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Thread: New Boots - Doctor's Orders

  1. #1
    Senior Member spaddock's Avatar
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    New Boots - Doctor's Orders

    So I've been going to my physiotherapist for my IT Band/Hamstring injury and she asked me to bring in my hiking boots. So I did and she immediately said new ones were in order. Soles were worn down and for me I need more arch support.

    So it looks like my old Montrail Torre GTX's have had their last hike. I'm not really sure how to look at boots for arch support. The therapist said it was a combination between the boot and the insole. It took me forever to find a boot that felt comfy as it was. I remember the Garmont Syncro's that I tried on felt pretty good.

    Any ideas for boots with more arch support would be greatly appreciated. On top of that I have fairly narrow feet...


    -Shayne

  2. #2
    Senior Member Halite's Avatar
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    I've generally found that the standard insoles/arch supports supplied with shoes and boots tend to be skimpy. So I've been replacing the supplied insole with one of the beefier commercial models sold separately. I haven't gone to custom footbeds from a podiatrist, although that could be one solution to your high arch needs.

    The best commercial insole I have found so far (for me) have been the Montrail Enduro insoles. They are heat moldable to really fit your foot. They have worked so well for me that I've been swapping the one pair I've purchased from one pair of shoes to another, even my running shoes. I have high arches and a narrow heel. YMMV, but you might want to check something like this out.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    -if the boot soles are wearing unevenly on the inside or outside, I think that indicates pronation or supination, which prescription orthotics can correct.
    -the moldable inserts may work for your arch, prescription orthotics will.
    -if you have a medical savings account, you may be able to reimburse youself for the boots if the therapist can get a prescription to that effect.
    -some med insurance plans cover 60 to 80% of orthotics.
    -the "step in the foam and mail away for custom orthotics" that you may see could help with your arch but will not address other issues.
    -I have no vested interest here. It's just that after about 10 years I feel like I have my foot pain figured out and under control.

    Pes Cavus (High Arch Foot)
    Etiology
    · Higher arch than normal; associated with excessive supination, accentuated high medial longitudinal arch
    Sign and Symptoms
    · Poor shock absorption resulting in metatarsalgia, foot pain, clawed or hammer toes
    · Associated with forefoot valgus, shortening of Achilles and plantar fascia; heavy callus development on ball and heel of foot
    Management
    · If asymptomatic, no attempt should be made to “correct”
    · Orthotics should be used if problems develop (lateral wedge)
    · Stretch Achilles and plantar fascia
    Dead Last > Did Not Finish > Did Not Start

    * ALL STANDARD DISCLAIMERS APPLY: IIRC. YRMV. IMHO. FWIW. HYOH. NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, ARE MADE
    THAT INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POST IS ACCURATE, RELIABLE OR APPROPRIATE FOR ANY PARTICULAR SITUATION.

  4. #4
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaddock
    I'm not really sure how to look at boots for arch support.
    I think there are at least 3 issues that need to be sorted out. Most of them are due to a lack of clarity about what is meant by "arch support".

    1) Some folks need to have something under their foot to create a functionaly arch in their foot. A podiatrist is in the best position to really diagnosis this, especially one who deals with sports issues. A lot of folks do well with off the shelf products like SuperFeet. As with all orthodics, start with a small amount of time and increase as you get used to them. The use of orthodics (custom or off the shelf) is rather independant on boot chooice.

    2) Boots vary with the amount of shank support in the sole. This relates to how stiff the sole is and where it will bend. In the old days of Norwegian welted boots, boots had no shank, 1/2 shanks, 3/4 shanks or full shanks. Today's nylon shanks blur these distinctions. Full shank boots give you enough support that you can hook the edge of your sole on the nub of a rock and have enough support that you can stand on it. In short, you trade increasing amounts of support for less flexibility. This has a direct bearing on boot choice. If this is what you mean by support, you need more than your old Montrails.

    3) The uppers of the boot will dictate the amount of ankle and foot support, which imo is somewhat related to boot sole/shank stiffness. Typically, if you increase the sole's stiffness, you also increase the tendancy of the boot to want to roll. Imagine having a super stiff sole balanced on a tiny rock. You get a balance board effect. To compensate, you typically want a higher, more supportive upper to help you control a stiffer sole. This is not always the case, btw. Limmers, for instance, are fairly low cut given how stiff their soles are. Also need to consider how prone you are to ankle injuries. Higher boots provide more support.

    None of this answers which type of boot will give you nirvana. My suggestion would be to more completely describe the range of conditions you hike in and ask people to describe what models of boots they like for those conditions. From that, you might be able to determine the class/weight/height/stiffness of boot that most people find the best. Once you know the class of boot you are looking for, you can then try on every pair of that type you can find (and refuse to try on pairs that don't fit into that category).

    To take a crude cut at it for you and not really understandig what you are looking for, you might look at boots in one of these categories:
    1) Injection Welted (Glued) 1/2 Shank Boots: Scarpa SL, Vasque Sundowner
    2) Norwegian Welted 1/2 Shank Boots: Limmer, Merrell Wilderness, Scarpa Rio (are they still made?)

    These boots may be too stiff or heavy for you.
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

    " Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat." - John Lehman, US Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987

  5. #5
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    I also tried Sole footbeds and so far I've had good results. They come in different thicknesses, I use Ultras for my hiking boots and Standards for my everyday work shoes. Here's another source: Footbeds, etc.

  6. #6
    Senior Member spaddock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.m
    2) Boots vary with the amount of shank support in the sole. This relates to how stiff the sole is and where it will bend.
    Thanks for all your speedy replies guys. And Dave thank you very much for your extremely detailed response.

    Based on what my physiotherapist said I think your second point is what she is referring to. She liked the height and ankle support of my Montrail's.

    Hopefully I can find something that meets these requirements and also fits me properly... Not going to be easy considering I tried on about 30 pairs the first time around, and being size 13 that doesn't make it any easier.

    Can't wait to tell my wife... But honey I have to get new boots, doctor's orders.


    -Shayne

  7. #7
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Size 13? BTDT.

    One thing I've noticed with large boot sizes is that materials don't generally get beefed up for the larger boots. That is, a size 13 boot gets the same thickness midsole and shank as a puny little size 9. The result? The size 9 is much stiffer comparitively speaking to the size 13.

    What does this mean when shopping? You may need to take people's opinion on how much boot is enough or too much with a grain of salt. Most folks don't wear 13s and won't appreciate how an otherwise sturdy model might wimp out when streeetched out to such a big size. I've seen this with both hiking boots and tele boots.

    On the flip side, your knee doc might warn you off of heavy (and supportive) boots for sake of your knees!! So it is possible to go too heavy.
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

    " Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat." - John Lehman, US Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987

  8. #8
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    Check Lathrop and sons...they make a custom footbed for select Hanwag boots...I've heard nothing but good things about them...

    http://www.lathropandsons.com/catalog/index.php

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