Kit review: 3 Feet footbeds
A guy called Simon emailed me. He had been reading my blog (nice man!) and in particular my review of the Keen Gypsum walking boots. He had obviously been paying attention to what I’d written because he noticed that I often have to wear thicker socks to compensate for having thin and low-arch feet.
Simon said he might have the solution. A pair of 3 Feet footbeds made by Sidas, which act as a volume adjuster and provide extra comfort for wearing in a range of shoes and boots. There didn’t seem to be a lot to lose as he said he’d send a pair out for me to try.
Footwear orthotics and the benefits
I already wear professionally made orthotics in my running shoes to balance out a tendency to over-pronate. This means that my feet roll in slightly each time I strike the ground as I’m running. It used to cause knee and hip pain. But after a visit to a podiatrist I found that the solution was a customised pair of insoles, or orthotics.
Walking isn’t so much of a problem unless I am walking for many hours – and on tarmac – and then I can suffer from a similar knee and hip pain but my orthotics are not well suited to walking boots.
Anyway, back to the 3 Feet. Sidas are already well known – if you know about these things – for making all sorts of custom orthotics and footbeds. More recently they have brought out an off-the-shelf solution designed to support common foot types.
This range is called 3Feet and is designed to meet the needs of high, mid and low arch types. Simon thought the 3Feet would also prove useful in achieving a better footwear fit and improved comfort for me in walking boots.
Here’s the blurb from Sidas: “Integrating their extensive knowledge of podiatry and custom orthotics, Sidas have announced their own line of off-the-shelf insoles, dubbed 3 Feet. The 3 Feet insoles are available in low, mid and high arch models that are designed to create a neutral stance that can be critical in alleviating and preventing problems in the knees, ligaments, lower back, hips and ankles. This is achieved by providing the correct amount of cushioning and arch support to correct the posture and neutralise the stance of each foot type.
“In addition all 3 insoles reduce the risk of blistering by holding the foot firmly in place and minimising the possibility for movement within the shoe as well as featuring shock absorbing cushioning at key pressure points. 3 Feet is available from select outdoor retailers now, priced at RRP £30.” The footbeds have “shock absorption”, “injury prevention” and “anti-bacterial action” advantages, too.
My thoughts: “The footbeds take a bit of faffing with to create a good fit inside my favoured walking boots. I had to cut a bit off the ends! And because all my boots come in slightly different shapes I guess I’d be looking at a pair of footbeds for each pair of shoes (kind of costly!). However, once in place the 3Feets are immediately comfy. It’s like having an extra thick pair of new and fluffy socks on your feet!
I hadn’t really thought of the advantages of adding in a footbed to walking boots but because of my narrow feet the advantage is that my feet move around a lot les in the boots. And feet that move around in boots can end up with blisters and it sore toes. I have found that unless I tie my laces super tight on boots when walking downhill my toes continually bang against the front on my boots. I usually stop a couple of times on a mountain to re-tie the boots. But not anymore. The footbeds keep my feet in a solid position within the boots.
Even after a few days of walking the footbeds are still comfy. And on one longer-distance outing walking a major Munro in the snow I felt none of the general aches and pains in my back, knees and hips. This could have been coincidental but perhaps the fact that my feet were nicely aligned in the boots helped to keep my body position.
These are pricey at £30 per pair but professionally made orthotics cost around £100 and for sorting out minor body niggles I think they are a good choice. If, like me, you have long and narrow feet, you’ll find that the footbeds are useful for reducing the volume of boots. 3 Feet are sold at good outdoors stores.