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Author Topic: I don't like carpet padding foam insoles anymore - where get other foam?  (Read 962 times)

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Offline Query

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I've mentioned that I have used insoles that I cut out of carpet padding foam, to replace original insoles, to create a desired fit and padding.

Mine recently tore, after less than 2 months. (In my tennis shoes, not my boots, but the theory should be the same.)

I suppose carpet padding foam isn't meant to take a lot of friction - it is meant to be under a carpet, which takes most of the wear.

I need to explore other options for high quality easily customizable foam materials.

I'm thinking of another closed-cell foam, along the lines of what is used in lightweight camp pads:

  https://www.campmor.com/c/pack-lite-closed-cell-foam-pad-41312
or
  https://www.campmor.com/c/coleman-rest-easy-camp-pad (but various sources say polyethylene foams mold under pressure - i.e., they wouldn't last long either)

However, $12 or $13 + $7 shipping seems rather high - and I don't need that large a piece.

Does anyone know where to buy a square foot or two of something like moderately firm urethane foam, flexible, about 1/8" - 1/4" thick, skin-safe and fairly cheap?


Offline Query

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Of course, if money was no object, based on

  http://www.lbgmedical.com/blog/a-few-facts-about-shock-absorbing-materials-for-orthoses/

I should want a bi-layer orthotic:

1 layer of Plastazote, to mold to the foot.
1 layer of PPT or other fairly firm urethane foam, to cushion the foot.

Various other sources suggest the top layer should be urethane, though I don't understand why. Maybe it takes wear better?

And maybe the top layer should be medical grade, to be skin-safe.

But that combo seems very expensive, when I look for it on-line.

Offline Bill_S

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I usually start by looking at McMaster-Carr for materials, but their prices and shipping can be high.

Here's a place to start...

https://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-foam-sheets/=17ihv0t
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Offline Query

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For the moment I just bought the $7 Ozark Trails pad that Walmart sells.
 
  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trial-Camping-Pad-Blue/16783660

It is made of "cross-linked polyolefin" closed cell foam, which, according to This book (No I didn't read that whole incredibly technical book), is almost as good at resisting permanent deformation (compression set) as polyurethane foams.

And it is a lot cheaper than I have been able to find bulk foam sheet anywhere else. Probably because I am not buying hundreds of feet at a time. It is 72" * 20" * .5" - so I will have to cut it down, but it has enough material for me to make mistakes and experiment.

Incidentally, for those of you who camp and backpack too, this class of pad is much cheaper than the more expensive Therm-o-rest, etc. self-inflating air mattresses that camping stores like to sell people, e.g.

  https://www.rei.com/product/881574/therm-a-rest-neoair-xlite-sleeping-pad

It also sets up and takes down faster.

You would need about 2 layers of the simple foam pads to provide the same insulation as that - but foam pads are still cheaper - and substantially lighter if you cut them down to the size and shape of your body. (Cutting doesn't work well for inflatables. :) )

Simple foam pads are much more reliable than inflatable mattresses, especially on rough terrain.

They also make good Yoga mats.

OTOH, foam pads are also bulkier than air mattresses, and aren't as soft. I used them for camping, but some people hate them.


Offline AgnesNitt

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Why don't you just by a $5 yoga mat and try that?
Yes I'm in with the 90's. I have a skating blog. http://icedoesntcare.blogspot.com/

Offline Query

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Why don't you just by a $5 yoga mat and try that?

The $5 Yoga mats I've seen (at Five Below) are barely foams, and don't cushion or rebound much. Also, they are very thin, so I would have to glue several layers together. Easier to start thicker, and cut it down. The result would be heavier too.

OTOH, today, at least, my sneakers, with the new insoles cut from the cheap camping pad, had a little too much rebound while I exercised - my feet moved up and down a little in the shoe, which I think would be a bad thing in a figure skate. I will see if that stays true.

They molded a bit too my feet, so they do have some compression set. That could be good if it only reduces rebound a bit, but bad if it compresses to the point it doesn't cushion enough, or it no longer fills the space to create a good fit.

Perhaps an engineer like yourself would be able to calculate what various foams would do, though it is hard to guess the exact properties of the foam used in a commercial product like a camping pad. (The book I cited makes it clear designers can substantially change the properties of foam a lot, depending on the exact recipe they follow.) But I have to experiment. I suppose it might also depend on the user's body weight, jump height, and what sorts of move they use the shoes or skates for.

The good news is that it feels (for now) more durable than the carpet pad material.

Offline tothepointe

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I use to make shoes and I suggest searching for UltraCloud Eva foam. You'd get it from a shoe repair/cobbler supplier

http://www.soletech.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=59_61&product_id=56

Not sure where you are to recommend somewhere specific but you can often find it on eBay too.

Offline tothepointe

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Offline Query

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Interesting. Their catalog

  http://www.soletech.com/image/soletech_catalogs/soletech_orthopedic_catalog_2010.pdf

provides very little information about what they sell - but they do seem like a good source, though $25 is a lot for that sheet.

EVA, according to

  What is the Difference Between EVA and Polyurethane Midsoles?

a good read, is used in high end athletic shoes - mostly shoes that are thrown out after 3 - 6 few months, because it is relatively light, but but it has a fair bit of compression set i.e., it changes shape and looses its cushioning and bounce. Extreme ultralight is a lost cause in figure skates - maybe I'd rather go for polyurethane's durability.

My attempt (trial in athletic shoes, heavily used for fitness training) to use the cheap stuff (the Walmart/Ozark Trail camping mat) has so far been partially successful. It now just feels normal as insoles go - but it is no longer particularly bouncy. I think one wants something that is somewhat bouncy, for jumping. But it feels a lot more durable than the carpet padding, which wasn't bouncy at all. It's certainly a cheap way to get a lot of bulk foam, without having to buy hundreds of square yards. All these camping pads are is one big piece of foam, cut to a specific rectangular size (about 8 ounces of it; ultralight backpacking fanatics cut it down further, to the size and shape of their bodies to make it even lighter), so it isn't surprising it's cheap.

I contacted Therm-a-Rest about their blue foam camping pad, which was on clearance from REI. Their pad is mostly polyethylene ("This material is mostly polyethylene with a small component, less than 10 percent, EVA.  Probably between 4 and 9%."), which, according to various sources, has more compression set than the polyolefin" in the cheaper Walmart/Ozark Trail mat. But I was very pleased one of their tech guys,    
James Nakagami, was willing to have an extended discussion about it.

He knew it wasn't his field, so he recommended Superfeet, which are expensive and didn't work out so well for me - though, to be honest, that was before I realized you can completely reshape insoles to do what you want. I've been making insoles for myself for a long time, and have mostly been happier than with the commercial products.

I wonder how well cork works - how well it cushions, how bouncy it is, how durable it is... It's been used a lot in for high end ski boots. Partly because it heat molds to the shape of the foot fairly easily (in other words, when you heat it, it has a lot of compression set.), a lot of ski stores do that.


Offline tothepointe

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I used to use cork in the midsole of my shoes rather than the insole. It works quite well to add some spring. I started out using foam sheets then switched to using this cork mixture that had been mixed with contact cement.

 If I had any EVA left I would send it to you. You could also try craft foam from Joanns or Micheals

You used to be able to buy thinner and smaller pieces on eBay

My last suggestion is this lady has insole board with foam she's very sweet so might sell you enough for just a few pieces. If you wanted the texon board alone to mount your foam to I can send you that.

Offline Query

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Did you heat mold the cork, and did you do it yourself? If so, could you give any details?

Does the cork provide any cushioning, and any bounce?

Offline tothepointe

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The midsole of the shoe is actually underneath the shoe before you put the sole on. I would glue it on the shoes with contact cement or use the spreadable cork. I would then sand it into shape.

For insole liners I would use EVA foam from soletech.

Offline tstop4me

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The midsole of the shoe is actually underneath the shoe before you put the sole on. I would glue it on the shoes with contact cement or use the spreadable cork. I would then sand it into shape.

For insole liners I would use EVA foam from soletech.
Perhaps you know the correct terminology for the following parts:  the "removable insole" that you can pull out of the boot and the "fixed insole" that is built into the boot and that is not removable (i.e., the "removable insole" is inserted over the "fixed insole").   Are there standardized terms to distinguish these two insoles?

Offline Query

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I didn't know about spreadable cork... Interesting. Sort of like ground beef. And intrinsically moldable.

Offline tothepointe

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When making the patterns for shoes the part we call the insole is fixed. Initially nailed to the last then the upper is either glued or sewn to it. The removable part is called the liner or footbed.

Offline Leif

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In hockey land the removeable part is called the insole, just to confuse matters.

On a related issues, I have PowerFoots in my hockey skates, which I like as they fill the extra space above my toes. The problem is that they soak up sweat and get very wet. Not only does this mean smells, and discomfort, but the damp can cause the skate rivets to corrode. Does anyone know of a suitable material which does not absorb sweat, and which would be suitable as a space filler i.e. has to be toe friendly. Given the preceding conversation, I wonder if cork would do the job, although it might be too firm and cause sore toes.

Offline tstop4me

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When making the patterns for shoes the part we call the insole is fixed. Initially nailed to the last then the upper is either glued or sewn to it. The removable part is called the liner or footbed.
Thanks!  Good to hear from someone actually in the business.

Offline Query

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I have PowerFoots in my hockey skates, which I like as they fill the extra space above my toes. The problem is that they soak up sweat and get very wet...

Do you let the tips of your toes touch and push the front of your skate, somewhat like ballet dancers? If so, I wonder if that could give you hammer toes. But that is a separate issue.

If I wanted to do get rid of space over the toes, without pushing them up from below (I don't), I would be tempted to instead sew some extra cloth onto the top of my socks, which would be washed every time I washed my socks. Make sure the cloth can take drier heat. Since nobody would see it, you don't need an expert sewing job; or fancy equipment. You could buy a dollar store sewing kit, and give it a try.

Good luck. Like said before elsewhere, I think a hockey discussion board might possibly be a better place to find hockey equipment experts.

Offline Query

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When making the patterns for shoes the part we call the insole is fixed. Initially nailed to the last then the upper is either glued or sewn to it. The removable part is called the liner or footbed.

Oddly enough, when I've looked, different sources seem to use different names. In addition, there seem to be a lot of different types of shoe, with different layers.


E.g., look at http://www.thehcc.org/thornton.pdf page 29 - 32, a 1953 textbook on shoemaking. That might be out of date - but it looks like different types of shoe are made differently, and that the layer names vary accordingly. Alas, that particular text doesn't mention skates.


An older textbook

  http://www.thehcc.org/Golding_I.pdf

doesn't mention "footbeds" - at least not in the volumes that TheHCC "library" has put on the web. It mentions skating boots, but not with a lot of detail.


Many shoes are said many places on the Internet, e.g.,

  https://insole.askdefine.com/

to have an outer "outsole", an inner "insole", and a "midsole" between, which matches some of Thorton's diagrams. It implies that the midsole may only be present for cushioning in the heel, where shoes and feet take the strongest impacts when walking and running. But freestyle skate boots take impacts at the toe as well.


Meriam-webster's dictionary

  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/footbed

says a footbed is a "an insole usually cushioned and contoured so as to provide orthopedic support" - i.e., a footbed is a type of insole.


The U.S. Patent office, which in the U.S. has some degree of legal authority,

  https://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/classification/cpc/html/defA43B.html

defines a "footbed" to be a type of "insole".


Graf's diagram

  http://www.grafskates.ch/en/inside-graf/grafskates-technologie/anatomy-of-the-graf-skate/

shows a midsole, footbed and insole in their hockey skating boot on the first page, but in different places, so is hard to interpret - I think they are implying what they call the "footbed" lays on top.


CCM

  https://www.hockey1.com/productdetail.asp?pid=11755&cat=CLEARANCE&scat=ICE%20HOCKEY%20SKATES-SENIOR&manufac=&size=&sort=&llow=1&high=14

says the insole is a footbed.


Oneway

  https://onewaysport.com/products/tigara-skate-boots

doesn't mention "footbed".


I'm not sure what to conclude, other than not everyone uses the same construction or definition of terms.

Offline FigureSpins

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Riedell and Jackson both call the removable insole a "footbed." 
"If you still look good after skating practice, you didn't work hard enough."

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Offline tstop4me

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Terminology in general is not consistent.  There are, for example, "popular terminology", "terminology used by workers in the field",  "official terminology promulgated by standards bodies" ... and, of course, "marketing terminology" (anything the ad dept wants to cook up).  Even the terminology used by workers in the field is often at odds with the official terminology that their standards bodies say they should use (old habits die hard).  At least we have input from a worker in the field.

There are ANSI and ISO standards for footwear terminology, but I didn't find any free copies on the net.  I don't know whether there are industry societies for shoe and boot manufacturers (probably, there's practically a society for everything).

ETA:

The U.S. Patent office, which in the U.S. has some degree of legal authority,

 https://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/classification/cpc/html/defA43B.html

defines a "footbed" to be a type of "insole".

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), which you cited, is used by the USPTO for patent administration and prosecution.  It is not dispositive in legal proceedings.  Even patent examiners and administrative judges within the USPTO do not cite the CPC as an authoritative source of definitions.  The CPC is essentially an indexing scheme.

Offline Query

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I'm really not overly concerned with terminology, though the way I used "footbed" - for the surface (the "midsole"??) that the removable insole in figure skates lies on top of  - was probably uncommon. (However, Birkenstock uses "footbed" for a layer under the "liner" too - though I think their "liner" is not removable.)

(: I'll probably use some of the rest of that $6 polyolefin foam camping pad to re-outfit a whitewater kayak, by gluing in foam to create a snug fit for feet and knees. :)

But, back to the original topic, though I'm making do with insoles made from that camping pad, I still haven't found cheap skin-safe urethane or polyurethane foam, which should be more durable.

(I think medical supply houses take too much advantage of the fact that most professional medical people don't waste much of their valuable time looking for cheap alternatives.)

I may try contacting a chemical company about similar materials, like Dow Infuse footbed foams (though those are polyolifin too)

  http://msdssearch.dow.com/PublishedLiteratureDOWCOM/dh_0956/0901b80380956d9a.pdf?filepath=elastomers/pdfs/noreg/788-10901.pdf&fromPage=GetDoc

but don't expect to get a response, since I'm not a manufacturer.

Offline tothepointe

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Thanks!  Good to hear from someone actually in the business.

I'm just an amateur shoemaker. I'm actually in the bra business ;D

Offline tothepointe

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I'm really not overly concerned with terminology, though the way I used "footbed" - for the surface (the "midsole"??) that the removable insole in figure skates lies on top of  - was probably uncommon. (However, Birkenstock uses "footbed" for a layer under the "liner" too - though I think their "liner" is not removable.)

(: I'll probably use some of the rest of that $6 polyolefin foam camping pad to re-outfit a whitewater kayak, by gluing in foam to create a snug fit for feet and knees. :)

But, back to the original topic, though I'm making do with insoles made from that camping pad, I still haven't found cheap skin-safe urethane or polyurethane foam, which should be more durable.

(I think medical supply houses take too much advantage of the fact that most professional medical people don't waste much of their valuable time looking for cheap alternatives.)

I may try contacting a chemical company about similar materials, like Dow Infuse footbed foams (though those are polyolifin too)

  http://msdssearch.dow.com/PublishedLiteratureDOWCOM/dh_0956/0901b80380956d9a.pdf?filepath=elastomers/pdfs/noreg/788-10901.pdf&fromPage=GetDoc

but don't expect to get a response, since I'm not a manufacturer.

The foam doesn't need to be skin safe if you glue a liner on top of it.

Offline Query

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The foam doesn't need to be skin safe if you glue a liner on top of it.

Sounds right.

Problem is, AFICT, podiatrists typically commonly use polyurethane foam as the liner when making orthotics - because it is very durable. So that's what I wanted to imitate.