The older I get the more I realize that there are certain products that can help me stay longer in the backwoods.  God blessed me with very high arches, though I haven’t found how that benefits me.  I have a difficult time finding a shoe that feels good on my foot for a long period of time and when carrying a heavy pack on my back my arches take extra abuse.

I’m no slouch and I have discovered that I can push past limits and persevere with my mental toughness when things get difficult.  I can endure being uncomfortable and exhausted and keep going, but that doesn’t mean that I should.  Extreme backcountry hunters packing miles into the wilderness stress cutting mere ounces from their back packs.

In 2018 while prepping for an upcoming fall bear hunt in the backcountry of Washington and hiking up the mountain with a weighted pack, I became fed up with the arch pain and the fear of that tearing feeling of plantar fasciatis setting in. I left that ridge of the Ozark mountains and headed to my favorite local outdoor store, Pack Rat Outdoor Center, and picked up a pair of SOLE insoles.  There was noticable improvement between the stock sole and the new insoles.  They made my training and hunt much better and that was one hurdle removed.

When I realized how much the insoles helped with the pain in my arches and combining that with the same thought process that backpackers apply to the weight on their back... I determined that custom insoles would be worth the investment even if marginally better than the ones being utilized.

I had kept hearing about Sheep Feet from different western hunters I follow and the time had finally come to turn my talking into action!  Sheep Feet is a custom orthotic company that sends foam molds to your home for you to take imprints of your feet and they send you a perfect insole to match your feet.  The process was quick and easy.  They even have a video to show you how to do take your impressions.

After getting my Sheep Feet in, I used the old insoles as a template to trim the new ones and they slipped in perfectly!

The Results

Excited to try my Sheep Feet, I quickly went on a weighted hike and I instantly felt the difference.  They were considerably more comfortable and I kept waiting for a familiar pain that never came!  I was soon in the mountains of Montana walking miles a day including a four mile packout with a bear losing over two thousand feet in elevation.  The Sheep Feet were champs and helped with my mental toughness because I could focus on other things and not the familiar pain of yesterday in my arches.

I would suggest these for anyone, not just those suffering any type of foot pain.  If it can help you stay out a little longer or go a little farther, it is worth it.