Men’s Journal

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Author: Dr. Bob Arnot, The Rx Pad

Why You Need Insoles

Custom insoles aren’t just for comfort; they’re essential for protecting your joints and boosting athletic performance

I have what’s best called a “clawfoot”: high arches and toes that point down. This “claw” offers enormous advantages in alpine skiing because it provides leverage on the ski in a turn. But it’s a terrible flaw for running, tennis, hiking or mountain climbing because it places destructive forces on the hip. For people like me, good insoles (orthotics) provide vital protection from long-term joint and ligament damage. They also improve everyday comfort and athletic performance. When I cycle, for example, orthotics help smooth the wobble in my right knee. Because I’ve destroyed my right hip with too many marathons, triathlons and alpine assaults, I wear orthotics in my everyday shoes so I can walk or run farther without pain. The best, most affordable ones I’ve found come from a company called ALINE. I first tried them after meeting the inventor, Gordon Hay. When you go to a store that carries ALINEs (there are 300 of them around the country), the staff will take 3D measurements of your foot and the alignment of your ankle and knee with a device the company created. Based on your measurements, they’ll pick an insole for you on the spot. Hay’s insoles not only make your feet comfortable, they also improve your alignment and reduce knee and ankle pain. I used these all last season in my ski boots (as well as my running and cycling shoes). I’ve never skied better.

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