I believe the insoles made the difference.

Do Insoles Increasing Shoe Life?

Walking and running shoes lose their cushioning effects and start breaking down after you wear them for a few hundred miles. One rule of thumb is to replace them at 500 miles, although you may need to replace them more often. Good insoles can help extend the usable life of your shoes.

The Footbalance insoles themselves, however, need replacement as well. They should last eight to 12 months, according to Footbalance. For me, that's twice as long as my shoes last.

Bottom Line on Footbalance Insoles

I was skeptical and now I am a convert. I feel less fatigue and have had great performance wearing these insoles. There are a couple of drawbacks. First, they are expensive; I paid about what you'd pay for an inexpensive shoe. However, I have friends who buy multiple pairs of insoles trying to find the right ones by trial and error. It can be a cheaper option to get ones that fit your foot in one try. Second, you have to find a store that carries them and can't order them online. They have a store finder search on their website.

For a semi-custom do-it-at-home insole, they have FootBalance QuickFit insoles.

Manufacturer's Site