What thin material to use for homemade insoles?
November 12, 2011 9:30 PM   Subscribe

I want to make home-made insoles for my Vivo Barefoot boots. What material could I use that's non-cushioned and thin?

The replacements in the store are expensive and they sold me the wrong ones, so looking to make my own.

Insoles you can buy are not broad enough, so thinking of getting a sheet of material and cutting them out.

The only function the insole has to do is stop the bottom of the shoe getting worn...it should be thin and not have much cushioning.

I would prefer a readily available material as it can be hard to locate things in a foreign country. I have access to a kind of haberdashery market.

I was thinking of leather...but it might be too wrinkly and ruck up..?

Any ideas?
posted by Not Supplied to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total)
Chamois, glued down? Might not be very durable.
posted by rtha at 9:47 PM on November 12, 2011

How big are your feet? Some thin mousepads cut to shape might work.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 PM on November 12, 2011

If you go to a good shoe store and ask, they should be willing to give you (or charge you very, very little for) a few of the the cheap insoles they use to help fill up space in too-large shoes. These are thin and foamy and white and they'll probably have stacks of them. If you're worried about the width, get them big and cut them shorter.
posted by dizziest at 5:32 AM on November 13, 2011

Thanks for the answers. I think the width of the Vivo shoes is too big for store insoles. The Vivo's are made much wider than normal sizes, should have made that clear...and I'm size 11 in Vivo's.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:49 AM on November 13, 2011

You could buy insoles in a bigger size that are wide enough for the vivos and then cut them to size.
posted by Authorized User at 5:52 AM on November 13, 2011

Yeh I thought about that, but I'm size 11 (UK) in Vivo's which is big, so to match the width I'm looking at finding size 13-14 standard size and to go one bigger 14-15.

This would mean tracking down special oversized insoles from specialists if they exist, and given that they will need to be replaced would prefer something more readily available if possible.
posted by Not Supplied at 6:27 AM on November 13, 2011

I've modified shoes a few times to not have any support and to floppify soles, which usually entails ripping out any insole material they have. I just use leather and contact cement to replace it.
posted by cmoj at 10:44 AM on November 13, 2011

Wool felt, perhaps? You could get some raw wool + make a general shape, and the sweat and heat of your feet would practically felt it up on its own. Although, working in some soap and hot water would probably be more effective. Wool felt also does a good job dealing with sweat, and neutralizes odors. If this sounds appealing at all, there should be a fair amount of info online about how to do it...
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 3:58 PM on November 13, 2011

You might try contacting Vivo Barefoot directly - they might float you a free pair or have another solution for you..cost of entry for that brand is steep (but worth it IMO) for most of their shoes...often times premium products have premium support.
posted by walmerhoz at 4:12 PM on November 13, 2011

Thanks. They're all good ideas. I'll consider my options.

I have some questions for cmoj if you don't mind:

Are you saying you glue the leather directly into the shoe? In which case, what do you do if the leather needs replacing? Rip it out and stick a new one?

Contact cement - Is there a special reason for using this? Would another kind of adhesive do the job do you reckon?
posted by Not Supplied at 8:06 PM on November 13, 2011

Yes, I glue it directly into the shoe. Depending on the shoe, and especially once the contact cement is on, it might take going slow and careful to cut it to fit and place it with contact cement. Also, if the bottom of the inside of the shoe is textured, I end up putting a double layer at the heal and the ball of the foot. The leather I start out with is pretty thin.

And yes, I would just rip it out and replace it, but leather is far more durable than whatever rubber stuff they use for that kind of thing and my modified Sambas have been going for more than a year now with no indication at all of needing re-insoling.

I'm sure any number of other adhesives would work passably, but contact cement is wonderful shit. In this application it's very strong and very flexible without being ultra-permanent. So, it's not gonna go anywhere after being bent around half a million times by my feet, but whenever I might need to replace it, I can pull it apart without worrying too much about wrecking the stuff it's stuck to and I won't have to scrape hardened epoxy or glue off.
posted by cmoj at 9:18 PM on November 13, 2011

Nice. Thanks.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:38 AM on November 14, 2011

I found some jumbo insoles in the market that are very flat and about size 13. When cut to length they do the job. They are not wide enough in one place, but I found it doesn't matter in practise because they cover everything my feet touch and don't rattle around.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:03 AM on December 7, 2011

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