Line your shoe with cushioned neoprene to add comfort and extend the life of your shoes. I show boots in the photos, but I also use these in tennis shoes, closed toed sandals, and dress shoes.
Each liner consists of a lining wall and a lining floor. The wall is made of fabric-lined neoprene. The floor is made of vinyl. The two pieces are machine sewed together. The final product is slipped under the heel of your shoe's insole, with the cushioned neoprene reaching up to line the inside of the shoe.
This was created to relieve pressure from bone spurs on the backs of my heels. It works great, and as a bonus it preserves the shoe's built-in lining. I tend to wear out the inside of my shoes before the outside, so this liner has made my shoes last longer.
This is not intended to address bone spurs on the bottom of your feet.
Take note: This is only a comfort aid. If you're concerned about your condition, you should seek professional medical advice.
Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Marker or pen
- Sewing machine
- Vinyl fabric*
- Fabric lined neoprene**
*Any halfway sturdy non-stretch no-hem fabric can be substituted for vinyl. Avoid anything too slippery, because the liner may not stay in place that way. This is easily found at local fabric stores. I used vinyl with a thin fabric backing.
**Fabric lined neoprene is available online (for example, http://www.atlasortho.com/XStatic-and-Neoprene_p_336.html). I use a 2mm thickness sheet lined with X-Static fabric that I got for free from my orthotist (it doesn't hurt to ask!). The X-Static includes silver, which eliminates odor.
Step 2: Measure and Cut Out Liner Floor
Before cutting to these dimensions, consider the width of your own heel, and adjust the width as needed for your best fit.
Measure and cut liner floor:
3 1/8" wide x 3 3/8" long
Step 3: Measure and Cut Out Liner Wall
Orientation can matter. The fabric on the neoprene that I have is smooth in one direction but not so much across the other way. We're trying to comfort a bone spur, so less friction is one of the goals. Rub the fabric to figure out which direction is the smoothest, and cut out your liner wall so that your heel slips in and out of your shoe in the smooth direction.
Measure and cut neoprene:
3 1/2" by 7 1/2"
If you reduced the size of the liner floor, you can reduce the length (7 1/2") now or trim it off after sewing the pieces together.
It's difficult to see dark marks on dark neoprene, so I suggest to measure one dimension and make a small snip, them repeat for the other dimension. This will give a nice visual guide as to where to cut.
Step 4: Prepare to Sew
Place the liner wall on the table with "inside" side up.
Center the liner floor on top of the liner wall with the curved side toward you. The "inside" side should be down. See Photo 1.
Roll the liner floor to the left across the bottom edge until the flat edges line up. See Photo 2.
Pin in place if you prefer.
Step 5: Sew It
Set stitching to long and straight.
Place the pieces under the foot, neoprene side down, using about 1/8 - 3/16" seam allowance.
Like usual, take a few stitches, back stitch a few, and continue on. I had to lift the foot a little between some of the first stitches to get the neoprene to move, so look out for that as you begin.
When you get to the curve, keep the neoprene straight and pull the vinyl into place.
Follow the edge around the curve and to the end of the other straight section. Back stitch again at the end.
Remove the assembled pieces and trim the threads.
Step 6: Trim Insole
Now that you'll be adding a layer of extra lining inside your shoe, the insole will need to be trimmed.
Lift up the heel end of the insole without pulling the insole out of the shoe. Insert the new liner and press the insole back into place. It's probably tight, and the edges are probably wrinkled up against one another.
Remove the insole and trim the edges around the heel where it wrinkled up. Trim just enough so that it won't wrinkle.
Re-insert the insole and check again for wrinkles. Re-trim as needed.
These photos show an insole that has been trimmed already.
Step 7: Check Fit
Put the liner back into your shoe and try it on.
Make adjustments as needed:
If the edges of the neoprene are sticking too far outside of your shoe:
Trim it to fit, or see if it fits another shoe better.
If the edge of the neoprene is rubbing your foot or ankle:
Trim it to a more comfortable spot.
If the liner floor is wrinkled or folded under the heel:
Rip out the stitching, trim the floor narrower, and sew it back together.
I hope your new shoe liner brings you comfort and longer life to your shoes!