How To End The Endless Quest For Good Footwear


By: Michael Heuser

A couple of things.

Don’t wear kicks that reflect the current trend just so you can step up your Instagram picture “likes”… Only fools and tools do that shit. Your foot volume, foot profile, and biomechanical issues are as unique to you as is your BZO or your favorite choice in Instructor Zero vids. Unless you are burning frequent flier miles for a trip to London to have custom kicks made at John Lobb, no shoe/boot will truly account for your nasty, Hobbit feet. If you don’t like English shoes, there are some excellent cobblers in Italia that cut a mean last. Don’t believe me? Ask the Gioppetto that mentored Daniel-Day Lewis…

$3500.00 customs not your thing? Bueno….. Before you buy new shit kickers, ACTUALLY have your feet measured in a Brannock Device…

Look it up, I’ll wait…..

Why is this important? It gives a decent metric regarding your foot “size”. “But hermano, I’ve always been a size 10…” Maybe, maybe not… With that number from the Brannock, you now know what’s up.


Get a piece of cardboard… Steal the box your cat hides in if you are so bold (they will murder you in your sleep at some later date). Lay a flat piece on the ground. Get a bowl of water and a sponge.

Plop your butt down on a chair. Wet your feet (yes, take off your shoes & socks). Place your wet feet on the cardboard and stand up. Sit down and take your feet off of the cardboard.

See the impression that remains? That is a rough guide as to how much arch you have and possibly how much volume your feet take up. It also gives you a rough idea of your foot profile.

I’m flat-footed as an elephant. I have a wide upper foot and a narrow heel. Those things tell me that a need a wider toe box and a narrower heel cup. It probably also tells me that I need a shoe that has a lower internal volume.

Fucking variables…

Armed with that info, should I buy the shoe on sale? Perhaps the one that I see in Tactical Cuisine magazine? What does all this minutiae have to do with skipping on down to the local seed & feed to buy insoles?

Glad you asked.

It actually works in reverse. You should have a rough idea of which insole you’ll want to use and THEN select your slippers… Not only that, you should choose the sock(s) you’ll be wearing with the insoles and shoes. When I was choosing my last set of fruit boots (freaky ice climbing boots), I knew I was going to use an Ed Viesturs designed SOLE insole. They are designed for cooler WX. I also knew I was going to wear a thin liner sock with a heavy SmartWool sock. If I had just whistled into Neptune Mountaineering and laid out a cool $400 for a pair of boots based on my PF Flyer shoe size, I’d have been screwed. Instead, I had to try on three sizes with my insole/sock combo. The boot I wanted didn’t work (Italian). I had to go with another company (German). Why? Because the first boot, the one I wanted, didn’t work with the insole/sock combo. My foot simply didn’t mesh with the last design of the boot. The other boot’s last design worked much better.

Do you know why the Danner Acadia and Desert Acadia fit differently even though they’re basically the same boot? Different lasts.

Back to insoles…


I prefer SOLE to most other insoles. No particular reason why. They just work better with my unique feet. Superfeet would be my second choice. And, if I had really jacked up feet, I’d probably spring for corrective insoles.

The takeaway here is that when it comes to what you shod your feet with, it is an entire system.


That system will be variable.

You like your Asolos? I do too. They are combined with a sock/insole combo just for them.

I don’t wear my cycling socks with them as it changes the volume uptake. And, I wouldn’t use those insoles in my cycling shoes.


One last thing…

Sometimes things are close, but just not right. It may be how you lace up. So before you abandon your system, play around with the lacing.



As Echo and The Bunnymen loosely sang…

I’m off for a walk under The Killing Moon…

I just need to find my flip flops first….



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