Last year I wrote a post on the various insoles that I had tried for my Ecco Biom boots. My conclusion was rather surprising. I found that the Sidas Conformable footbeds from my ski boots were the most comfortable. This was despite the fact that they are about 25 years old and not really designed for flexible walking boots.
I was contacted recently by Simon of Candid Solutions who handles the PR for Sidas. He took pity on my ancient footbeds and offered a free pair their up to date custom footbeds for me to try. My old footbeds were starting to show their age with a couple of cracks and I had been thinking about a new pair of footbeds but not got round to doing anything, so I accepted Simon’s kind offer.
He arranged to have a pair of Sidas Custom Multi Soles sent to the Covent Garden store of Snow + Rock for a free fitting. So on Tuesday, despite the pouring rain, I trekked into central London for my fitting. After introducing myself, I was escorted to the basement where there was a whole wall of gleaming ski boots. Trying not to be distracted by one of my erstwhile passions (downhill skiing), we got on with the fitting.
The mouldable pads
First the insoles were placed in a heater. Then an impression of my feet was made on some pads, taking care that my lower leg was correctly aligned. After the insoles had been heated and made pliable, they are placed on the moulds. By standing on them, the insoles were then moulded to the shape of my foot.
Insole in the mould
The Custom Multi insoles are somewhat different to the red ski insoles I have been using. The main structure is under the heel and mid foot, which moulds to the shape of the heel and arch. Unlike the red insoles, the fore foot is quite flexible rather than rigid. Although it does take on some shape, it is less pronounced than on the ski insoles. The ski insoles are really designed for rigid boots rather than flexible walking boots or shoes.
Underside of the insole
After moulding the insoles, an optional heel stabiliser was added, which is designed to stop the heel of the footbed moving around in the boot. After the stabiliser is glued, it has to to ground into the right shape to fit the boot.
Shaping the heel stabiliser
Below you can see the underside of the Custom Multi insoles and the heel stabiliser (top) compared with my old footbeds (bottom). As you can see there’s a crack developing in the old footbeds!
Here’s a picture of the top of both insoles.
So what are the differences? I’ve used the new insoles in my Ecco Biom boots for a few short dog walks, so I can give you some first impressions. Firstly, they are more supportive under the foot arch. They feel a bit more like Superfeet Green insoles, which I used a fair bit in other boots. However, the arch support is in the right place, whereas the arch support in the Superfeet never felt quite right.
Secondly, the heel stabiliser is quite noticeable compared with the old footbed. I definitely feel that my heel is more secure. Thirdly, I much prefer the surface of the Sidas insoles to Superfeet. They have a little bit of cushioning and are quite grippy. They also dip beneath the ball of my foot, which I find more comfortable.
I’m hoping that I will be able to spend a couple of days in North Wales next week, where I’ll have an opportunity to test them out more thoroughly. I may even take the other footbeds along to do a bit of a compare and contrast. While nearly £70 might seem a bit steep for an insole, it’s worth bearing in mind that they can be transferred between boots and shoes and they do last a very long time.
Prices at Snow + Rock: Sidas Custom Multi Insoles £49.99, heel stabiliser £16.99
I’d like to thank Simon at Candid Solutions for the free footbeds and arranging their fitting. Also a big thanks to the staff at Snow + Rock for their time and expertise in fitting them.
Disclaimer: these footbeds were provided and fitted free of charge for me to review as I see fit. I have no business or financial relationship with Candid Solutions, Sidas or Snow + Rock.