0 Best Insoles for Hiking
It’s impossible to enjoy a hike if your feet are killing you. Even with high quality boots, you may still have issues with foot pain.
That could include general aching feet, but could be as bad as hot spots or blisters. That’s when you should consider getting insoles, which can provide extra comfort and support.
Boots and shoes usually come with an inexpensive insole, which is most commonly just a layer of material. An aftermarket insole can help your hiking boots fit better, be tailored to your foot, and improve arch support and comfort. As a hiker, quality hiking insoles can help with shock absorption. And if you have issues with flat feet, an insole may be an absolute necessity.
Even without intense pain, insoles can help with foot fatigue, add stability, reduce moisture and odors, and reduce stress on your feet from hours of hiking.
Here’s what to think about when choosing the best insoles for hiking boots.
Types Of Footwear
There are different styles of hiking boots and shoes.
Hiking shoes tend to be softer and more flexible than hiking boots. But hiking boots provide better ankle support and ensure better protection from the elements.
Then there are military boots, or combat boots, which are designed to withstand extreme conditions and extreme use. Some people prefer hiking in these.
While you may have a preference for the type of boot or shoe you use, that shouldn’t have an impact on your decision about hiking insoles, as they should fit any type of footwear.
Types Of Insoles
Insoles will generally be described as having two main characteristics: volume and profile.
Volume refers to the amount of space the insole will take up in the boot or shoe, for instance whether it can be added on top of the existing insole. Low, medium and high volume insoles are available.
Profile refers to the arch support. If your arches have good support, you can choose low arch insoles. There’s also medium profile, which covers most average foot types, and high profile, which is for people with flat feet.
You can also opt for boot heel inserts, which will cradle the heel to prevent slippage for those who have narrow heels.
There’s also a choice when it comes to the material of hiking insoles.
Gel Insoles: Embedded in a foam insole are liquid gel bubbles. They’re durable because the gel resists compression, but they can be heavy and add to the weight of your boots. They also don’t breathe very well. However, they do provide good shock absorption and retain their shape. They’re also easy to clean.
Cork Insoles: A cork design gives you a lightweight insole that’s also naturally moisture-wicking. That helps with odor control. Cork is soft but sturdy, so there’s plenty of support and comfort.
Air Insoles: This time it’s air bubbles embedded in the foam, providing comfort, support and cushion without the compression over time that happens to foam alone. That makes these long lasting. They’re also breathable.
Foam insoles: Usually made from memory foam, these don’t last as long because they compress over time. They do provide comfort and shock absorption, and they’re light.
Finally, there are specific characteristics of the material of insoles that impact your decision about the best boot insoles for hiking.
Waterproof Insoles: Ideal for those who know they will be hiking in wet weather, or whose feet sweat a great deal, and want their insoles to stay dry.
Weighted Insoles: If you really want to boost the exercise value of your hikes, you could choose weighted insoles. They will add weight to your boot, meaning they provide light exercise any time you walk with them. You’ll be working harder every time you lift your foot, adding to your workout. These may not be the best replacement insoles for hiking boots if you do a lot of really long hikes.
Breathable Insoles: If you can’t stand hot feet, your feet sweat a lot, or you’ll be hiking in hot weather, a breathable material will be important to you.
Cushion Insoles: The amount of cushion you choose depends on what you need in an insole. If you have lots of foot fatigue and need maximum shock absorption, you’ll want to choose a cushion insole. If you simply need to keep your heels from slipping, you could look at getting heel inserts. If you need arch support, you’ll be looking for a high profile insole.
Thick Insoles vs. Thin Insoles: This comes down to a personal preference and feel inside your shoe. Do you want to take out the factory insole and choose a thick insole? Or would you rather insert a thin insole on top of the existing insole?
Memory Foam: Some people swear by memory foam, whether that’s on their bed or in their shoes. Memory foam insoles will mold to your feet, allowing for excellent energy transfer because of the many contact points between your foot and your shoe. They can be very comfortable, and they’re light, but remember that they do compress over time so they aren’t as durable or long-lasting as some other options. Memory foam also doesn’t breathe.