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Author Topic: Padded soles  (Read 666 times)

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Offline Leif

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Padded soles
« on: March 05, 2017, 02:30:05 PM »
Several skaters were complaining about the hard hockey skate insoles. I stated that a spongey insole would ruin ones skating, but they disagreed. Does anyone have experience or knowledge in this area? Could a layer of neoprene, or firm foam, maybe at least 4mm thick, be cut to shape and shoved in skates without ruining ones balance and control?

Offline riley876

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2017, 02:36:28 PM »
Cork is nice underfoot.   Just slightly springy,  but not enough to affect balance.

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2017, 03:44:51 PM »
Several skaters were complaining about the hard hockey skate insoles. I stated that a spongey insole would ruin ones skating, but they disagreed. Does anyone have experience or knowledge in this area? Could a layer of neoprene, or firm foam, maybe at least 4mm thick, be cut to shape and shoved in skates without ruining ones balance and control?

Just to clarify:  Are the skaters you are referring to hockey skaters or figure skaters?  I have no experience with hockey skates.  For figure skates, I have replaced the insoles with a DIY orthotic based on a relatively soft Poron insole.   I see that the new line of insoles that Jackson uses for their advanced models is also based on Poron, an open-cell foam available in a wide range of stiffness.  Great stuff.  Price of Poron sheet has skyrocketed over the past year or so for some reason, however.  Jackson previously used a different material, but also a relatively soft foam.

If you have no need of an orthotic, a flat sheet of Poron would provide cushioning without disrupting your foot dynamics, as it is very compliant in the lower range of stiffness.  If you have a hard insole that provides support, you can place a layer of Poron over it for cushioning without altering the geometry of the underlying insole.  The Poron squishes down conformally.

Offline Leif

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2017, 02:34:47 AM »
Thanks for the replies. The skaters mentioned do wear hockey skates, as do I but I don't play hockey, so it is a general question about skates, and the impact on control. I will try to find some thin cushioning.

Offline rd350

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2017, 10:56:16 PM »
Even a pair of Dr. Scholls with the little holes in them will provide cushioning with a thin profile.
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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2017, 08:45:23 AM »
Even a pair of Dr. Scholls with the little holes in them will provide cushioning with a thin profile.

I've used these 2 or 3 times in the past.  Since they're cheap, they're a good first choice to play around with to find out whether thin cushioning works for you.  But my experience is they're not durable for skating; the foam crumbles.  Then you want to upgrade to a more durable material, so you don't have to replace them frequently.

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2017, 04:46:01 PM »
I've used the thin foam insoles under my superfeet as a way to superfit my boots. I cut and layer the foam insoles to do a lot of fitting techniques. In some places I had as many as 4 layers of insoles.

http://icedoesntcare.blogspot.com/2014/09/when-superfitting-boots-isnt-long-term.html
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Offline Query

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2017, 05:04:38 PM »
I love close cell carpet foam, cut to the shape I want.

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2017, 06:20:44 PM »
I love close cell carpet foam, cut to the shape I want.

I can see that working. Also, cutting up a cheap yoga mat can make custom insoles. I like the cheap thin ones, because I can get them for a dollar a pair. I like to layer, even with small sections (like under a toe), and I don't care if they don't last forever.
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Offline Query

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 03:29:17 PM »
By a Yoga mat, I assume she means the roll-up close cell foam ones.

Much like the old-style roll-up flat camping mattresses pads, like

  https://www.campmor.com/c/coleman-rest-easy-camp-pad

made of "Closed cell polyethylene foam", or other closed cell foam, which almost all backpackers used to use, but which have been largely replaced by less bulky (when packed) but heavier and more expensive alternatives. Though 3/8" is thicker than you need - you'd have to cut it down - as I do with carpet foam. The way I see it, you want to cut it (on the bottom) to match the shape of your foot anyway.

The carpet foam padding I looked at is much the same thing, but cheaper. However, I just checked, and there are several different types of carpet padding - some might not be good for your purpose. I only looked at the most expensive stuff, with high "rebound".

Any of these foams would make great sew-in knee and elbow pads too...

If your feet get cold while skating, these closed cell foams are much warmer (maybe 3-10 times higher R-value) than the insoles most boot makers provide. If your feet get hot and sweaty, an open cell foam might work better for you.

Some of the really cheap Yoga mats, like

  https://www.amazon.com/Kabalo-PURPLE-Non-Slip-Exercise-Camping/dp/B00VPMSB80/ref=sr_1_26?s=exercise-and-fitness&ie=UTF8&qid=1489088727&sr=1-26&keywords=yoga+mat

  https://www.fivebelow.com/sports/yoga-mats-and-fitness-balls/solid-blue-yoga-mat.html

are probably thinner. They might be good enough, especially if you are willing to glue layers together. However, some of them are of a higher density foam, that won't be as warm, and probably won't cushion you as much. But it's your choice. You can certainly experiment.

Because I'm not much of a jumper, and not a great skater in general, I don't know whether you can have too much padding for good control.

A rep for one boot maker rep (from Avanta?) told me that a closed cell foam insole would be considered an energy storage device, i.e., a mechanical aid, and would therefore be against skating organization rules for tests and competitions - but I haven't been able to find any rules that forbid mechanical aids. AFAICT (I'm not an expert!), you could embed springs in your skates :stars: to jump higher, though control might be a problem.

I have a web page (see my signature) on modifying boots, including a discussion of making your own insoles - but the focus is on improving fit, not padding.

Offline rd350

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2017, 12:28:52 AM »
I've used these 2 or 3 times in the past.  Since they're cheap, they're a good first choice to play around with to find out whether thin cushioning works for you.  But my experience is they're not durable for skating; the foam crumbles.  Then you want to upgrade to a more durable material, so you don't have to replace them frequently.

What do you upgrade to?  I can't find anything that is the same thinness.
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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2017, 05:31:58 PM »
What do you upgrade to?  I can't find anything that is the same thinness.

I cut out my own from Poron sheet lined both sides with moleskin.  I've used 1/8" thick "soft" Poron; you can get 1/16" thick, if you want even thinner.  One layer of moleskin is ~1/32" thick.  So, 1/8" Poron clad with moleskin on both sides is ~3/16" thick uncompressed, and less than 1/8" thick when stepped on.

Poron is highly resistant to sweat and skin oil; and has long fatigue life with respect to compression/decompression cycles.  It comes in a wide range of thicknesses and firmnesses.  With the configuration I've described, it squishes down to conform to the underlying insole and the bottom of your foot, with very little spring resistance, but returns to its original flat sheet when you're done skating.

Poron is standardly supplied with a protective skin on both sides that keeps the foam from shedding (unabraded = with skin; abraded = without skin; get the unabraded).  If you place the Poron over a smooth surface, and leave it in place, you won't need moleskin on the bottom.  If the underlying surface is rough, you need a bottom moleskin even if you leave the Poron in place to keep the bottom skin from getting scuffed up while you're skating.  You also won't need moleskin on the top as long as you don't skate barefoot (your toenails could dig in and damage the Poron skin).  But if you like to remove your insole after each use, you can scan scratch the skin if the underlying surface of the boot or other insole is rough, or if you dig your fingernails into the skin while taking the Poron in and out.   

On a previous pair of boots, when I was using the el-cheapo Dr Scholl's insoles over the insoles that came with the boot, I would change out the Dr Scholl's after ~3 mos.  With the Poron clad with moleskin on both sides, I went for over 1-1/2 yr.  And it was still going good, but I then changed boots.   

For the new boots, I made a DIY orthotic from a thicker Poron insole and structural components (of various materials).  In this instance, it's even more important to use materials that last.  A lot of fine tuning and break in is needed.

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2017, 07:21:26 PM »
Ah, hmm, I actually have the poron insoles the fitter initially had in there at one time but they didn't work for some reason.  I'll play with them again.  Thanks.
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Offline Query

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2017, 10:06:55 PM »
Some of us without an engineering or material science background don't understand why Poron is great.

What makes Poron (which, AFAICT, is an open cell foam) better than a closed cell foam like those used in foam camping mattress pads, or than high grade closed cell carpet pad foam?

I would think an open cell foam, like a sponge, would compress fairly easily, and provide less padding...

The data sheet at http://www.stockwell.com/poron-foam-cellular-urethane.php says that it has "compression set", which seems to mean that it doesn't return to original shape. Though http://modularinsoles.co.uk/insoles/poron implies it is breathable, which closed cell foams are not.

Or is the idea that "compression set" means you don't have to cut it to shape?

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2017, 01:14:25 PM »
Some of us without an engineering or material science background don't understand why Poron is great. What makes Poron (which, AFAICT, is an open cell foam) better than a closed cell foam like those used in foam camping mattress pads, or than high grade closed cell carpet pad foam?
I would think an open cell foam, like a sponge, would compress fairly easily, and provide less padding...

Pluses and minuses of open-cell vs closed-cell foams are briefly discussed here:

http://blog.poroncushioning.com/open-cell-vs-closed-cell-foam-tips-for-choosing-the-best-material-for-your-product-design/

Both open-cell and closed-cell foam (even when fabricated from the same material) are available in a wide range of firmness.  For the application posed by the OP, you want a soft, compliant foam.


Or is the idea that "compression set" means you don't have to cut it to shape?

For sheet foam, compression set characterizes a property of the material along the thickness of the sheet foam; i.e., orthogonal to the major surfaces of the sheet.  It has no bearing on how you would cut a shape on the major surfaces of the sheet.  A brief discussion of compression set is given on a different page of the website you cited:

http://www.stockwell.com/compression-set-testing.php

Whether or not compression set is a useful figure of merit for a particular application is discussed here:

http://www.agendapr.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Sealing-Technology-Compression-Set-article.pdf


The data sheet at http://www.stockwell.com/poron-foam-cellular-urethane.php says that it has "compression set", which seems to mean that it doesn't return to original shape.

You should re-read the page you cited; in particular, the graph labelled “Compression Set”.  All sheet foams will exhibit some compression set.  Compression set = 0% would mean that the sheet foam fully returns to its initial thickness after completion of the test.  A smaller value of compression set means less residual deformation of the sheet foam.  The graph compares the compression set of 6 materials.  Of these 6, silicone has the lowest compression set, and Poron comes in a close second (less than 2% at room temp).


------------------------------------


In choosing a material for a particular application, three primary factors are performance, service life, and cost.  It’s up to the designer how to weight these three factors.  If closed-cell carpet foam meets your needs, there’s no compelling reason to switch.  Similarly, if el-cheapo insoles from a dollar store meet a particular skater’s needs, there’s no compelling reason to switch.  For me, my target service life is 2 yrs min under my skating conditions.  I make no representation that Poron is the best choice, or that I have done a comprehensive study of foams.  I have direct experience with Dr. Scholl’s Air Pillows, the insoles as supplied with the boot by Riedell and Jackson [for Jackson, the previous generation of Matrix Footbed, not the latest Poron ones], and DIY insoles cut from packing foam, upholstery foam, and Poron (I have no direct experience with carpet foam).  Of these, Poron has best met my needs.  If Poron prices continue to skyrocket, I may need to investigate alternatives once I've used up my supply.

Note that advanced orthotics (both custom and over the counter) often use a mix of foams, both closed cell and open cell, and non-foam materials with different properties:  both as laminated layers over the entire orthotic and as structural components in different localized regions of the orthotic. There is no one best foam for all applications. 





Offline Query

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Re: Padded soles
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2017, 12:10:43 AM »
Thanks for the info on foams.

Two years is a very long service life, compared to what I have been using. I often replace mine after 3-6 months. They eventually compress and lose resiliency. Perhaps Poron is better that way. Sounds great.

OTOH, I've gotten to the point where I can cut a new insole for myself in 2 - 3 minutes using a scissors - because I already know what I need the insole to do, and exactly where I where I need to fill space. So it doesn't bother me much to remake them, and I don't need to heat mold the foam to shape.

I recently tried to fix the fit and feel of new sneakers, using dollar store insoles. Getting serious about exercise broke down my old $12-$13 Payless Shoe Source sneakers very quickly, and made it obvious to me I needed sneakers with better lateral support, and more back-of-shoe resiliency than what I had. Surprisingly, all the really expensive name-brand sneakers were quite uncomfortable for me, so I skipped them. I found something more supportive in the $22 [I think] range that came close to what I wanted. So I took that small step up in shoe price, and have been playing with insoles to get them exactly right. I'm still not completely happy with the results, and may need to switch to a different foam.

I may experiment to see to what extent I can vary the properties of carpet foam (or maybe I will switch to the foams in camping mattress pads, which are a bit stiffer - though it is more expensive, and I'm not sure how to buy small cheap samples) using a wire brush. Of course, since I don't have the asymmetric and uneven foot collapse problem under weight, nor do my feet hurt when they collapse, I can't easily test whether it solves such problems for other people, only whether it can make a boot or shoe feel the way I want.

Eventually, I may apply this to my skate boots and see if I can improve the fit and feel of them too.

It's fun to play with these things!

I notice that Poron is being used in some helmets...