Calling all DIY cobblers - help me hack my boots!
December 1, 2012 10:29 AM   Subscribe

What can I use to make a platform lift to work with an off-the-shelf arch support?

I bought a pair of boots one size larger than my regular size, and grabbed a pair of arch supports (Birkenstock's Blue Footbed) to help my fallen arches. The supports feel wonderful. However, they have exaggerated the slope from the heel (already 1.5” and a bit high for my arthritic big toe to handle) to the toe area, where there’s a lot of room.

I think what I need is some kind of lift/platform to raise the insole in the toe so that the whole thing’s level(ish). I’ve cut felt to try to fill it in, but the edge of the arch support is angled, so there’s an awkward gap where my feet are unsupported, just below the balls of my feet. Which is lousy for the toe.

Really I ought to find a way to cut the edge of the felt so it’s angled as well, but I haven’t the tools or hands to do it. (I thought of using silicone caulking, but already know it's a bad idea.)

The cobblers in my area aren’t equipped to deal with or even interested in this kind of shoe-hacking, so it’s down to me.

I really like the Birkenstock support and would like to use it if possible. Custom orthotics aren’t an option right now.


(Maybe they weren’t a brilliant buy, but I’ve been to 15 shoe stores over the past month, and these were the only boots in my price range that otherwise met my requirements.)
posted by nelljie to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
Can you just use the front part cut off of a very simple set of Dr. Scholl's-type insoles? Not the gel ones, but the old-style flat cushion kind (or the kind made of really thin closed-cell foam).
posted by Madamina at 10:58 AM on December 1, 2012

Thanks for replying! I guess that's sort of similar to what I was trying to do with the felt (which is made for shoes, not crafting; have layered two sheets so it's 3cm thick). I've only managed to make a straight cut, though, and for things to lie completely flat I think I've got to somehow bevel the edge. The thin edge of the arch support is still ~ 2-3mm thick, so there's a gap, like this:

==| /--==--

and I reckon it's got to be more like this:


Lol. I'll figure something out. Unless this whole project is an idiotic waste of time (probably), and I don't. Thanks, though!
posted by nelljie at 12:12 PM on December 1, 2012

A word you might find useful is "skiving." This refers to using a knife (Xacto is what I used) to slice off part of the edge of a piece of leather so that the edge is thinner and a bit beveled. Typically, you'd do this so you can meet edges (folded over itself or overlapped) and not have a double thickness at that point.

The blade of an Xacto should be thin and flexible enough to do this. Obviously, you'll need a new and sharp one, especially if the material you're using requires more of a sawing motion to cut than just a simple slide. That may be part of your problem with the felt.

But if you've got a little foam or something else that doesn't catch on the blade, see if you can practice something similar to skiving and then see how that works. It might take a little while, but it could help.
posted by Madamina at 1:11 PM on December 1, 2012

I tried to do something similar to this recently, but the results were less than stellar. I do use and like the Birkenstock Blue and have found that these in the Maximum model give similar support in a full length insole.
posted by doctord at 10:53 AM on December 3, 2012

Thanks both. I gave up on the weekend, but will give it another try with a fresh Xacto (and drink less coffee when I try). Am grateful to have been pointed to a good back-up.
posted by nelljie at 1:02 PM on December 3, 2012

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