Alternative footbeds for Altra shoes

With the old Altra Torin, you got two differently styled footbeds (insoles) for your shoe:
A) The Contour Footbed, which was around 4-5mm thick and 3D foamed up to support your feet
B) The Strengthened Footbed, which was basically flat and 3mm thick.

Altra Torin Footbeds

I liked the chance to choose between them and found the one, which worked out best for me.
Then the super cushioned Altra Olympus got released. I pre-ordered one and did a few test runs.

Altra Olympus - Big toe alignment
I gave the shoe three long runs, but I was disappointed.
When I looked at my feet position, it just looked weird as me big toe was nearly in the middle of the toe box.

Since the Olympus did also used the 3d-shaped Contour footbed, I thought: let’s compare it with the same Contour footbed of the Torin:
Altra Torin Contour Footbed vs. Olympus Footbed

As they have been so similar, the consequence was clear: let’s try the flat 3mm Strengthened Footbed of the Torin in the Olympus.


It worked out brilliantly! The Olympus fit like a glove now. The weird position of the big toe was gone and I directly felt in love with the Olympus. I ordered a few more pairs as they got my main shoe for the training runs.


Total conversion to Altra Running Shoes
I also used the Olympus together with flat strengthened Footbed for my first Ultra-Marathon, which I finished with totally fresh feets. No blisters at all.

Rennsteig Ultramarathon - Altra Olympus


However there was one little problem. I used the flat footbeds of 3 pairs of Altra Torin and another 2 new shoes arrived: The Altra Paradigm (the Altra Olympus for Roads) and the Altra One2.
I also got requests from other Olympus owners of how to solve the footbed thing (Yes, I wasn’t alone with my problem).


I got the hint that Inov-8 does have some nice Footbeds which could fit with a slight modification. I ordered a few pairs of their Footbeds and give it a try:

Inov-8 does have 4 type of footbeds:  3mm + 6mm Precision/Performance and 3mm + 6mm Natural/Anatomic Footbeds.
The Precision/Performance footbeds are too narrow for Altra shoes, so I stick with the Natural/Anatomic ones.

Inov8 Natural Footbed 3mm

As you can see, I bought US11 (Male). My Altra shoes are US9.5. This ensured me that I will have enough material to cut away.


Altra Torin Strengthened Footbed versus Inov8 Anatomic/Natural Footbed

Altra Torin strenghtened footbed over Inov8 Natural Footbed Altra Torin strenghtened footbed over Inov8 Natural Footbed Altra Torin strenghtened footbed next to Inov8 Natural Footbed Altra Torin strenghtened footbed over Inov8 Natural Footbed

They are just wide enough (remember Altra US9.5 versus Inov8 US11! ) and fairly long enough, so that I can cut away the toe box section into the Altra shape.


cut down inov8 footbed - side by side Inov8 natural footbed in Altra Olympus Inov8 natural footbed in Altra Olympus

I have smoothed the cuts a bit after this photos, but as you can see, they fix nicely in my Altra Olympus.


Altra Paradigm + Inov-8 Footbed:

Another set of Inov-8 Anatomic/Natural Footbeds as an exchange for the Contour Footbeds in Altra Paradigm:

Inov8 Natural versus Paradigm Contour and Altra Torin Strenghtenend Footbed Cutting line for the toes Cutting lines for the sides Torin Strenghtenend, Paradigm Contour, Inov-8 Anatomic (cutted) Altra Paradigm Shoe with Inov8 Footbed



The 3mm variant of Inov8’s Natural/Anatomic footbed is a perfect exchange for the missing Altra Strengthened Footbed.
For those who are missing a little bit more cushioning, think about getting a pair of 6mm Inov8 Natural/Anatomic footbeds. You just have to invest around 5-8 Euro.

Altra Running – Torin (2013)
Altra Running – Olympus
Inov-8 Footbeds



  1. Nice to know you are interested in sports too. I’m fisiotherapist (trauma is the field I work too much hours in) and you have given me some interesting thoughts with your article.
    Anyway it’d be adviceable (from my experience with some patients) not to stick to the same kind of shoes for more than a couple of years, as I have observed that even best shoes+silicon footbeds ever can be the cause of some feet pathologies like fibular muscles inflamation, specially when the patient is very active. The original cause may be that feet are a (single ¿?) dinamic structure and it changes with certain factors, like age, reumathological illness, traumas or phisical (and psiquical) stress, but I’m sure you already know that.

    Regards, Isaac

    1. What a small world we live in, Isaac 😉

      Well, I use different shoes but I stick with 0mm heel to toe drop and a wide toebox. I think that without shoes we stand as perfect as we can and our shoes should only protect us, but not push us into weird forms (i.e. higher heel than toe). It was a learning curve for me as I fought with enough pains and injures before.



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