I completely understand wanting White's boots for their durability and style.
However, if you have to try all different kinds of socks and insoles to make them comfortable, I suggest trying other brands. There must be a durable and ethically made boot that is a better fit as far as comfort goes.
For instance, I simply cannot wear red wings. I've had a few pairs, and sold all of them except one, which I never wear. Same with Chippewah. They simply won't agree with my foot, even though I desperately love their style. Which, actually, is how I came to be a White's fan.
There must be a durable boot made with a significant padded insole that would be very comfortable and warm, I would think, that also has the appeal of white's, no?
Viberg's work boots are same price as White's. The "nailed construction" boots come with rubber inserts by default and are generally quite roomy at any given width. They have a little less aggressive arches than White's. They are very heavy and solid, which can be a good or bad thing.
You get them direct from Viberg via their second website http://www.workboot.com, but I always order over the phone.
1. They do MTO, which has taken about two months when I have done it.
2. Prices are in Canadian dollars. $50 CAD will be added for shipping to USA.
3. The nailed construction boots are very roomy, so consider going down to the next available width. Widths available are AA, B, D, E, EE, and EEEE (pretty sure about the widths).
4. You can specify Vibram 100, 700, or 430 soles.
5. You can have steel toes replaced with standard structures toes.
6. You can get them in black smooth or rough out, mocha, or red dog...all heavy oil tan. You can also get black water buffalo.
7. They won't do customizations to their work boots to make them like their fashion/service boots.
8. As always, you need to figure out sizing and they can help, but I don't think they would necesarily take back custom boots that didn't fit. I take the same size as my White's.
9. Quality is phenomenal.
10. I highly recommend the Viberg Foreman 55 model with the fairly unique nailed construction, which means many, many brass nails are holding everything together (along with glue, as in nearly all boots). Outsoles are Rapid-stitched, glued, and nailed to midsoles.
P.S. I am not trying to hijack the White's thread, but they fit the description of a solid boot made to accommodate inserts. Also, few people are aware of Viberg's work boots or that they are priced competitively with White's, Nick's, and Wesco.