Lathrop & Sons High Country Synergy Footbed
Brock Akers, Rokslide Moderator
Boots are arguably the most important part of your hunting system and can make or break a hunt. It only makes sense to get them dialed in perfectly. A very important part of that equation is the insoles. Most boots come with factory insoles that are cheaply made and do not provide the correct support needed to maximize the fit and comfort of your boot. There is a plethora of choices in aftermarket insoles but my research led me to professional bootfitters, Lathrop & Sons. They seemed to have figured out the secret with their High Country Synergy Footbed System.
Aftermarket insoles range from a hard plastic heel cup that is covered by softer material, all the way to thick, soft gel pads. Initially, these can provide fit, support, and comfort for many hunters. However, after a few miles logged, foot fatigue (or worse) is too often the result.
My research said that the Lathrop & Sons' insole is like no other, so I arranged to test a pair for the 2015 fall hunts. I received mine a few weeks before hunting season and hoped to put at least 100 miles on them for this review.
While researching how the footbed fights foot fatigue, I learned that the Synergy has a unique heel cup design that not only absorbs harsh impacts, but upon heel strike actually creates a natural cup protecting the heel's natural fat pad. I could feel this comfort as soon as I installed the system.
The same principal applies to the batwing transfer bridge that spans from the arch down to the ball of your foot (see the lead photo). I also learned through a conversation with Stephen Lathrop that their own research has shown many mountain hunting boots actually provide plenty of the torsional side-to-side support needed for backpack hunting, but often it is contradicted by placing an insole that is much too stiff inside the boot. This prevents the boot from moving the way it's designed, causing problems such as hot spots and foot fatigue. This is why the Synergy footbed is made with such flexibility. I could tell my boots functioned better with the Synergy system.
The base of the High Country Synergy Footbed is their very own proprietary material. It was engineered to provide a very high tensile strength to resist shear forces and premature breakdown. Of course this special base was formulated to mimic the fat pad of the human foot. In fact, when you press firmly on the base and then look closely, you will see your fingerprint for a moment. It is then topped with a high grade Neoprene to compliment the base.
A sizing template is included with every pair of the High Country Synergy Footbeds. Simply match your foot to the correct size, then cut the insole to size with a pair of scissors. This is an important step in ensuring that perfect fit inside your boot.
I met my goal and logged well over 100 miles on the Synergy throughout October, November, and December, ranging from the steep rugged mountains of Idaho to the flat sage country in Eastern Washington. I cannot stress enough what a game changer these insoles were for me. I can tell an incredible amount of thought and experience went into the design. The Synergy footbed provides comfort that will last the entire hunt, as well as the support needed to climb the mountains each day while fighting foot fatigue and helping to prevent blisters.
The Lathrop & Sons family is highly respected in the industry and it certainly shows in the design of the High Country Synergy Footbed.
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