Perfectly Sized Shoe Inserts

About: I'm an Engineer. I like hiking, flea markets, and electronics.

You can save a lot of money buying used shoes at your local thrift shop. If you're lucky, these are "new" shoes that someone found to be too ugly, but more often they're "used". With prices that are 1/10th of retail, why not buy them? Especially a pair of running or hiking shoes that are not complete worn. What about when the inserts are missing or too worn (or gross) to use?

In this instructable, I'll show you how to cut the perfectly fitting shoe inserts. You will need:

  • Cardboard from any box. The kind I'd recommend comes from breakfast cereal boxes.
  • Oversized shoe inserts made out of proper material.
  • Pencil.
  • Scissors.

Step 1: Trace the Shoe

To start, trace the outline of the shoe. It doesn't need to be perfect, any rough outline will suffice.

Step 2: Inline the Tracing

Draw a smaller inline about 1/2" (12 mm) inside the tracing from the first step.

Step 3: Cut Rough Insert

Cut out the small inner tracing.

Step 4: Insert Tracing

Insert the tracing, it should fit loosely. It may be too small in parts, that's okay. If it doesn't fit, cut around the edges until it does.

Step 5: Feel for Gaps

Make sure that the shoe laces have been removed from the shoe for this step. You'll take your finger and run it along the edge of the insert and feel for gaps between the insert and the shoe where you want more material. Use a pencil to draw a line on the edges to indicate how much gap you think needs to be filled. For example, if you think you'll need to add 1/4" (6 mm) to the edge, draw a line 1/4" (6 mm) from that edge. The next step shows this clearly. These measurements don't need to be precise.

Step 6: Trace New Insert

In this step, take the rough insert and trace it, adding to the places where you've indicated need more material. Cut out the new insert and try the process of feeling, marking, tracing, cutting, and testing until you get a perfect fit.

Step 7: Start to Finish

This step shows from left to right how the insert went from the original "rough" shape into its final perfect fit.

Step 8: Transfer Insert

Cardboard is a terrible insert material so you'll need to transfer it to real shoe insert material. I recommend getting an extremely oversized insert so it fits perfectly. Trace the final cardboard insert template over the real insert and cut appropriately. The same template is used for both feet, just flipped over for the other foot. Here, the cardboard I used happened to be red on the front side.

Step 9: Done

Now you're done, you have perfectly sized shoe inserts! Save the template just in case the inserts wear out or you want to replace them again. Mark the shoe brand and model number somewhere.



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