Do you need Custom Insoles in your Hunting Boots?
We get asked this constantly. The hunting boot professionals here at Lathrop & Sons want to provide some insight. We’re second generation foot care experts and the developers of the High Country Synergy footbeds, and we want to share as much knowledge on the topic as possible.
Before we dive in, though, we’d like to make a clarification. The terms “footbed” and “insole” mean the same thing. “Insole” seems to be more broadly used among consumers, while “footbed” is a term used frequently by footwear industry professionals, podiatrists, etc. Both terms refer to the removable part of the boot that’s in direct contact with the bottom of your sock. We’ll use the terms interchangeably in this article.
According to our research, more than 60% of the western hunters we interviewed were not aware of how much more performance they could achieve from their footgear by utilizing the correct hunting boot insoles.
All aftermarket insoles - which are available from a broad range of manufacturers - are designed to help, but most just take up room and break down after a couple months of use. The vast majority of insoles are designed to be sold to the masses, and therein lies the problem. The insoles you can find at your local department store or on Amazon are not custom insoles for hunting boots.
All insoles are NOT created equal! Western hunters require a specific type of insole for the environments your feet tackle while hunting the West. This is much different than someone who is walking to their treestand, let alone the average American that just wants a product to soften his footfall while walking the dog around his neighborhood.
What Makes a Good Footbed?
At Lathrop & Sons, we set out with a very clear idea of how an insole should work, why you should use an insole, and what issues a custom insole should resolve for the western hunter:
- We have determined that most western hunters seek out an insole as a result of either a horrible experience on the mountain with their feet, or the hunter was concerned that his or her hunt was going to be jeopardized due to foot failure.
- After much research, we realized that the need for arch support from an insole WAS NOT NEEDED in most cases and if the boot remained torsionally stable in aggressive terrain and under real loads, then the foot really didn't require more arch support.
- So what foot issues were plaguing western hunters' feet? Problems that seemed to come up constantly are as follows: Blisters, hot spots, a tender or bruised feeling under the ball of the foot or heel, a lack of shock absorption resulting in knee, hip, ankle, and lower back pain were the leading causes of shortened hunts according to our studies.
With this in mind, we created the High Country Synergy footbeds. This footbed is the answer for the western hunter! By combining a medical-grade polymer (that reacts and feels like the fat pad in the human foot) with our new Kinetic Topcover, the test results were amazing. Total mold-ability matching every contour, unreal shock absorbing and dampening ability, and true shear protection cap it off. We had truly transformed the boot to someone's foot and it worked flawlessly inside many tested boot brands!
To summarize, DIY western hunters are a different breed. Foot comfort must never be taken lightly; nothing will ruin a hunt faster. Your boots are your foundation - let them do the work. Interface your foot with a soft tissue supplemental footbed like the Lathrop & Sons High Country Synergy footbed. They are easy to trim and they don't take up extra room within the boot. Transform your boot's fit today and increase your hunting performance.