Step 1: Sole Survival

Fall Line

If you've already got a custom footbed (and you should), the first thing to do, of course, is replace the factory insole. That's the beauty of a custom footbed: It's a one-time investment that can be transferred through two or more pairs of boots. Next, determine whether your new boot has adjustable arch-height. Some boots have assemblies that raise or lower the arch with the turn of a screw; others have removable inserts. Experiment to find what feels best. "You want nice, even arch-support," Gleason says. Some boots also come with heel-lift wedges, or shims. "If you have extra space over the top of the foot or a problem getting forward, changing the height of the heel helps." Women especially can benefit from added lift. The shim usually snaps into place beneath the insole.