Custom Cool

Custom Footbeds & Sleeping Bags

Oct 1, 2005
Outside Magazine
Sole Custom Footbeds

Sole Custom Footbeds
WHAT YOU GET: Replace the insoles in running shoes or hiking, ski, or snowboard boots with Sole's Regular inserts for high-performance support. The deep heel cup and stiff arch are married to a shock-absorbing platform that molds to your foot.
THE PROCESS: Simply bake your Sole footbeds for two minutes in a 200-degree oven. While they're still warm and malleable, insert them into your shoes, lace up, and stand, feet shoulder width apart, for two minutes or until the high-density foam cools and molds to your foot. (If you wear a half size, round up and trim the inserts down to fit.)
THE PAYOFF: I've always been bothered by high arches, weak ankles, and bad knees. Using the Calgary, Alberta, company's inserts, I trained for and ran a marathon without any foot, ankle, or knee pain. Want more proof these things work? Consider that Nike's ACG Adventure Racing Team uses them—instead of a Swoosh option—in their shoes. —by Grant Davis

Peter Hutchinson Designs High-Tech Sleeping Bag
Base, $269; as tested, $373;
WHAT YOU GET: Down-bag maker PHD, based in Stalybridge, England, will stitch a sleeper to match your idea of the perfect bag for your body and your wilderness sleeping plans.
THE PROCESS: When you visit the Web site, PHD's interface—which tracks cost, weight, and temperature rating at each step—will lead you through a detailed selection of fabric types (from ultralight gossamer nylons to a heavy-duty Gore-Tex layer with taped seams), insulation weights (700- or 800-fill down feathers), sizes, and zipper location.
THE PAYOFF: I chose a 32-degree three-season bag weighing one pound ten ounces and stuffed with 800-fill down, adding a full zip with a draft tube and a sturdy Drishell nylon shell, which gives me a ten-degree range on either side of freezing, plus a longer-lasting bag. My High-Tech's narrow cut provides me with just enough room to move around inside without extra fabric and stuffing. The result is a peaceful night's sleep that involves less tossing and turning—and zipping and unzipping—to get comfortable. — by John Bradley

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