Orthotics You Can Make, Part II: Padded Insoles




Introduction: Orthotics You Can Make, Part II: Padded Insoles

About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

I have been suffering from relative severe plantar faciitis and or fallen arches for several years now. At one point, it was getting severe enough that I was worried about my ability to actually walk...it was that painful!  After spending a considerable amount of money on store bought insoles and other orthotic types, I decided to think it through and see if I couldn't come up with some thing that would bring relief and not cost an arm and a leg....some of the prices charged are quite high.  This instructable shows how I made insoles for my shoes. Insoles that relieved most of my pain, along with another item, shown in another instructable. (See:https://www.instructables.com/id/ELKWOJ7GH4A6AQW/ The cost to make these is next to nothing if you have a few necessary items lying about.

Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed

To make the insoles shown in this instructable, I used the following:
Molded, high compression polyurethane foam. I found a tailbone support cushion in
a thrift shop...$2!
Marking pen...Sharpie
Boards and plywood to make cutting jig
Bandsaw...Craftsman 9 inch
Sewing machine
Cloth/material for liner(s)

Step 2: Make a Pattern Out of Stiff Cardboard

Using an old insole I had been wearing, I traced an outline onto cardboard, then cut this out to use as my pattern.  You could just trace the outline of the foot while standing on cardboard, as well.

Step 3: Mark Insoles to Be Cut Out of High Density Foam Rubber

Using the pattern from step 2, I outlined the insole with a sharpie to make it very visable.

Step 4: Cut Out Blank As Shown

This blank or thick piece of foam is cut on the bandsaw, following the line made in previous step. A serrated bread knife or hacksaw blade could be used as well.

Step 5: Make Jig to Cut Insoles to Thickness Wanted

Using a 5 inch wide board, I added two outside strips of 1/4 inch plywood. This makes a jig that can be used to cut the insoles to the thickness of 1/4 inch which is sufficient for our purpose.  If thicker, difficulty is encountered in placing in shoes, and making them too tight. Although I believe you could use 3/8 inch or even 1/2 inch "spacers" without difficulty. 

Step 6: Use a Hacksaw to Cut Insoles

A hacksaw is used to slice off sections from the blank, all a uniform thickness of 1/4 inch. A serrated bread knife and or electric carving knife would probably work as well.

Step 7: After Cutting, Use Pattern to Mark Cloth Liners

Using the cardboard pattern made earlier, I outlined this form on the cloth I had chosen to make the 'liners".  I had some remnants left over from previous projects and wasn't concerned with matching anything....although that is an option you can use.  The lining material is then cut out with scissors, and trimmed to fit reasonably well.

Step 8: Using Sewing Machine, Sew Liners to Insole Blanks

A sandwich of liner, foam, liner is made and sewn together as shown.  After going around the entire piece, I zig zagged back and forth to make a semi-quilted effect on the insoles.

Step 9: Insert Completed Insoles in Shoes, and Enjoy the Comfort!

The insoles can now be inserted into your shoes, and they do offer a good deal of comfort and support.  I found immediate relief from pain on standing and walking.  My other instructable on an arch support shows how to make a companion piece to help with plantar faciitis pain as well.  I have been using those for about six months and the relief is pretty amazing...and the cost is even better!

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    6 years ago on Introduction

    I'm exploring another way. Got two component expanding foam from a plastics store. Once mixed in a container it will expand and quickly harden. If I step in while it expands (foot protected with 3mil plastic and sock) it should create a perfect mold. We'll see. One problem could be heat as this chemical reaction is quite exothermic.


    Reply 5 years ago

    thank you creativeman

    mvoelker - did you try the compound mixing - did that pan out?


    You could probably make them out of old flip-flops, as well. Which might make it easier to carve.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I find that I need to wear insoles because I have to stand a lot at work, nice idea to make your own.