Perhaps the most significant part of a custom shoe is the insole.
Custom insoles are engineered to improve power and endurance while protecting your muscular joints from wear and tear. Much more than Doctor Scholl’s for cycling, a custom insole allows you to reap the benefits of a custom fit without buying new shoes altogether. And you can move a custom insole from your road shoes to your mountain shoes. Custom insoles allow riders to become more comfortable and connected to their bikes. The benefits of a custom insole provide a complete compliance from your foot to your bike conserving more power each time you pedal.
Conformables are easily the highest level of custom insole options. The company started out by making custom inserts for ski boot before they took their years of knowledge and applied it to cycling shoes.
Conformable insoles last and last, I have put only five thousand miles on mine, but some UCI Pro’s are rumored to have put over thirty thousand miles on theirs without replacing them or the insoles breaking down. After the initial fit Conformables can also be reformed by reheating and shaping them back into place if they ever feel that they need to be “tuned-up.” They also make running specific insoles too, as well as sets for motorcycle riding and racing.
Once inserted into your cycling shoes they become an extension of your foot planting into your pedals. These insoles act as the primary guidance system for your feet. The right cycling shoe and custom insole will provide 360 degrees of fit, allowing your muscles and joints to move with less stress and tension, increasing comfort and performance. State-of-the-art, super lightweight, heat-moldable materials are used to create an incredibly accurate mold of your feet. Strategically placed control and propulsive materials provide support, protection and performance.
Most custom insoles take about 30 minutes to make. For instance a local coach, Nate Loyal, did mine in Los Angeles and I rode them immediately afterwards. If you get a set of Conformables made at your local bike shop by a fit specialist you get to take them home with you on the same day. But these high-end footbeds come with a price tag to match and will run you anywhere $125-$145.
If that is out of your budget there are less expensive do-it-yourself options available online from companies like Sole or Sorbothane. They start around $20 but a good pair of Soles might run as much as $40 and are widely available from online retailers.
Soles are an attractive alternative for those of us on a budget or who live outside large cities. An ingenious process allows you to warm these puppies in your kitchen oven at home before you ride. You make your pair of Sole inserts right in your own living room while watching Tivo repeats of the Tour.