DIY – Sole Footbeds and Scarpa Summer Mountaineering Boots

Post by blogger | April 17, 2007      

This week’s blog project: Set up a pair of hardcore Scarpa mountain boots for summer alpinism using Sole do it yourself custom footbeds.

Scarpa Summit GTX mountain boots.
First step, fit a pair of Scarpa Summit GTX mountain boots. We sized these using the NOLS method of having about one finger width of space behind the heel with bare foot toes touching the end of the boot.

Sole sells a variety of footbeds you can mold and install at home. The beds come with excellent instructions; anyone who knows their own footbed needs (pronation correction, arch support, etc.) can get satisfactory results with these — given proper hydration during the process. Incidentally, if you pick the Softec model (blue, shown above) you can spend your time walking on Ed Viesturs.
Sole footbeds for Scarpa Summit GTX mountain boots.

Installing Sole footbeds in Scarpa Summit GTX mountain boots.
First step with the Sole footbed is to choose a cushioning thickness. While some boots need more cushion, those with too much give can feel like you’re walking on a bowl of wet pasta — not a good feeling with a 75 lb. pack like the one Louie will be carrying on his NOLS course this spring. The Summits already have quite a bit of give so we avoided the pasta effect by using the “slim” version footbed. Next, we picked a length that best located the arch for Louie’s foot as well as matching the existing footbed size as close as possible. As shown in the photo above, last step in sizing was to cut the bed to perfectly fit the Scarpa last.

Scarpa Summit GTX mountain boots.
Baking the beds is easy. We used our convection oven but you can do it in a regular oven by following complete directions that come in the product packaging. We liked the “Opti-therm” feature, a sticker that changes color when the footbed has reached the correct molding temperature.

You can mold Sole footbeds up to five times. Excellent, as my first try at inserting the hot beds in a boot resulted in a crumpled wad not unlike I’d tried to stuff a fresh baked cookie into a wallet. Things went better during my second try after a re-bake.

Sole footbeds in Scarpa Summit GTX mountain boots.
Once the beds are in both boots, it’s important to stand in a neutral stance so the beds mold to give you proper support. In Louie’s case he needs a bit more support on the inside, so he held his position with a small amount of weight bias to the outside, thus molding the beds with slightly more height on the inside.

While it appears we’ll still have to skive a bit of material from under Louie’s footbed arch as compensation for Scarpa’s trademark high arch last, in general we’re happy with the way our Sole footbeds turned out. Give ’em a try.

Shop for Sole footbeds here.


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6 Responses to “DIY – Sole Footbeds and Scarpa Summer Mountaineering Boots”

  1. Mark Worley April 17th, 2007 8:41 am

    Nice boots. I’ve got some “old” Scarpa Cerro Torres that have languished in the closet for a few years, but maybe I’ll pull them out sometime. My Sole footbeds didn’t cooperate when I heat molded them. Perhaps it is time for another shot at that.

  2. Jerry Shustrin April 17th, 2007 9:41 am

    Been wearing for the past three years the Sole Ultra and Regular footbeds in my Scarpa ZG65’s, Cerro Torres and Salomon Trail Runners… excellent cushioning and support!

    I’ve tried Superfeet and other footbeds over the years and for my dollar (and feet), the Sole footbeds are the best.

    The Ultras have been purchased at REI and the regulars at some of the specialty foot stores that I frequent on occasion.

  3. mblythe April 18th, 2007 11:45 am

    I noticed that the scissors say “Sew”. Around our house that would indicate that the kids or dad had commandeered mom’s sewing scissors for a decidely un-sewing-like project.

  4. Lou April 18th, 2007 12:26 pm


  5. Mark August 5th, 2007 6:36 pm

    How have the boots held up? Any signs of the adhesive failing?

  6. Lou August 5th, 2007 7:59 pm

    Louie used them hard for his NOLS course and they look good. I’ll post a photo soon. No failure points , so good.

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