Field Expedient Boot Repair (for the guy with only one foot)

Cleaning mud off my boots the other day, I noticed that I’d managed to wear right through the bottom of the left one…
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Shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. This is my left foot…
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Looks fine, except this is the bottom of my left foot…
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Poor design, but I’m really not complaining. This foot is almost six years old. The business end of it is a flexible carbon fiber keel. It pushes back against your weight really well, giving me a good push-off while I’m walking similar to what your toes do for you. Unfortunately the foot-shaped covering that lets it fit shoes proved far less durable.

Once it finished wearing its way through my foot, that keel started doing the same thing to my boot. That’s the only time I really objected.

This weekend I formulated a fiendish plan to fix it. My neighbor J has put on his mad scientist hat, trying to design puncture-resistant sandals lined with Kydex. So this morning I asked if he could make me a boot insert.
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Looks like it might work great! You can see where the keel is hitting it, right where I hoped.

In addition to spreading out the pressure to prevent further sole damage, I’ve got an unexpected benefit: Now that keel has something hard to push against, and I’ve got back some of the spring to my step that I’d insensibly lost as the boot wore out. So far I like it! We’ll see how it lasts.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to Field Expedient Boot Repair (for the guy with only one foot)

  1. Robert says:

    Worst case of plantar fasciitis I’ve ever seen. Would a higher-end design not wear through like that?

  2. Joel says:

    I don’t know. I keep prosthetic legs so long that every time I got a new one the tech was always completely new to me.

    I’ve worn this one for over fifteen years, and when I had it made the tech was changing completely but I wasn’t ready to change with it. Wish the prosthetist had been a bit more insistent. The feet this leg was designed for were called SACH (Solid Ankle Cushion Heel) but they were going out of style. Soon the only ones I could get were cheesy trash made in India. Even on pavement they didn’t last more than a year, and I couldn’t keep them six months at a time when I moved out here to the boonies. Only good news was the warranty never ran out, and I got good at replacing them myself.

    Then in 2008, with the help of a friend, I went to the city where a prosthetist heavily modified my leg with a short peg that would accept a modern foot. It was such an improvement my mobility instantly improved dramatically. But it does have this one apparent design flaw: The insides are much tougher than the outsides.

  3. Matt says:

    Would it be possible the design did not take into account that it would be,worn for,hours,a day in rough desert terrain?

  4. Joel says:

    That was certainly the problem with the old feet I used to use with this leg. Crappy as they were, they lasted twice as long on pavement as they ever did out here.

  5. LJH says:

    You really ought to paint the prosthetic toenails. Seriously, just to creep people out. :-)

  6. Joel says:

    I’d be the one most creeped out of all, and I have to live with the damn thing. :)

  7. Zelda says:

    ROTFL I’m sending nail polish. NBD, no need for thanks, just some of the colors I no longer wear. Look for it in your packages…

  8. Joel says:

    Ain’t happening, Zelda. Just saying.

  9. EwB says:

    My son, who has two prosthetic legs, got a new design for a carbon-fiber foot a couple of years ago. He had it fro about two weeks before the sand that inevitably gets into a kids shoe, turn a critical part of the assemble to black powder ( not the explosive kind ) and it failed by breaking as he stepped down some stairs. The manufacturer was shocked that their “unbreakable” component broke. Our prosthetist thought it was amazing that it fail so spectacularly. The maker made a replacement part, did a short shrift on the curing of the epoxy, and the new part broke in half in two days. It took some time, a temporary “old foot” and we finally got a part the lasted about a year. Now that he is in adult components, they do last longer, but these things do were out and it is annoying in the manner that they fail. Mostly due to the “life is not a lab” mode of dirt and reality taking its toll. Yep, we have used duct tape, gorilla tape, GOOP, epoxy, the threads off of bicycle tires or mower tires, all kinds of stuff to repair and make whole parts that fall short when put in the real world.

To the stake with the heretic!