We are frequently asked this question, and it shows us that many people wear insoles in their ‘normal’ shoes.
We cannot provide a general answer to this question because there are different kinds of insoles and various reasons for wearing them. We explain below when an insole can be worn in the kyBoot and when we advise against it.
In general, we recommend wearing the kyBoot without insoles in most cases. The soft, elastic kyBoot sole conforms pleasantly to any foot shape; the foot is comfortably supported and can still move freely. Because insoles require a hard, stable foundation, they do not function optimally on the soft, elastic kyBoot sole.
The natural foot rollover on the soft, elastic kyBoot sole strengthens the foot muscles and stabilizes the entire foot. In the kyBoot, the foot learns to actively stabilize itself with its own musculature (insoles stabilize passively); with time, many kybun users no longer need insoles at all.
An insole serves a medical purpose. It is made by an orthopaedic shoemaker or orthopaedic technician individually for each different foot shape.
Insoles are usually made for the following foot malpositions: splayfoot, flatfoot, contracted foot and drop foot. Depending on foot shape, a particular insole is used to achieve the desired goal. Insoles vary widely in material, design and length. The use of insoles generally falls into the following categories:
- Sensomotoric insoles or proprioceptive therapy (active therapy approach). The tone regulation of the musculature used in sensomotoric/proprioceptive therapy is used to improve the individual static or axial malposition.
- Conservative therapy (for passive support), such as:
- Insole for flat valgus foot
- Splayfoot truss pads and bandaging (front-foot insole)
- Silicon wedge insole/heel pad with heel spur
- Thin insoles from shoe store (comfort)
- Neurological insoles: Compensate neurological deficits
Flat valgus foot
Flat valgus foot is normal in children. Toddlers only lose their flat valgus foot through growth, development and the training of the foot musculature that goes with it. Improper shoes, insufficient exercise for the feet (in an office, for instance) and frequent standing can lead to a deterioration or weakening of the foot musculature in later life. The natural arching of a healthy foot is reduced in order to continue to distribute body weight across the entire foot. The arch collapses, essentially, and soft tissue such as the tendons and muscles become overextended. More information can be found under ‘Foot malpositions’.
Splayfoot is usually caused by wearing unsuitable shoes, especially heeled shoes. Wearing high-heeled pumps increases front-foot load by a factor of five. Connective tissue weakness (especially among women, who have a genetic predisposition) is another reason for increased width of the front of the foot. The padding on the sole of the foot can decline with age so that load is placed on the second, third and fourth metatarsal heads. More information can be found under ‘Foot malpositions’ and ‘Metatarsalgia’.
In most cases, acquired flatfoot arises due to the insufficient functioning of muscles and ligaments. Possible causes include insufficient training (constant sitting and wearing of shoes), overtaxing of the feet due to excessive weight or standing for long periods, connective tissue weakness, heel bone fracture (‘post-traumatic flatfoot’) and diseases such as poliomyelitis, rickets and neurological and rheumatic disorders. More information can be found under ‘Foot malpositions’.
Contracted foot is generally congenital, hereditary. It can also be caused by paralysis, Friedrich’s ataxia and damage to foot muscle nerves. A weakness in the foot musculature and ligaments can also be a cause. Contracted foot can sometimes be a first sign of muscle weakness or muscle disease such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
This disorder has a range of possible causes and can be congenital or acquired. It can permanently shorten the Achilles tendon, making normal walking impossible. The sufferer is forced to walk ‘on tiptoes’. Sufferers are, for example:
- Invalids, particularly wearers of Thomas splints, who are generally children who have Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease.
- Drop foot can also be a part of a club foot deformity.
- The cause of so-called spastic drop foot is constantly increased tone (or cramping) of the calf musculature: The muscles responsible for, among other things, plantar flexion – musculus gastrocnemius and musculus soleus – fix the foot in the drop foot position. In this case, the deformity is caused by a neurological disorder associated with spasticity (such as infantile cerebral palsy). A further neurological cause may be flaccid paralysis of the extensor muscles of the lower leg (peroneal paralysis), which means that the foot cannot be raised during walking.
Heel spur arises from a lower leg and foot malformation, but also as a result of excessive weight, taking part in inappropriate types of sport and wearing unsuitable footwear. The excessive stretching of the plantar fascia leads to microtraumas at the insertional attachments of the aponeurosis or the Achilles tendon on the calcaneus. A chronic inflammation arises at that point and it is this inflammation that ultimately encourages the formation of the bony spur. More information can be found under ‘Heel spur’.
Passive insoles or sensomotoric insoles are prescribed for most foot malpositions. Without additional intensive training of the foot musculature, passive insoles only have a short-term effect against symptoms such as pain. In the long term, they weaken the feet, intensifying the foot malposition.
Which insole makes sense for the kyBoot?
- Insoles/braces (such as a peroneal brace) that are custom-built for neurological disorders. However, using additional insoles with the kyBoot usually entails the problem that the heel slides up in the back. This is why you should test various kyBoot models, but especially high-cut ones, with your insole/brace. If your insole does not fit inside the kyBoot or is uncomfortable, we recommend the kyBounder, on which you can stand barefoot, without insoles/braces.
- Splayfoot truss pads or stiff, thin insole (from a shoe store): These can be used in the beginning to provide some support for the front-foot transverse arch in the kyBoot until the foot musculature is strong enough and the foot/arch can stabilize itself.
- The passive and the sensomotoric insoles cannot achieve their purpose because the kyBoot has a soft, elastic sole. Insoles need a hard foundation.
- Even if we do not recommend insoles, there is nothing to prevent you from trying out all the different variants and choosing the one that feels best for you. Even if you put an insole in the kyBoot, you will still be training your foot musculature and thereby be actively doing something to counteract the foot weakness and the resulting foot malposition.
Recommendation from the kybun adviser:
If you experience initial reactions when you first start wearing the kyBoot, we recommend alternating between wearing the kyBoot without insoles and standard shoes with your usual insoles. You should be continuously extending the periods of time you wear the kyBoot as long as your body does not protest.
After six months at the latest, eight out of ten customers no longer need insoles in their kyBoot or their standard shoes.
The kybun principle of operation – being proactive
We recommend both the kyBounder and the kyBoot for users with clubfoot, splayfoot or any other acquired foot malpositions (those that result from weak foot musculature). Even if you wear insoles in your original shoes, switching to the kyBoot without insoles usually doesn’t present any problems.
Standing directly on a soft, elastic surface trains the core foot musculature and improves foot mobility. This core stabilizing foot musculature is often severely weakened in case of foot problems. As a result, the foot is no longer stabilized properly. This can lead to pain and even more severe malpositions over time.
With the kyBoot or kyBounder, the foot can again move freely in all directions, much like walking barefoot on a soft surface. The intensive training restores stability to users with splayfoot, clubfoot or flat foot. It has been proven that insufficient or low arches can be stabilized through muscle training, thereby alleviating complaints. Active foot muscle training is the only way to strengthen the feet, prevent foot malpositions and relieve the joints higher up (such as the knee) in the long term.
The more often the foot musculature is trained, the faster the foot position improves and symptoms such as pain are reduced. In the kyBoot/on the kyBounder, you can integrate the training into your everyday life without spending extra time and thereby challenge your foot musculature continuously over the course of the day.
Specific initial reactions following years of wearing insoles and an acquired foot malposition:
In the beginning, users with club foot or flatfoot may find that their feet tip slightly to the inside or that club feet cannot be held upright in the kyBoot/on the kyBounder. This can lead to foot pain or, often, to knee pain. Please read the ‘Application tips’ and ‘Exercises’, which will help you to avoid these initial reactions.
Users with splayfoot may experience pain in the front of the foot in the beginning when they are still unaccustomed to the kyBoot/kyBounder. This initial reaction will disappear as soon as your foot musculature has been strengthened in this area. Please read the ‘Application tips’ and ‘Exercises’ to avoid such foot pain.
Those suffering foot weakness that is neurological in nature (such as those with peroneal braces) may find the kyBoot to be too unstable at first or generally, and that the foot malposition or even the danger of falling is exacerbated. Take your time when testing the various kyBoot models and the kyBounder in the various thicknesses (the greater the thickness, the lower the stability).
Click here for the general initial reactions experienced by kyBounder and kyBoot beginners
For active stabilization training of the foot, we advise wearing the kyBoot without orthopaedic insoles (see exceptions above). The foot musculature needs several months of regular training before it is strong enough to stabilize the foot for hours in the kyBoot. Until then, you can wear normal shoes with insoles for relief. After years of using insoles, wearing the kyBoot constantly in the beginning (the first few weeks/months) may be too much for the feet.
Insoles provide passive support for the feet but do not improve the foot situation over the long term in any way. We recommend against constantly wearing orthopaedic insoles. It is best to listen to your body, since it tells you what is good for it and when it needs a break.
Pay attention to putting an even load on the sole in the kyBoot and ensure that the foot stands upright on the sole. This gives you a favorable leg axis and also prevents the feet and knees from ‘rolling in’ as much.
Avoid making your steps too long; this makes it easier to maintain a good foot position in the kyBoot. This reduces rolling to the inside.
Some people feel too unstable in the kyBoot. In this case, we advise you to try various kyBoot models; some models with a higher cut provide more stability. We also recommend that these customers try the second generation sole. It is a bit wider in the midfoot area, therefore making you feel more stable while walking (ask for advice in a kybun specialised shop).
If you still feel too unsafe walking in the kyBoot, we advise using the kyBounder. The kyBounder is available in three different thicknesses. This allows you to choose the thickness that is most comfortable for you (the thicker, the more unstable, the more intensive the training).
You can also hold on to a fixed object if you need additional support when using the kyBounder.
With splayfoot, it is important to train the core foot musculature and promote foot mobility.
If you experience pain in the kyBoot in the beginning, we recommend that you insert a small cushion or a fairly stiff insole (available at a chemist’s) under the arch. This supports the transverse arch and prevents hyperextension (pain). As soon as the foot musculature becomes stronger (through training in the kyBoot/kyBounder, among other things), the transverse arch will be actively stabilized and you will be able to remove the cushion or stiff insole.
I’ve been a good dancer in Denmark for many years. I did not know that dancing would break my bones. I’ve had surgery but couldn’t walk very well. I bought a pair of shoes from kyBoot shop in Denmark and thought that these would help to solve my problem. Within two months I began to walk better again. I lost about 8 kg of my weight over 7-8 months. During that time, I bought six pairs of sandals and shoes from kyBoot. These shoes have changed my life and I’m also able to walk faster. I am free of insoles, which I used for many years. I am very happy with my new life.
Lene Rasmussen from Denmark
I bought my first pair of kyBoot shoes last autumn, as I was still struggling with the consequences of the accident I had in the summer of 2013. The torn muscle fibres in my right calf were very persistent. I underwent six months of physiotherapy and had an ultrasound (showing a 15 cm haematoma between fibres), X-rays and an MRI. After that, I had another round of physio with shockwave therapy. I also received acupuncture treatments and intense massages. Things seemed to be getting better in the short term, but the breakthrough result appeared to be just out of reach. I had severe pain in my right foot every time I stood up, and this mystified my doctors. Why am I experiencing pain in my foot when it was my calf muscles that were damaged? I decided to try out kyBoot shoes in October 2014. The staff members in the shop were friendly and provided very good advice, and I left with a pair of shoes. I’ve been wearing the shoes all day since then, when I’m on the go as well as at the office. I’ve even gone on a few gentle hiking wearing them. Despite the pain and against the advice of my GP, I have continued to take part in my favorite sport – partner dance (mostly disco swing and jive or in other words, the types of dance that involve a lot of movement). Alongside that I’ve been doing weekly strength training and stretching exercises, among other things. My GP organized an appointment for me in the Etzel clinic in the autumn and called in a sports doctor especially to handle my case. I got an appointment for 22 January 2015. However, my pain was gradually decreasing, and when it came to the time of the appointment, I had no pain at all. My GP still advised me to go to the appointment. The doctors at the clinic were amazed. They took X-rays and asked a lot of questions. How is it possible? They could no longer see any symptoms. The two specialists could only agree on the fact that the X-rays no longer showed any abnormalities. One of them thought that a minor insole could counteract the mild inward bend of my foot (why?). The sports medicine specialist believed I had done everything correctly. STAY MOBILE! He praised the work I had put in and my choice of physiotherapy methods (shockwave therapy and acupuncture). He emphasized how he believed that the constant mobilization relieved the pain in my foot. This is all thanks to my kyBoot shoes. He advised me to continue doing what I have been doing – wearing kyBoot shows, taking part in sport, and dancing. He was firmly against the insoles! The pain was the result of the relieving posture I had been using from the time of my accident, which I continued to use for a long time after the accident. Continuously freely moving my foot allowed me to get out from the pattern I was stuck in almost unnoticed. Well, all I can say is: Thank you so much.
F. T. from Jona, Switzerland
I've had a pair of kyBoot shoes for two years now. They saved my life, as the balls of my feet used to be really sore. We used to have to walk long distances on stony ground, and nothing helped at all. I bought some insoles for 400 CHF, but they didn't do a thing. But these shoes saved me.
Agathe Willi, works in catering and service Agathe Willi, works in catering and service
For many years I had back pain that increased with time, I looked for remedies in different methods: orthopedic insoles, special shoes… And unfortunately they all provided partial relief that did not eliminate my pain. I came across kyBoot shoes and I decided to try them. To my surprise, as I started to get used to them and walk in them more and more, the shoes proved themselves and gave me relief, they did not eradicate the pain completely, but eased my pain and helped me walk around and stay well and therefore I intend to buy a second pair. I had recommended them to my wife, who bought them too and I recommend them to my friends and I think that the shoes have a wonderful future.
Roni Ben Yehuda, Property Manager, Hod Hasharon
I started using these shoes after I had orthopedic corrective insoles for over 10 years. There is a big difference in the therapeutic effect; the insoles decreased my pain, whereas in these shoes I have no pain. I wear them 12, 13, 14 hours each day and every day since I bought them. I haven’t stopped using them, even for a short while. And recently, to complete the rest of my day, for which formal black shoes are not right, I bought another pair.
Menashe Terem, CEO Start Up, Yavne
I had serious problems. I had to wear orthopaedic insoles all the time for the last years. I used to have regular problems with my hips. That's all gone now. I no longer wear insoles and the hip pain has almost entirely gone. Good shoes come at a price. With the insoles I always needed special, expensive shoes. I think these will last. That's one of the most important things. I can feel a huge difference. I feel a lot better and don't wear my insoles any more.
Rene Leuppi, state-certified insurance specialist
Working as a sports doctor for the Canadian bob team gave me the chance to test out the kyBoot in everyday use and during light sports activities. I was very impressed by the kyBoot concept. Walking is very pleasant, and above all it very much activates the body. You can feel that the sole is a very good shock absorber and moves in all directions, but it never feels unstable or unpleasant. I myself suffer from foot problems, as I have very high arches, with the ball of the foot often having to bear a very heavy load. The shoe suited my foot shape and needs from the very start, and I have been able to wear shoes without insoles for the first time in many years.
Dr Andreas Gösele-Koppenburg, head of the Swiss Olympic Medical Center, Medical Director of Crossklinik Basel
When the assistant was advising me I realised that for the first time I was wearing shoes that didn't pinch. So I decided to buy a pair. When I got talking to my orthopaedist, he was very sceptical and said that lots of people came back to him disappointed by kyBoot shoes, complaining of even greater pain. I took the warning seriously and asked myself what that might be all about. When you feel better, you tend to get quite fussy. I thought that was probably the mistake people were making. If you wear insoles for a long time, your foot muscles are weak. So I started wearing the kyBoot and the shoe with insoles alternately, and gradually built up the intensity. I could feel my whole body getting fitter. Today I spend one day a week out with the dogs and might walk up to five-and-a-half hours. That's already possible, even though I've only been wearing the kyBoot a short time. At the end of the day I can feel it in my feet, but the next day it's OK again.
Rafaela Hayden, had a deformed foot, Switzerland
I went to the orthopaedist and was told to wear insoles, but then I tried these shoes and it got much better.
Alida Palamara, landlady at Friulana Osteria and Pizzeria, Munich, Germany
My lower legs got more mobile. My little toe is not inflamed any more. I also felt a difference in my neck. At first it was very tense, until I realised that it had something to do with the shoes; they were massaging me. It feels totally different when you walk. It's much harder in the shoes with insoles. In the kyBoot you float as you walk. Your whole body is involved.
Rafaela Hayden, kyBoot changed her life, Switzerland
Because I had insoles, I used to buy normal shoes, so I never thought anything else would ever be possible. We tried out other products too, but it didn't work. These are the first shoes that are of any use to me.
Jürg Sieber, adviser at Nahrin, Widnau, Switzerland