Aug 25 2011

Testimonial: Aetrex Footbeds

Like skinning, today’s run was a pleasant reminder of how much I love trail running. It’s a big part of why I’m rather inclined to like the earning part of backcountry skiing, for that steady state aerobically induced runners high.

Terry Fisher in the running zone on the Tyndall Plateau, Sequoia National Park.

There was a time, not so far back, when both activities were in jeopardy. I should have known there’d be some price to pay for the obnoxiously hedonistic thrill of riding a snowboard. The price was my knees. It felt like the ball joints were going out and the pins holding them together were about to fail. Tom Burt told me it was because of the Clicker™ bindings; the rear one should have been canted forward. Medically speaking my medial ligament was torn.

Rehab was done by swimming and, I kid you not, telemark skiing. The tele dance made the muscles around the knee strong, taking the brunt of stress to the knee with some elasticity. Swimming let the ligaments heal and rebuild a bit. The duo remain a foundation of my ongoing rehab program.

Note the angular pitch at the rear. This was to help compensate for too much pronation.

So is running, thanks to a pair of footbeds from Aetrex. There are other brands of great footbeds out there, and their relevance always boils down to personal anatomy. For myself, these were a game saver.

Prior to learning about Aetrex my footbed of choice was Superfeet. They made a couple pair of custom footbeds for me at an Outdoor Retailer tradeshow and the results felt fantastic. But when I started running again I couldn’t go more than 2-3 miles at a time, or more than once every 4-5 days. My knees had to heal a bit after each run and my medial ligament was tender.

At another annual summer Outdoor Retailer show I wandered by the Aetrex booth. They were sporting one of those electronic foot sensors. I’d heard of this before and wandered over to see why they thought measuring contours of the underside of my foot when weighted and pronated had any validity. I fully agreed with the Superfeet way of thinking that measuring the contours of the bottom of a foot should be done with the foot UNweighted.

They agreed, shaping a foot bed to match a weighted foot would be silly. Their iStep system used a pressure sensor to build a map of my foot’s pressure and then, based on what they had learned after 20 years of building custom orthotics, would recommend a shape that gave optimal support for that pressure profile. They had compiled twelve common corrective shapes for each of the three major categories of low, medium, and high arched feet.

One of these will probably fit. If it doesn't, custom orthotics may be the way to go.

Sounds intriguing doesn’t it?

Since they were handing out samples I figured, what’s to lose?

I walked around the rest of the show in them, and then went for a run as soon as I got home to clear the out toxins from the tradeshow in SLC. I went for another run two days later. Then I took five days off ‘cuz I knew my knees needed it even though, in retrospect they really didn’t. That was August.

As the snow began to fly in November it dawned on me that I’d been running regularly 3-4 times per week for the past two months. But it wasn’t until the next summer that I couldn’t deny the credit was due to Aetrex for their insoles that helped correct my stance.

There’s no doubt Aetrex footbeds won’t work for everybody. However, the orthotic basis for their footbeds is solid. The chance that one is optimized for you is pretty high. You may find that it merely reinforces the choice you have already made. Or it may help eliminate some pain. Check ‘em out. Unless you’re out in the boonies there’s probably an authorized dealer near you.

Link to Aetrex iStep Technology

© 2011


  • http://www.earnyourturns.com Dostie

    One more example to share. Since there has been an absolute dearth of snow this 11/12 season I’ve been doing a lot of ice skating. As long as I can remember ice skating has been associated with pain in my foot. Less now as an adult since using SuperFeet footbeds, but this season I slipped my Aetrex footbeds in and I haven’t experienced even a hint of foot pain. Gone. More proof, at least for me, that I obtained the right footbed from them and it really works.

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