One of the most overlooked pieces of equipment in a hiker’s backpack, and perhaps the most important, is the insoles for trekking shoes. The right pair of insoles can transform a pair of boots from a tiring, miserable experience into a hiking dream.
For those of you confused about what insoles are, they are footbeds that are placed inside of your shoes. Their primary purpose is to help you with your posture and give you more comfort when walking or standing.
The insoles for trekking boots can be made of different materials, but a soft material is often needed to act as a buffer between the hard, flat surface.
Do I need insoles on my trekking shoes?
The answer is YES!
You do need insoles for your trekking shoes because they can help you have more fun in the outdoors and continue being active without having to stop due to foot pain.
There are many other benefits of using insoles on your trekking shoes which we will discuss further in this article.
Insoles for trekking shoes: Benefits
As a hiker, you are constantly on the lookout for ways to get more miles out of your boots. One of the best ways to do that is by using an insole. With insoles, you can get arch support, comfort, increased stability, and foot alignment all at once.
Here are the benefits of insoles:
- Arch support
Insoles provide arch support. It will keep your feet from collapsing and give you a better chance to walk in comfort. You can also find insoles that offer further arch supports, which is a plus and will help people with high arches or flat feet.
With insoles, you can get more comfort through added cushioning and padding. Higher quality insoles will be made of softer materials that are better at distributing your weight and absorbing shock to assist in fatigue reduction.
- Increased Stability
Insoles can help give your feet better motion control when you walk, especially if made from stiffer materials like polypropylene or other hard plastics. It is especially true if you are wearing a high cadence and fast rate of movement.
- Alignment and Movement
Insoles can help fix alignment issues afflicting your feet, such as pronation or flat feet. It can help you walk with more comfort and less pain. Providing specific support that aligns your foot can keep you from coming down with issues like plantar fasciitis or shin splints.
- Reduces Fatigue
One of the best ways to feel more comfortable in your hiking boots is to invest in the right insoles. Using quality insoles made out of foam or gel inserts can help reduce the amount of fatigue you get from wearing them and help you get better mileage from your boots.
By providing more cushioning, those who use them will walk smoother and feel much better when wearing them.
- Reduce symptoms of plantar fasciitis
If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, you can do a few things to reduce the pain and even prevent it.
The first is to stretch your feet before bed and during the day to help relax the arch in your feet when you are awake. If you can’t do that, then take off your boots whenever possible. Wearing insoles that provide arch support and that has more cushioned area for your feet will help keep you from overworking them and possibly aggravating them further.
- Saves you from heel slippage
Insoles in trekking shoes help prevent heel slippage. When your heel slips out, you could end up falling over or hurting yourself. It is especially dangerous if you are hiking in rough terrain or going downhill because it could cause a severe injury. Some insoles have anti-slip properties to prevent this from happening.
- Improves airflow and ventilation
The heat that your foot generates can become a problem in the summer. When using low-quality insoles, they can get hot in the summer and become uncomfortable. With good quality insoles, they can improve the airflow in your boots by providing more space and will also allow you to remove them if need be.
- Improves the fit of your shoes
Insoles provide a better fit for your feet. Because of all the padding they offer, it is easier for you to walk in them and not get any blisters or discomfort. They can also help fill up any gaps or voids that may exist around your foot, leading to discomfort or blisters.
It helps you stand more comfortably and improve your balance in many situations.
Insoles for trekking shoes: How to choose the right insoles?
Choosing the correct insole can help you get more miles out of your boots as well as comfort. Here are the tips on how to choose the right one:
1. Insole Volume
The insole volume is the thickness of the insoles that will occupy the space of the trekking shoes. There are three forms of insole volumes:
- Low – These are thin insoles best for small-sized shoes.
- Medium – Medium insoles are for medium-sized trekking shoes that you can also layer on top of the existing insoles.
- High – These are best for more oversized trekking boots. You can remove the existing insoles and use this for the right fit.
2. Insole Profile
The insoles are the linings inside your shoes that provide support and comfort. They come in different linings to match your trekking style, like plush, foam, gel, and more.
3. Insole Type
There are three main types of insoles:
- Foam: These are lighter and softer than other types of insoles but aren’t as durable. They also have a thin heel cup that helps provide support for your heel. They fit best for light trekking or for people who have a neutral foot stance.
- Gel: These insoles have liquid gel bubbles inside a foam. They tend to be heavier than foam insoles but are more shock absorbent and offer more comfort. The best application for these insoles includes medium-volume shoes with lots of cushioning that need extra support and comfort.
Envelop Gel Insoles are great for all-day comfort. They provide cushioned support and are lightweight.
- Air: Air insoles are a type of insole made of foam and filled with air. You can use air insoles to help relieve pressure on the heel caused by plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciitis pain. Air insoles are used mainly for those cases of plantar fasciitis, and the heel pain runs in line with the heel bone. Air insoles are comfortable, breathable, and long-lasting.
A. Neutral arch design
The neutral arch design of insoles is an excellent way to avoid foot pain and can also be helpful in the treatment of such conditions as plantar fasciitis.
- Flat arch: Flat arch designs have a level surface under the whole foot. It helps to reduce pressure and tension on the feet, which could help with foot pain, such as plantar fasciitis.
- High arch: High arch insoles are designed to increase the height of an insole for those who need extra support and to cushion on their arches. They are mostly recommended for people who have flat feet or high arches.
B. Extra support design
The most common issue with the design of insoles is that they cannot provide the extra support required for people who may walk on their toes or have flat feet. It can lead to problems with plantar fasciitis and other foot pain conditions.
Some insoles feature a raised section around the toes and heels designed to provide the extra support necessary for those who walk on their toes or have flat feet. These are great for providing the extra support required from insoles when dealing with plantar fasciitis, arthritis, and other foot pain conditions.
Samurai Insoles are great for flat feet and have great arch support. The insoles have a low profile and are lightweight.
C. Heel cushioning
Heel cushioning is designed to provide extra comfort and cushion for the foot’s heel. The extra cushioning helps to reduce the shock transferred from the heel to the rest of the body when walking or running. It reduces pressure on areas such as the heel and other areas in the feet that receive a lot of pressure and tension each time you take a step or run.
Insoles for trekking shoes: Fit issues
First of all, make sure to try on different insoles. If they feel too big or too small for your feet, do not buy them and keep looking. Next, you should make sure that fit really matters and you need the proper support for your feet.
Some of the common footwear fit issues are:
- Heel slippage: Heel slippage is common and can be attributed to excessive pressure on the heel, a misaligned or defective insert, excessive use (too much walking), or an old or damaged shoe. If you suffer from this problem, opt for mid to high volume insole.
- Foot elongation: Foot elongation is a common disorder often caused by an injury to the foot or due to genetics. It is best to choose a supportive insole that helps prevent foot pain and discomforts in the knees, ankles, hip back, and neck.
- Arch support: You need the proper arch support and cushioning in your shoes to protect them from damage and prevent chafing or blisters from occurring. If you have a low arch or a collapsed arch, it is wise to get “arch-support” or “supportive insoles”. These insoles will help stimulate your arch muscles to be active by distributing pressure across the base of the foot.
Nazaroo Shoe Insoles are great for arch support orthotic plantar fasciitis, heel spurs & foot pain. They have great breathability and moisture-wicking fabric. The insoles have a silicon pad that provides extra cushioning. Plus, it has a quality EVA material that is suitable for most footwear.
Insoles for trekking shoes: How to fit insoles?
Insoles are an essential part of footwear for many people. The material of the pads placed inside the shoes is made to provide comfort and reduce shock from walking. They are also called insoles, footbeds, or heel cups.
Here are the steps on how to fit insoles:
Step 1: Stand on it before you slip the insoles into your shoes. For this, lift one leg to shift all the body weight to the insole.
Step 2: Ensure that your foot is stable and the heel is cupped and not extended over the edge of the heel cup. Consider a larger insole size if your toes extend beyond the end of the forefoot.
Step 3: Remove the insole from your shoes and insert a new one. Make sure to evaluate the volume of the insole.
Insoles for trekking shoes: How to take care of insoles?
The two most important things to take care of your insoles, by far, are the shoes you wear and the socks you wear with them. Now that you have taken care of those two things, it is time to take care of the insoles themselves.
The ways to take care of insoles are as follows:
- Keep them clean. Dirt and bacteria from your foot can build up if you do not clean your insoles regularly, so make sure to keep them clean after every trip.
- Replace or repair degraded insoles as soon as possible if they have worn through in spots or are otherwise damaged, for comfort reasons and safety reasons as well.
- Use a sponge or brush when cleaning. It will help ensure that the dirt is not ground into the material of the insole.
- The insoles should still be fully effective after six months to nearly a year, but it is still best to replace them every 3–4 months as part of your routine maintenance and for safety reasons. If you think that the insoles are no longer functioning effectively, they may be too old or defective.
- When you clean the insoles, use a mild detergent. It will help them last longer and reduce odor buildup over time. It would be best if you also were careful not to stir the material with a brush or hard-bristled brush, which could damage the insoles’ surface.
- When you install new insoles, make sure that they fit nicely on your foot and feel comfortable before leaving the store. Ensure that you have not bought the wrong size, and do not hesitate to try on different insoles in different stores to find the right one for you.
Hence, these are all the ways to choose the correct insoles for your trekking shoes and how to take care of them.