When hikers are buying a new walking boot or shoe they are always thinking about the ankle support and how wide or narrow the boot or shoe is, which of course is correct, but when we mention to them how does their arch feel in the boot we tend to get an interesting look.
Although all walking boots come with a foam insole this really isn’t enough to properly support your arch. After a while peoples feet start to feel fatigued or tired and that’s when the aches and pains kick in. This is purely down to the arch support (or lack of) that your walking boot or shoe gives you.
So let’s talk about insoles, there are two styles of insole a rigid insole and a cushioning insole with shock absorption but which one is best for you?
Well if you are looking for an insole purely for hiking then we would recommend a rigid insole. The main reason is purely based on support, a rigid insole won’t mould to your feet, your feet will mould to the insole.
Yes that does mean that you will feel slight pain as you walk around in your walking boots with new insoles so we recommend every two to three hours (or if the pain is becoming too much for you) take them out and let your arches rest. You will only have to do this once or twice though.
What this does is build up the strength in your arches and means (once you have got used to the insole) you will be able to hike for longer and without any pain whatsoever! Rigid insoles also help build up your foot's “fat cells” and over time your feet will start to build natural “shock absorption” giving you even greater support and strength in your feet.
If you were to buy shock absorption insoles your feet wouldn’t be able to build up your natural shock absorption and could cause even more problems down the line. Everyone’s foot has two primary motions:
- Pronation: this is the body’s natural way of absorbing shock. When your foot pronates, the foot expands as it absorbs your body weight and adapts to the surface underneath your foot. Because of the hard, flat surfaces we walk on our feet have a tendency to stay in the pronated position. This is a common cause for flat foot.
- Supination: this is your foot's natural way to provide a strong, supportive foundation for the body. During supination the foot rebounds from the pronation position to become a rigid lever which helps the body stand upright and propel itself forward.
- Low Profile: this has a low arch support, so if you have good arches and want to keep them that way then a low profile insole will offer you great support in all types of footwear.
- Medium profile: Most people have a medium profile aka slightly flat footed (this is mainly due to the ground that we walk on) a medium profile insole will offer great support in most foot types.
- High profile: You have probably guess what foot this is designed for, yup flat foot. If your foot is more pronation rather than supination then a high profile insole will help you build up your arch support.
The volume guide tells us the amount of volume needed in a walking boot or shoe when combined with the insole:
- Low Volume: This insole will fit all types walking boots and shoes included the ones that have a fixed insole.
- Medium Volume: This type of insole will fit most walking boots and shoes including boots with fixed insoles.
- High Volume: This insole will only fit “roomy” insoles that you can take the manufacturer's insole out.
Using the above information you can now look at your feet and judge what type of foot you have, which you can then relate to find your perfect insole.
We are all trained here at Simply Hike at fitting new insoles so if you get really stuck (and of course if you live in Kent) you can pop down to our shop and we will be happy to fit you up with the perfect insole.
Now we have made you think about how your feet feel when you’re hiking, and whether an insole might help stop the aches and pains and offer better support to your arch. But are you still stuck about which insole to go for?
Luckily for you we sell only the best insoles from the best insole company; Superfeet. The following insoles are our most popular insole with our customers on our website and in our store:
The Blue from Superfeet is a trim-to-fit insole that has been designed as an “all-rounder” to improve all types of footwear. The biomechanical shape that the Blue has to offer has made it one of the most popular rigid insole on the market. The heel cup helps position the heel properly to absorb impact and the antimicrobial coating helps reduces the chance of odour causing bacteria growth. The Blue is a medium profile insole which is why it’s a great all-rounder catering for the needs of people with low and high arches.
Green is the 1977 original insole from Superfeet! The Green is the widest and deepest heel cup in today’s insole market giving the users ultimate support. The Superfeet Green can be used with most walking boots and shoes apart from boots that have fixed insoles. The Green is a high profile insole making it ideal for the hiker with a flat foot that really wants to fix his or hers arch problem.
The Carbons are a trim-to-fit insole that are lightweight but have a very high performance, the carbons are aimed at the dedicated athlete. The technology that has gone into Superfeet’s Carbon took several years to develop due to its carbon and polymer mix.
Due to the carbon fibre you can really put this insole through its paces and still keep the comfort that all Superfeet insoles offer. The Carbon is a low profile insole which is ideal for people with great arches and just want a bit more support when hiking.
We hope that this blog has given you a better understanding why insoles are so important when hiking and why rigid soles are much better for you than shock absorber insoles. Of course we have told you about our three best sellers of insoles but we do stock more on our website.
Do you own a pair of Superfeet insoles? If so please comment below on how you got on with them! We would love to hear your story.