Are insoles (arch supports, orthopaedic insole) recommended in the kybun shoe?
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 with the kybun shoe and when we advise against it.
In general, we recommend wearing the kybun shoe without insoles in most cases. The elastic springy kybun 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 elastic springy kybun sole.
The natural foot rollover on the elastic springy kybun sole strengthens the foot muscles and stabilises the entire foot. In the kybun shoe, the foot learns to actively stabilise itself with its own musculature (insoles stabilise 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, high arch 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 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’.
Flatfoot 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’. High arch foot High arch 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. High arch foot can sometimes be a first sign of muscle weakness or muscle disease such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
Drop foot 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 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.
Can I wear insoles in kybun shoes?
As already described, we recommend wearing the kybun shoes without insoles in order to optimally achieve the effectiveness of the elastic springy material. Of course you are free to decide whether or not to wear the insoles in our shoes. All models with the weaker trampoline effect (see here) have a removable insole. This means that with these models you certainly have enough space for the insoles. On all other models (stronger trampoline effect) you insole is fixed. Depending on the type and thickness of the inlay, the lack of space could prevent the inlay from being used.
Which insole makes sense for the kybun shoe?
Insoles/braces (such as a peroneal brace) that are custom-built for neurological disorders. However, using additional insoles with the kybun shoe usually entails the problem that the heel slides up in the back. This is why you should test various kybun models, but especially high-cut ones, with your insole/brace. If your insole does not fit inside the kybun shoe or is uncomfortable, we recommend the kybun mat, 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 kybun shoe until the foot musculature is strong enough and the foot/arch can stabilise itself.
The passive and the sensomotoric insoles cannot achieve their purpose because the kybun shoe has an elastic springy 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 kybun shoe, 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 kybun shoe, we recommend alternating between wearing the kybun shoe without insoles and standard shoes with your usual insoles. You should be continuously extending the periods of time you wear the kybun shoe 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 kybun shoes or their standard shoes.
The kybun principle of operation – being proactive
We recommend both the kybun mat and the kybun shoe 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 kybun shoe 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 stabilising foot musculature is often severely weakened in case of foot problems. As a result, the foot is no longer stabilised properly. This can lead to pain and even more severe malpositions over time.
With the kybun shoe or the kybun mat, 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 stabilised 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 kybun shoe or on the kybun mat, 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 kybun shoe or on the kybun mat. 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 kybun shoe or mat. 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 kybun shoe 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 kybun shoe models and the kybun mat thicknesses (the greater the thickness, the lower the stability).
Click here for the general initial reactions experienced by kybun mat and shoe beginners: Initial reactions
For information about the special kybun shoe or the basic kybun mat exercises, please click here: kybun exercises
For active stabilisation training of the foot, we advise wearing the kybun shoe without orthopaedic insoles (see exceptions above). The foot musculature needs several months of regular training before it is strong enough to stabilise the foot for hours in the kybun shoe. Until then, you can wear normal shoes with insoles for relief. After years of using insoles, wearing the kybun shoe 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 kybun shoe and ensure that the foot stands upright on the sole. This gives you a favourable 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 kybun shoe. This reduces rolling to the inside.
Some people can feel too unstable in the kybun shoe. In this case, we advise you to try various kybun shoe models; some models with a higher cut provide more stability. We also recommend that these customers try the kybun shoe models with a lower Rebound-Effect (Tropo or Cirrus soles). 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 insecure walking in the kybun shoe, we advise using the kybun mat. The kybun mat is available in three different thicknesses. This allows you to choose the thickness that is most comfortable for you (the thicker, the more unstable and the more intensive the training). You can also hold on to a fixed object if you need additional support when using the kybun mat.
With splayfoot, it is important to train the core foot musculature and promote foot mobility. If you experience pain in the kybun shoe 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 kybun shoe or mat), the transverse arch will be actively stabilised and you will be able to remove the cushion or stiff insole.
I have been a polyarthritis and soft tissue rheumatism patient for many years and have had quite a few attempts with orthopedically converted shoes and insoles that never quite fit properly, despite repeated modifications. Walking for any length of time caused me severe pain. As a dog owner and passionate hiker, I depend on being able to walk effectively.
A colleague of mine first introduced me to the kybun shoe. Since then, I have been enjoying my dog walking without pain.
At one point, I had to go back to orthopaedic shoes because I also had a hallux and a hammertoe. Very quickly I started to experience pain in the affected foot, knee issues and lower back problems. I immediately switched back to the kybun shoe and now I can walk pain-free again. Longer hikes are also possible and that includes walking downhill!
Cornelia Heizmann from Switzerland
It got so bad, that I had to walk with crutches for a time, because I really couldn’t walk anymore. There are so many things you can try. You can give insoles a go, but it’s all very expensive and that doesn’t ecessarily mean that they will even work. You end up having to buy new shoes anyway to insert the insoles, and those don’t come cheap, either. You’re much better off just buying a kybun shoe. It really improves your health. It straightens up your posture, for example. It simply takes the load off your back and other areas. Every part of you becomes more relaxed by simply moving as you walk.
Samuel Gerber from Switzerland
Initially, a doctor told me I needed orthopaedic insoles. I had always resisted the idea and in the end I decided to try out kyBoot shoes. I needed new shoes for the office anyway, so I made the most of the opportunity. I went to the kybun factory in Sennwald and bought a pair.
Phillip Scheuble, mayor of Rüthi SG
I have bunions on both feet that cause me a great deal of pain, and because of which I’ve had to wear insoles in my shoes for years. The pain came back, though, so I thought I’d try out this air-cushion shoe that I saw ads for. And look: Ever since I started wearing the kybun shoe, I can once again enjoy painless short hikes, and nearly painless longer ones. I also wear the shoe as often as possible during the day, since it tires out my feet less. Because of that, I can still wear ‘normal’ shoes every now and then if I’m going out – and that’s important for me as a woman. I’ve been wearing the kybun shoe for a number of years now.
Elisabeth Bolleter from Cham, Germany
I’ve spent 30 years working in retail while wearing shoes that were stylish but far too uncomfortable. This has unfortunately taken its toll on my legs. I was suffering from Morton’s neuroma, a bunion, pain in my knees and lumbar spine, and on top of that, I fractured my femoral neck last summer after having an accident. It was virtually impossible for me to walk or stand without feeling pain, even when wearing flat shoes with insoles. Fortunately, a friend of mine recommended the kybun shoes to me. She had been wearing a pair for a while herself, and was familiar with how the shoe’s enormous benefits. Purchasing a pair was definitely worth it for me as well. The comfortable air-cushioned insole makes walking a genuine pleasure – like you are walking on cotton. I also find the shoe very stylish, and people often come up to me to give their compliments. It was quite hard for me to choose just one pair from the large selection of models available – I’m sure this won’t be the last pair that I will buy.
Katharina Mayer-Steinhäusl from Vienna, Austria
Hello, my name is Susanne Bogedaly. I have been suffering from chronic plantar fasciitis in both of my feet as well as a heel spur in my left foot for about a year and a half. I tried just about everything I could, including all conventional therapy methods. The doctors said there was virtually nothing left for them to try. I tried using insoles and sensorimotor insoles, took pain medication and underwent shockwave therapy. In the end, I was under so much psychological strain, and nothing had helped. In my desperation, I decided to try one last thing. I came across the kybun shoe on the Internet and tried on a pair. I did some research and opted for this model. I am very impressed. It was my last hope, and it has enabled me to walk comfortably, like I’m walking on air, just the way it was described in the advertisement. It is perfect for me, because I’m a nursery teacher and need to be on my feet every day. I am standing for many hours every day, so I wear the shoes at work and also wear them as slippers at home. I have already place an order for the next model, which is the Arosa model. This is a black lace-up boot that comes up to here. It looks very elegant. I want to encourage everyone who is suffering a similar fate as I was and is in despair to simply try it out! It really is worth it. I am very impressed. I can walk again comfortably and almost without any pain. I will stick with the kybun shoe. I am very happy with it. I wish everyone the best and urge them not to give up!
Susanne Bogedaly from Germany
I would recommend it to virtually anybody who has the same complaints that we had. A lot of people suffer from them, and they really wouldn’t have to if they just opted for a shoe that naturally fitted their body, and only wore that. You can prevent a lot of pain and other ailments that you wouldn’t be able to do anything about otherwise. You don’t always have to wear the shoe, but make sure that the entire foot mechanism is really put to good use, because wearing the standard shoes on the market nowadays makes it almost impossible for the foot to move naturally. That will only happen if you wear these shoes, and that’s when you’ll find out what you’ve been missing out on.
Samuel Gerber from Switzerland
This is my first time getting out in my kyBoot shoes. I’ve already done a two-and-a-half-hour hike. I feel like I’m walking on moss. It’s fantastic. I have knock knees and haven’t had any problems without insoles. I’m absolutely delighted.
Hotel guest Paladina Ticino, Switzerland
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 kybun 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 kybun. 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 kybun 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 kybun 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 favourite 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 organised 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 mobilisation relieved the pain in my foot. This is all thanks to my kybun shoes. He advised me to continue doing what I have been doing – wearing kybun shoe 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
No other shoe like this! My job requires me to work on my feet all day. Two years ago my metatarsal arch dropped. The pain was unbearable at first but with orthotics I was able to work and have worn them ever since. Now the pain is back and the orthotic is bothering me…my physiotherapist believes my foot muscles have become weak (probably from the orthotic) and indeed, when I'm able to exercise the foot, the pain relief is very apparent. In the meantime I need a soft soled shoe to keep me on my feet. The kybun shoes are not only the softest shoes I've ever worn, but they will help strengthen my feet as well! How perfect is that? I have worked my current job for 32 years and am eligible for early retirement in a few more years, but I didn't think I'd be able to make it. I had actually started looking for another line of work, and preparing to give up all the seniority and benefits I currently enjoy (including early retirement!). Now I won't have to do that. I'm so glad I found these shoes, they are amazing, like nothing else I've ever worn!
And I just have to add, after wearing the shoes for the last two weeks at work. My feet actually feel better after five days of work, than they do after my two days off without them! I can't wait until I can afford to buy another pair for wearing around the house, can't live without them now
Karen Maidra, lives in Canada
I've had a pair of kybun 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, Switzerland
It's a great added benefit. I'm no longer reliant on those orthopedic insoles. feel good, am more relaxed as I walk and feel far less tired in the evening.
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, Israel
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, Israel
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.
In my work as a sales trainer, I stand pretty much every day for 8-10 hours. A few years ago, this created a real problem – tremendous pain in my feet. It started with incredibly sharp pain from the first step out of bed in the morning, and built strongly throughout the day, to the point I could barely focus on my work by lunchtime.
My doctor told me it was a common ailment that affects people who stand or walk a lot, called plantar fasciitis.
For years, I tried everything – softer shoes, inserts to reduce heel shock, sitting during my presentations, even acupuncture, but nothing worked. I spent thousands on these so-called “cures” without any relief. Then one day while walking (painfully) down the street in Oakville, Canada I came across a little sign that advertised “new Swiss shoes that promised tremendous walking comfort”. Inside the pharmacy, a very nice woman introduced me to the kybun shoe. Wow, the pain in my heels was already less after just a couple of hours in the kybun shoe.
After returning to Switzerland, I bought a pair immediately and started wearing them in my day-to-day work. After 2 weeks, I noticed something amazing… I no longer felt my feet during the day. They were just there, comfortable, and happy.
No pain, even after I took off my shoes in the evening. No pain in the morning when getting out of bed. I simply could not believe it. The pain in my feet is simply gone – it’s changed my life. Pain is no longer the focus of my every waking (or walking) minute and I can stand all day in my workshops in total comfort.
I am thankful for this amazing invention. These are the most terrific shoes and they really have changed my life!
Gopal RajGuru, Nyon, Switzerland
Working as a sports doctor for the Canadian bob team gave me the chance to test out the kybun shoe in everyday use and during light sports activities. I was very impressed by the kybun shoe 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, Switzerland
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 kybun 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 kybun shoe 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 kybun shoes 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
I can feel a huge difference. I feel a lot better and don't wear my insoles any more.
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
Experience and further questions about insoles and the kybun shoe