I have searched and found a few threads on orthotic or custom insoles, but mostly back from 2018/19, with one more recent topic that did not get into much detail.
I have a background of knee issues and have had a number of arthroscopic knee surgeries. Some of this goes back to skiing for me, but cycling has also led to issues. I have had a number of bike fits with experts in the field over the years including a couple with Andy Pruitt back in the day. More recent fits have leveraged various tools/systems and techniques from practitioners with a specialty in orthopedics. Some of these have been useful, but occasional knee pain was never truly eliminated. Through my own research I became interested in Steve Hogg’s writing on proprioception as it relates to arch support:
Steve Hogg - Foot Correction Part 1
And also this video from Francis Cade:
The best Insoles for your Cycling Shoes - Do you need Arch Support?
I tried some of the lesser insoles (cheaper) and ultimately purchased G8 Performance Insoles which I set up per Steve Hogg’s recommendations. On the number 4 arch from the kit, I found my knee pain completely vanished and my knee stability improved dramatically (I have a fairly high instep, and arch). This was a year ago, and just recently the pain has returned, just intermittently. On a whim today I swapped out the number 4 arches for the number 5 (highest), and I did not feel any pain and felt greater stability in my knee. This leads me to believe that the number 4 arches have fatigued and started to collapse. Due to the design of the G8 this seems like an inherent issue.
I am now considering using the G8 as a template guide to have an entirely custom insole fabricated. I am not at all sure where to get that done, but will be researching that next.
The point of this long post is to both raise awareness of the potential value of custom insoles for those that have not considered this in relation to knee stability and pain, and to ask what truly custom insole solutions are people using currently?
I’ve long had issues with how my feet felt while riding. I was constantly fiddling with my cleats and position, but just never felt stable through my feet and up into my knees. I experimented with wedges and bought G8s and the G8s were good, but things never felt 100% right. So I eventually went to see a podiatrist who specializes in cyclists and he made me custom orthotics that have completely sorted out my problems. He also got me into shoes that fitted perfectly, my previous shoes were a bit too narrow.
I will probably just get more custom orthotics when/if these wear out but now that I know how things can and should feel I could maybe get my G8s to feel pretty close, however I prefer the rigidity of the arch support in these insoles over the intentional flexibility of the support in the G8s.
I also feel like I got a lot of value out of talking to an expert, when I was fumbling around on my own I didn’t have a good concept of what things should be like.
Totally agree. I am a pronator and one of my arches is a bit flatter than the other. I also have a knee with significant osteoarthritis and loss of most of my medial meniscus.
I had custom arch supports created by a sports oriented podiatrist and also had supports created by a company called Surefoot. (They market to skiers and golfers and they originally made some insoles for my alpine ski boots). I have used these in my cycling shoes as well.
I find them both to be equally effective for me and would never think of riding without them. No knee pain when cycling, but don’t ask me to run!
FWIW, I have custom insoles due to falling arches when I run (well, used to run). My orthopedist had a digital map that I walked across which mapped my foot in real-time. A program then calculated the design for custom insoles. There were several variations to choose from including “running.” I have them in all of my shoes including my cycling cleats. So, TLDR, call local orthopedists.
I have been using custom orthotics from Upstep.com for the last several years. They offer different materials depending upon your use. I have a set for my cycling shoes and another for everyday wear.