Shock Doctor Footbeds
By David Loveland

Shock Doctor Footbed

If you are like me, you don't think much about your feet. You just shove them into whatever shoe or boot you're going to be using that day and go. Work or workout, trail running or hiking, climbing or snowboarding, whatever, your feet are about the last thing you worry about. Until they start to complain, that is, then they are all you can think about. I am not just talking about blisters, although that is the number one foot complaint you will hear any time humans step into the wild, I also mean soreness, the way they just get that spent feeling at the end of a long day. Whether it is from being on your feet all day, carrying a heavy pack, or the pounding they take running on an uneven trail, the folks at Shock Doctor have the footbeds to help minimize some of the discomfort on your next trip.

I started testing these things in the winter. I decided to put one footbed in whatever boot / shoe I was using, and leave the manufacture's insole in the other boot. I alternated different feet with different trips, to see if they actually helped, or was just another gimmick. Right away I noticed that just generally, the foot with the Shock Doctor insole wasn't as tired at the end of the day as the foot with the regular foot bed. I didn't notice any difference with some activities, for example, snow boarding, or ice climbing, but during regular workouts I could tell the difference. During winter ascents of my local peaks, I noticed that the blisters I usually get on the bottom of my feet from friction on the decent were absent or not as bad. These are the blisters that work their way to the surface days and even weeks after getting off the mountain. As winter rolled into spring, the Shock doctors went with me on all trail runs and climbs and as I started training for a mountaineering expedition to Ecuador. By the time I came back from Ecuador, I had stopped leaving the manufactures insoles in one of the boots. The foot that would get 'stuck' with the regular footbed started complaining! The Shock Doctors kept some of the usual soreness and fatigue away from my feet. While they can't prevent blisters on places they don't protect, for example that tender spot on the back of your heel, they do minimize them on the bottom of your feet, and help cushion your foot with each step.

Summary: I found these footbeds to be well engineered, durable and comfortable. For general standing around work shoes, they were also excellent. The pairs I tested were made for mountaineering boots and were a little thick for trail running, but Shock Doctor makes insoles well suited for trail running shoes as well.

Cost - $29.95

David Loveland is a contributing editor to GearReview.com specializing in winter backcountry adventure.

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