Hiking insoles aren’t an extra layer of cushioning that makes you feel like you’re walking on clouds, contrary to popular belief. A hiking insole’s purpose is to provide stability and function as a shock absorber, reducing pressure on your bones and lower leg muscles.
To answer it shortly, hiking insoles are most definitely worth it so long as you get quality ones that provide good arch support and cushioning.
In this blog post, you will learn whether hiking insoles are worth it or not, why you should wear hiking insoles and much more!
Table of Contents
Why should you wear hiking insoles?
This is a question that is frequently posed. Here are a few reasons why wearing hiking insoles in your footwear is more crucial than you would believe.
- By providing stability to your feet, it reduces the danger of injury.
- Improves your walking posture, which means you’ll have fewer knee and back problems in the future.
- If you have foot issues like heel slippage, foot elongation, or collapsed arches, this shoe will provide you with more support.
- It eliminates smells.
- Insoles are breathable, keeping your foot dry and reducing the risk of blisters.
- Hiking soles assist with posture and stability, which helps to reduce fatigue.
- Improves arch support, which is especially important if you’re wearing a hefty backpack.
- Acts as a shock absorber so your heel and lower leg muscles aren’t overworked.
Common problems your foot can suffer from
When you walk, you bend inwards, which is known as pronation.
When you walk, you tilt outwards, which is known as supination.
If you do not use the proper insoles for support, you may get difficulties with your back, knees, ankles, and hips.
Plantar Fasciitis is a condition in which the tissues surrounding the heel become inflamed. The discomfort is greater first thing in the morning and gradually becomes better as you move. Plantar fasciitis symptoms might be alleviated by using insoles in your hiking shoes.
What is a footbed?
The insoles provided by the manufacturers are soft and bouncy. They’re designed for cushioning rather than stability or comfort. Furthermore, they are not particularly resistant.
The insoles absorb water and become spongy when you cross a stream or go hiking on a rainy day. However, once they’ve dried, the cloth becomes crispy and splits under pressure when you walk. The last problem with insoles from manufacturers is that they are the same for everyone, yet you are not everyone! As a result, you’ll require a custom-made insole for your foot.
How to choose the right pair of insoles for you?
On the market, there are two sorts of insoles: comfort and sport.
The extra cushioning is provided by the comfort insoles, which are constructed of foam or gel. They’re designed for everyday and casual use.
Rigid materials are used to make sports insoles. They may appear deceptive at first since they are not spongy. They do, however, provide more stability and support.
Unlike bouncy insoles, which conform to the curve of your feet, sports insoles conform to the shape of the insole. This is why, at first, it may be uncomfortable, and it is advised that you wear them before a trek or other everyday activities to acclimate your feet.
Why can using a hiking insole create discomfort at first?
Because they are stiff, they strengthen your arches, allowing you to trek for longer periods of time without experiencing discomfort or weariness in your shoes.
Furthermore, because the insole’s surface is stiff, your body produces “fat cells” to provide a protective barrier and reduce discomfort. Because it is created by the body, it is also known as “natural cushioning.” Your feet will absorb shocks better thanks to this extra layer of protection, allowing you to enjoy your journey for longer!
The degree of arch support provided by an insole is defined by its profile. Low, medium, and high are the three levels.
Low: They are designed for persons who have “flat feet” and are overpronating. The low-profile insole helps to raise the arches for greater pressure distribution and stability. You can eventually go to medium-profile insoles.
Medium: These are the most popular and are ideal for persons who have neutral arches. They aid in stability and assist to reduce plantar fasciitis symptoms.
High arches: As you may expect, these insoles are made for those with high arches. If you have high arches, the biggest issue is that you put a lot of pressure on your heel, which can lead to plantar fasciitis. Wearing high-profile hiking insoles helps to distribute pressure more evenly and reduces plantar fasciitis symptoms.
The volume of an insole refers to how much room it takes up in your shoes. In terms of the profile, insole volume is divided into three categories: high, medium and low.
High: These are the insoles that take up the most room in your shoes, making them ideal for hiking or skiing boots. To insert it, you’d have to remove the manufacturer’s insole due to the amount of space it takes up. They’re also good for folks who have high arches.
Medium: They’re ideal for shoes with an average size, such as hiking boots. They would be comfortable to wear for people with neutral arches.
Low: These shoes are ideal for trail runners or cycling shoes since they take up less room and are suitable for persons with low arches.
Insoles are made up of three kinds of material. They are:
Foam is the most comfortable material. It is the most common material used in comfort insoles, and it is extremely soft and bouncy. However, because the material is not particularly durable, foam insoles would need to be replaced frequently. Furthermore, they have poor breathability, which makes the skin softer and hence more prone to blisters. They are, nevertheless, the most affordable insoles on the market.
They’re the finest, Air. Air insoles are extremely breathable and comfy. They are ideal for trekking since they function as shock absorbers. However, they are quite costly.
Gel insoles are both durable and pleasant. However, they are hefty which makes them unsuitable for hiking.
Soul Insole, The best insole
The Soul Insole Shoe Bubble Insert is a biochemically engineered gel insole that helps your foot align properly. Its design allows it to treat pain in the feet, back, and other parts of the body. It also gives your heels and arches a relaxing sensation.
The insole is see-through. Plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, heel spurs, over-pronation, and heel discomfort are just a few of the foot problems it can help with.
This comfy insole is designed to promote balance and support and will fit in any shoe. Whether you’re wearing boots or sandals, this insole will keep you comfortable. It may also be used by men, women, and children.
This insole is constructed of a non-porous, soft medical-grade memory gel that is skin-friendly. As a result, even if you use the insole every day, it will not stink. The insole is also made of high-quality materials to ensure that it provides arch support while preserving its form.
The insole not only has a lightweight design but also gives front foot relaxation. The best feature is that it won’t make your shoe feel crowded. For persons with flat feet and high arches, the insole is ideal for promoting proper balance and alignment.
When you put the insole in your shoe, it will also stay in place, ensuring comfort. Moreover, it is easy to wash.
They have a good adhesive property, which allows them to attach to any shoe. This is true even when switching them from one pair to the other.
However, you will notice that the insoles have lost their stickiness with time. That, however, should not be a cause for concern. When the insoles are filthy, this happens frequently. So, how can you re-establish the stickiness? Simple. Water should be used to rinse the insoles.
Avoid using soap while washing or cleaning the insoles. They’ll lose their stickiness if they don’t. This is something I’ve done before and believed I’d wrecked my insoles. However, after rinsing them with water, the insoles were as good as new.
Breathability should be a primary factor when shopping for new insoles. Nobody likes to be uncomfortable in their own shoes, after all. You should be cautious when purchasing an insole because adding something to your shoes might harm the aeration.
Soul Insoles, on the other hand, are highly breathable. Why is that? They aren’t full-length insoles, to be sure. As a result, their modest size allows for plenty of ventilation in your shoes.
Other factors to consider before Purchasing Insoles
Hiking insoles are priced differently based on the material, quality, and durability. The more quality insoles will generally cost more.
It’s worth mentioning that even the greatest hiking insoles don’t last indefinitely. The general guideline is that hiking insoles should last 12 months or 500 kilometres, whichever comes first.
To properly insert your hiking insoles, start by placing them on the floor. To have all of your weight on one leg, stand on one foot and elevate the other leg. Rep with the other side. Check that your heel does not extend over the heel cup’s edge, and that your toes do not extend past the insole. If this is the case, you should order a size larger.
Then, inside the shoe, test the insole to see if it is taking up too much room. Remove the manufacturer’s insole, replace it with your own, and put your boots on as if you’re going on a trek to determine whether you have enough room. If this is not the case, you may wish to choose a design with a smaller volume.
Remove the manufacturer insoles from your boots and insert your new insole beneath them to trim your hiking insoles to fit properly in your shoes. Then cut around the insoles from the manufacturer to acquire the correct fit in your shoes.
Hiking insoles don’t last forever, but you may extend their life by properly caring for them. You can do one of three things:
- Allow them to breathe.
- Hand-washing is recommended.
- Regularly inspect them for any flaws.
Hiking insoles help you feel more at ease in your shoes, maintain proper posture to avoid knee and back discomfort, and give arch support to prevent plantar fasciitis symptoms, but they do not make a boot fit your foot. If your boot is too big, you should exchange it for a smaller one.
You SHOULD NOT replace the insoles in your hiking boots with insoles from another pair of shoes, whether hiking or casual. The insole moulds to the shoe it is placed in overtime, which is why they are comfortable to wear.
Your shoes, on the other hand, are all unique. So, if you switch them, you’re defeating the objective of hiking insoles: to provide support! Instead, you’d be in excruciating pain. It may be pricey to purchase a set of insoles for each pair of shoes you possess, but if it saves you money in the long run, it may be worthwhile.
If you want more tips on how to protect your toes while hiking you can check this guide out!