A lot of companies offer footbeds and after-market insoles for any number of reasons: comfort, cushion, support, less foot pain, less leg fatigue, better shoe fit, you name it. And we at SNEWS have a drawer full of these footbeds by everything from drug store brands to specialty sport brands that we've tried over the years for any one of the above reasons. Sometimes we try them out of curiosity. Sometimes because a PR person insists. Sometimes because we ourselves have some foot or leg malady in need of relief. Eventually, it seems many get tossed aside because they just don't seem to do much, they're too heavy, don't fit the shoe right, or we determine we don't really like them.
When we were given the Montrail insoles to try, we were warned very adamantly, several times, that they would feel "weird" because of the placement of the arch support (farther back than the typical arch support, we were told). We were also warned to give them time so our feet could get used to them. With one of us being on a search for relief from heel pain and willing to try anything, the insole went right into the shoe. Funny thing, it didn't feel that weird, and the hard molded nylon arch support that is attached to the full-length Cambrelle footbed was nearly exactly like the plastic arch support given to us by a podiatrist. Long story finally over: This tester managed to run nearly without pain for the first time in weeks and weeks, and wears the insoles whenever the new custom orthotics aren't in the shoe or boot.
Another SNEWS tester (who wasn't in any particular pain) has used them in more casual applications around the house and office, as well as in work boots when cutting wood, and when trail running and hiking. His response is that they're utterly comfortable, didn't feel weird at all, and have become the first thing to remember to swap when exchanging footwear.
The footbeds are simple enough: They are based on the theory that stabilizing insoles help counter the force of gravity on your feet, and can improve performance, reduce strain, and help all footwear just fit and feel better. Montrail says they are for anyone with normal to more flexible fit (more flexible usually goes along with a flatter foot and is one that demands more support and stability). They work, according to Montrail, because the molded nylon base stabilizes the heel by supporting the arch farther back at a joint that better prevents over-pronation. This may not be a totally unique theory, but it seems to work well in this application.
Oh, we should add that the Cambrelle liner hasn't taken on foot odors, even after several months of use.
SNEWS Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection.
Suggested Retail: $20
For more information: www.montrail.com; 800-826-1598