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Of Rock Plates and Insoles

D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
If the imprint of trail debris, poking at your feet through the outersole of your shoe, is making your feet sore, you may want more shielding. A simple and effective DIY solution is to make a Rock Plate at home. The Rock Plate will slip under your insole, and provide a very effective level of protection without a huge penalty to the 'feel' of the shoe..

Take a thin and flexible plastic, like that found in milk jugs, or a thin plastic cutting board or plastic sheet

59537



Using your insole as a template, mark an outline of the insole onto the plastic. Cut out the outline. Place the cut out into the shoe, under your insole. If needed, use some double surface tape, like carpet tape, to affix your new 'rock plates' to the bottom of the shoes.

If you still find that you need more shielding, add a second pair and see how that works for you.

Increasing the cushioning to the foot is another method of shielding feet from trail debris. Some shoes, like many models of the Hoka One One, build this into some of their shoe models. Aftermarket insole inserts are another way to add such cushioning, which some folks find effective.

Insoles with effective open cell foams and elastic polymers can provide extra cushioning that will also provide some additional support to your foot structures. As the foot slightly sinks into the cushion, it creates an impression that will slightly fill in the void under your arches. This is an example of this type of insert; there are others that can also be effective.

I always take an extra insole with me, not an extra pair of footwear. I find that if my footwear feels good walking, it will be sufficiently comfortable for lounging around after a long day of backpacking or walking Camino. Of course, wearing lightweight trail runners rather than heavier footwear make this option easy.

I designate one insole as my walking insole. That's the one I will. . well. . do all my backpacking and Camino walking with. The extra insole that I take with me, is usually the one that came with the shoe.

The factory insoles are usually very light. When I swap out insoles at the end of the day, and will be walking around the village or town seeing the sights, getting dinner, shopping, etc, the factory insoles are more than sufficient for that walking task. Swapping out insoles allows my walking insoles to air out.

Like shoes, aftermarket insoles are an individual fit-and-feel type of thing. No one can reliably tell someone else that the aftermarket insole they like, will be a good match for another. If shopping for an insert, it can take quite a bit of trial and error to match your feet to a specific insole. There is a reason why so many aftermarket products exist; one type does NOT fit all. :)

The most valuable thing about such recommendations, are the observations about wear and tear, and quality control. Do they break down quickly? Cost? That sort of thing.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Thanks for this detail, Dave. As you know, I was wondering how to protect my feet in my lightweight soft and comfy running shoes. I use custom orthotics for support, but they are not firm under the ball of my foot and don't help with the rock surfaces.

I will definitely try this. (Such projects are perfect during these slow days, and I like the price.)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
If the imprint of trail debris, poking at your feet through the outersole of your shoe, is making your feet sore, you may want more shielding. A simple and effective DIY solution is to make a Rock Plate at home. The Rock Plate will slip under your insole, and provide a very effective level of protection without a huge penalty to the 'feel' of the shoe..

Take a thin and flexible plastic, like that found in milk jugs, or a thin plastic cutting board or plastic sheet

59537



Using your insole as a template, mark an outline of the insole onto the plastic. Cut out the outline. Place the cut out into the shoe, under your insole. If needed, use some double surface tape, like carpet tape, to affix your new 'rock plates' to the bottom of the shoes.

If you still find that you need more shielding, add a second pair and see how that works for you.

Increasing the cushioning to the foot is another method of shielding feet from trail debris. Some shoes, like many models of the Hoka One One, build this into some of their shoe models. Aftermarket insole inserts are another way to add such cushioning, which some folks find effective.

Insoles with effective open cell foams and elastic polymers can provide extra cushioning that will also provide some additional support to your foot structures. As the foot slightly sinks into the cushion, it creates an impression that will slightly fill in the void under your arches. This is an example of this type of insert; there are others that can also be effective.

I always take an extra insole with me, not an extra pair of footwear. I find that if my footwear feels good walking, it will be sufficiently comfortable for lounging around after a long day of backpacking or walking Camino. Of course, wearing lightweight trail runners rather than heavier footwear make this option easy.

I designate one insole as my walking insole. That's the one I will. . well. . do all my backpacking and Camino walking with. The extra insole that I take with me, is usually the one that came with the shoe.

The factory insoles are usually very light. When I swap out insoles at the end of the day, and will be walking around the village or town seeing the sights, getting dinner, shopping, etc, the factory insoles are more than sufficient for that walking task. Swapping out insoles allows my walking insoles to air out.

Like shoes, aftermarket insoles are an individual fit-and-feel type of thing. No one can reliably tell someone else that the aftermarket insole they like, will be a good match for another. If shopping for an insert, it can take quite a bit of trial and error to match your feet to a specific insole. There is a reason why so many aftermarket products exist; one type does NOT fit all. :)

The most valuable thing about such recommendations, are the observations about wear and tear, and quality control. Do they break down quickly? Cost? That sort of thing.
I remember you had posted similar to this quite awhile ago, but I'd forgotten what material you had suggested using. I was going to be asking you in a PM...now I don't need to! Thanks!
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
Regarding the fit of insoles, I recommend looking at inserts that are heat molded to the person's foot rather than standard sizes that require the foot to fit to them. The heat molding process ensures the arch that is perfectly fitted to the person and helps avoid arch breakdowns. Since fallen arches after several hundred miles can lead to elongation of the feet, which can lead to toe impact at the front of the shoe, which can lead to black nail, not to mention the pain of fallen arches, insoles that provide proper arch support is a good thing. The insole also provides good rock plate protection except down around the ball/toe bed, where @davebugg's suggestion of old milk cartons works well.

Heat molded inserts can be purchased at most good running stores and are about twice the price of Superfeet but well under half the price of custom orthotics. I find it to be a sweet spot for price-performance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Since fallen arches after several hundred miles can lead to elongation of the feet, which can lead to toe impact at the front of the shoe, which can lead to black nail, not to mention the pain of fallen arches, insoles that provide proper arch support is a good thing.
Twice I needed arch supports on a camino. I made them with wadded up tissue paper placed under the insoles. As you walk the paper gets compressed so you need to add more. That worked so well for me though my boots still have have the paper wads five years later. (The second time my shoes had special insoles with arch support that worked well in training but they couldn't hold up to even a week of camino walking.)

Though this has worked well for me long term I don't recommend it long term for anyone else. By the way, the problems this solved was in the knees, not the feet. Different problems each time.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Twice I needed arch supports on a camino. I made them with wadded up tissue paper placed under the insoles. As you walk the paper gets compressed so you need to add more. That worked so well for me though my boots still have have the paper wads five years later. (The second time my shoes had special insoles with arch support that worked well in training but they couldn't hold up to even a week of camino walking.)

Though this has worked well for me long term I don't recommend it long term for anyone else. By the way, the problems this solved was in the knees, not the feet. Different problems each time.

Rick

I’ve also had to improvise in the past. I used aluminium foil, either from a supermarket or from consuming large quantities of chocolate. It seemed to compress less easily than paper.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Rick

I’ve also had to improvise in the past. I used aluminium foil, either from a supermarket or from consuming large quantities of chocolate. It seemed to compress less easily than paper.
Thank you Henry (or Henry's best friend) for the idea. I may just start hiking with some aluminum foil for emergencies. The large quantities of chocolate I buy for hikes seem to disappear before packing time.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
The caffeine hadn't quite kicked in and my first thought was that Dave was going to suggest we wear the milk jugs over our shoes . . . Is it time to go to bed yet? (9am)
Great idea, Jeff! The half gallon size should work well, and do great in rain...goodbye gortex! 😛
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Rick, I have the opposite problem as you do. When buying walking/hiking shoes I must make sure the arches are not too high as they can be a killer on my relatively flat arches..."less is more" for me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Bottles or Boxes?

In a cavern, in a canyon
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner, forty-niner
And his daughter, Clementine

Oh my darling, oh my darling
Oh my darling, Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Light she was and like a fairy
And her shoes were number nine
Herring boxes, without topses
Sandals were for Clementine
 
Last edited:

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
Rick, I have the opposite problem as you do. When buying walking/hiking shoes I must make sure the arches are not too high as they can be a killer on my relatively flat arches..."less is more" for me.
Exactly why I find an insole that is heat-molded to my foot is ideal.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Exactly why I find an insole that is heat-molded to my foot is ideal.
That can work for some, and could be a good solution worth investigating.

The reason why so many find a molded insole, which also applies to an orthotic, is uncomfortable after it is purchased, is that walking is a dynamic process that interacts with foot impacts quite differently, and can not be easily captured in a static process where a mold of a foot is taken.

For others, an orthotic - or a molded insole - will work well. For these folks, there are enough deficiencies in a foot's anatomy, that the increased support of an insole or orthotic matches the needs for extra support of that foot. The key is to define what is needed for support due to an actual deficiency in the foot, and what is a normal deviation.

An example: Flat feet can be a normal development that is unique to an individual. Flat feet might also be an abnormal breakdown of a foot's structure. A supported arch in a supplemental device is indicated in the latter, but would be an injurious misery for the former.

It is also important to determine if foot aches and pains are the result of the feet needing to get used to increased exercise, or if there is an actual breakdown to the structures. Long distance walking to feet, is like taking on a new exercise routine of weight lifting to the biceps and triceps. The increased load, over a prolonged time, in a decidedly new manner, equals aches and discomfort.

Knees and feet need time to adapt to a new exercise regimen, just as any other part of the body.

All of the above contribute to the complications of matching and finding the right third-party insole to one's feet. For those who are engaging in their first-time ever, long distance walking event like a Camino, have even more reason to spend time training and walking to help sort out these issues. :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
If nothing else, I have enjoyed this thread for one thing. Despite the levity with which we treat our various expedient solutions, it is wonderful to think that there are still people who are prepared to apply simple practical skills and local materials to find workable solutions. At a time where far too often, the default appears to be to find a skilled specialist with access to a manufactured part that needs to be fitted using a specialised tool, I think this thread shows that we can do things to keep going in the face of adversity.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Bottles or Boxes?

In a cavern, in a canyon
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner, forty-niner
And his daughter, Clementine

Oh my darling, oh my darling
Oh my darling, Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Light she was and like a fairy
And her shoes were number nine
Herring boxes, without topses
Sandals were for Clementine
For all of us learning the harmonica while in lock down

1589667954995.png
What? Just me then?
 

Tom Quinn

Happy walker
Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
(2020)
If the imprint of trail debris, poking at your feet through the outersole of your shoe, is making your feet sore, you may want more shielding. A simple and effective DIY solution is to make a Rock Plate at home. The Rock Plate will slip under your insole, and provide a very effective level of protection without a huge penalty to the 'feel' of the shoe..

Take a thin and flexible plastic, like that found in milk jugs, or a thin plastic cutting board or plastic sheet

59537



Using your insole as a template, mark an outline of the insole onto the plastic. Cut out the outline. Place the cut out into the shoe, under your insole. If needed, use some double surface tape, like carpet tape, to affix your new 'rock plates' to the bottom of the shoes.

If you still find that you need more shielding, add a second pair and see how that works for you.

Increasing the cushioning to the foot is another method of shielding feet from trail debris. Some shoes, like many models of the Hoka One One, build this into some of their shoe models. Aftermarket insole inserts are another way to add such cushioning, which some folks find effective.

Insoles with effective open cell foams and elastic polymers can provide extra cushioning that will also provide some additional support to your foot structures. As the foot slightly sinks into the cushion, it creates an impression that will slightly fill in the void under your arches. This is an example of this type of insert; there are others that can also be effective.

I always take an extra insole with me, not an extra pair of footwear. I find that if my footwear feels good walking, it will be sufficiently comfortable for lounging around after a long day of backpacking or walking Camino. Of course, wearing lightweight trail runners rather than heavier footwear make this option easy.

I designate one insole as my walking insole. That's the one I will. . well. . do all my backpacking and Camino walking with. The extra insole that I take with me, is usually the one that came with the shoe.

The factory insoles are usually very light. When I swap out insoles at the end of the day, and will be walking around the village or town seeing the sights, getting dinner, shopping, etc, the factory insoles are more than sufficient for that walking task. Swapping out insoles allows my walking insoles to air out.

Like shoes, aftermarket insoles are an individual fit-and-feel type of thing. No one can reliably tell someone else that the aftermarket insole they like, will be a good match for another. If shopping for an insert, it can take quite a bit of trial and error to match your feet to a specific insole. There is a reason why so many aftermarket products exist; one type does NOT fit all. :)

The most valuable thing about such recommendations, are the observations about wear and tear, and quality control. Do they break down quickly? Cost? That sort of thing.
Dave,
Great idea with the milk container. What do you recommend for an insert? I've tried Protalus. Great heal protection but they squeak.
Semper Fi
Tom Quinn
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Dave,
Great idea with the milk container. What do you recommend for an insert? I've tried Protalus. Great heal protection but they squeak.
Semper Fi
Tom Quinn
For specific inserts, the place to start is to decide what your feet need most: Cushioning or Support. From there, I would look at that category of insole products that have good ratings as far as durability and overall performance (value for money).

Once you have a number of candidates, it is basically trial and error.. . . what feels the best to your feet.

If the concern is focused on a diagnosed structural issue in the feet or ankles or knees, which has a medical need for correction, I would skip off-the-shelf products and work with an experienced Podiatrist who is specialized in working with athletes and sporting issues.

For myself, I like cushioned replacement insole, so I focused on finding several candidates, like the example in the OP, and then just kept trying them on until my feet made the choice :)
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
For others, an orthotic - or a molded insole - will work well. For these folks, there are enough deficiencies in a foot's anatomy, that the increased support of an insole or orthotic matches the needs for extra support of that foot. The key is to define what is needed for support due to an actual deficiency in the foot, and what is a normal deviation.

An example: Flat feet can be a normal development that is unique to an individual. Flat feet might also be an abnormal breakdown of a foot's structure. A supported arch in a supplemental device is indicated in the latter, but would be an injurious misery for the former.
The point of a heat-molded insert is to match the current state of the foot, not to correct it (the later is the job of orthotics and medical professionals). Nor is the purpose to introduce additional arch. If a person already has flat or partially flat feet, a heat molded insert will support whatever state the arch is in, helping to alleviate further flattening as a consequence of the hike, atypical usage, and extra weight of the pack. Even if the person has collapsed arches and shouldn't (a defect that would benefit from medical intervention), the molded insole won't correct anything but may still help slow or stop worsening of the situation.

It also has the advantage of even contact with the foot for reducing pressure/sheering points that lead to blisters.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
The point of a heat-molded insert is to match the current state of the foot, not to correct it (the later is the job of orthotics and medical professionals).
I wrote that very thing. This was a very general overview, encapsulating gradations of appliances, not separating everything out in stark review. i did that in a previous guide that I wrote and posted.

Nor is the purpose to introduce additional arch. If a person already has flat or partially flat feet, a heat molded insert will support whatever state the arch is in, helping to alleviate further flattening as a consequence of the hike, atypical usage, and extra weight of the pack.
I never stated that the introduction of an arch was the purpose. I had specifically stated, " that the increased support of an insole or orthotic matches the needs for extra support of that foot." No mention was made of artificially adding an arch.

Even if the person has collapsed arches and shouldn't (a defect that would benefit from medical intervention), the molded insole won't correct anything but may still help slow or stop worsening of the situation.
As you noted, there is a difference between a structural 'collapse' that requires an individual podiatric evaluation, and reduction of the arch during normal sport and exercise activities.

It also has the advantage of even contact with the foot for reducing pressure/sheering points that lead to blisters.
A heat molded insert? Sure. Any insole that is properly sized will do the same.

As I stated, some individuals can benefit from a heat molded style of insole. But many others find them intolerable. It is a matter of trying them and seeing if they will work.

I appreciate your contribution to the thread. Hopefully those who are interested in the heat-molded style of insole will contact you in the thread or by PM if they have questions.
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
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