Hiking Insoles: Benefits & Differences

Posted in: Hiking + Outdoor
Hiking insoles differences blog hiking lifestyle

Few things in life can compare to hiking through a remote alpine valley filled with wildflowers, crystal clear streams, snowcapped peaks, and cool fresh air. 

Hikers put in the hard miles on the trail to experience such special moments. Those rare glimpses of untouched nature that few people get to see. However, getting to these remote dream locations is not easy and it takes a lot of work and a lot of miles.

Any hiker or backpacker will tell you that their boots are one of, if not the most, important pieces of gear that they have. What they won’t tell you is that the best hiking insoles inside those boots are the real secret to helping eliminate blisters, sore feet, and injuries. 

You can have the best boot in the world with full-grain leather and massive lugs, but without the best hiking insoles inside they won’t help you like they are designed to. 

That is why Superfeet has a dedicated line of insoles for hiking and outdoor adventures, for those looking to go the distance on the trail.

Hikers around the world benefit from the advantages of using hiking insoles. From alleviating foot pain and injuries to offering support and comfort, hiking insoles are worth their weight in gold. Trail-specific insoles stabilize your feet on uneven ground and enhance comfort, even on the roughest terrain. 

Let’s explore some of the benefits and learn the differences between the Superfeet hiking-specific insoles — then you can decide which options you would like to try.

What are the main benefits of Hiking insoles?

Just like a hiking boot, hiking insoles offer a variety of benefits. From the material used to the specific features for every facet of your foot, Superfeet specialists sweat every little detail of these hiking insoles so you don’t have to.

When starting your search for the ideal insole to take you the distance on those dusty, rocky trails, it is good to know the benefits insoles have to offer. Superfeet hiking insoles can play an important role in providing the following benefits:

  • Improving the fit, feel and function of hiking boots and outdoor-specific footwear
  • Reducing foot fatigue while hiking
  • Resolving and preventing common foot and lower leg injuries

What should I look for when getting hiking insoles for the first time?

Let’s take a look at what hikers need to take into account when purchasing hiking insoles for the first time. 

There are different types of hiking insoles available for different environments. Each specific type of hiking insole provides the most benefits according to terrain and usage.

Here are three basic questions to consider when buying hiking insoles for the first time:

  • How does your hiking shoe/boot fit?
    •  Tight, just right, or loose?
  • How are you using the insole? 
    • Long/short hikes, ski, snowboard, etc.
  • What is your desired underfoot experience?
    • Firm and supportive or soft and less structured?

Based on these questions you will be able to zero in on the specific type of hiking insole that will work best for you.

What makes Superfeet insoles for hiking different from the competitors? 

We know there is more to choosing an insole than just your arch height. Every hiker is unique, with their own needs and preferences.  That’s why Superfeet offers different styles of insoles to meet the needs of all types of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you like the feel of a structured orthotic or prefer to wear a cushioned insole that feels like it is built right into your hiking boots, there is a Superfeet hiking insole to make your next adventure a lot more enjoyable.

No matter which Superfeet hiking insole you choose for your boots, you’ll experience the proven benefits of signature Superfeet shape. Celebrated by outdoor enthusiasts and worn and recommended by medical professionals since 1977, the orthotic shape of Superfeet is built with three key elements that combine to give your feet and body comfort and support where you need it most, even on your longest, toughest outdoor adventure.

Some of the main features Superfeet hiking insoles offer include:

  • Rearfoot support: The contoured arch shape in Superfeet is felt further back than what you might be used to from a more traditional arch support.  Based on proven principles of podiatric science, this placement is intentional, designed to enhance the way your feet are intended to move, dispersing impact and decreasing stress and strain on your entire body. 
  • Structured heel cup: The design of the Superfeet heel cup helps take the soft tissue already under your heel bones and cradles it together to make your own personal heel cushion, helping maximize your body’s natural shock absorption 
  • Energizing foundation:  Designed to be durable and withstand your hardest runs, all Superfeet insoles are built with an energizing, reinforced foundation.  Like the perfect mattress, the combination of comfort foam with the base of stabilizing support helps your feet feel as good at the end of your run as they do at the start. 

What is the difference between Superfeet Trailblazer Comfort Insoles for Hiking and Superfeet ADAPT Hike Max Insoles?

Odds are when you are five miles into a backpacking trip, the last thing you are thinking about is the insoles in your boots. At least that is the hope. By putting in the time and energy in advance to find the insoles that work best for your feet, you will be able to forget about them on the trail and focus on reaching the next pass or mountain summit. 

The ADAPT Hike and TRAILBLAZER are two lines that Superfeet offers for hikers looking to reach the next level on the trail. There are advantages to each, including having top-of-the-line materials to enhance their purpose as well as the shapes.

Let’s take a look at the mechanics of each type of insole, and the type of hikers that can benefit the most from each line.

The main differences in each of these lines revolve around the individual hikers’ personal preferences and history with insoles. This speaks to the adaptive, or soft, to responsive or firm, spectrum in which your preferences lie. Do you want a firm, more present insole or a more cushioned, softer footbed?

  • ADAPT HIKE MAX: For the latter option, these insoles provide maximum step-in comfort. They also reduce foot fatigue and have a minimal break-in period. Think of this as a lower dose of Superfeet shape.
  • TRAILBLAZER Comfort and TRAILBLAZER Comfort Women's:  Inversely, these insoles deliver a more stable, supportive feel under the foot. If you want a “higher dose” of Superfeet shape in your boot, then these are the insoles for you.

Superfeet insoles are built to deliver exceptional comfort and smooth and efficient energy transfer through your gait from foot strike to toe-off in each step. Trail-specific insoles stabilize your feet on uneven ground and enhance comfort, even on the roughest terrain.

Superfeet Hike Cushion

Superfeet Hike Cushion insoles are designed to feel like they are part of your footwear, with flexible, cushioned support to keep you moving comfortably all day. Designed with Adaptive Comfort Technology, these comfortable orthotics for hiking flex and adapt to your foot's natural motion. These are great for someone new to wearing an aftermarket insole or someone looking to replace the stock insoles in their boot to add some additional cushioning. 

Hike Cushion Features

  • Adaptive Comfort Technology (A.C.T.)
    • When traversing a rocky trail, your foot moves every which way. It’s not flat like a sidewalk. That’s why this technology is designed to flex with you as you traverse those epic trails. These hiking insoles adapt your footwear to the way your feet move, so wherever your foot goes, your insole is there to provide comfort and support.
  • Energizing Heel Cushion
    • Regardless of the terrain, hiking is hard. After long miles on the trail, your heel is going to take a bit of a beating. This technology knows that and disperses the impact while reducing vibration to minimize fatigue. Basically, the longer you hike the more this feature will make you feel fantastic on the trail.
  • Responsive Forefoot Zone
    • Hikers get in the zone when they are deep in the wilderness. We want your insoles to do the same thing. That’s why this responsive forefoot zone adroitly blends cushioning and rebound to add a spring to every step. This insole zone keeps you in the hiking zone.
  • Aerolyte Dual Comfort Layer
    • This sounds fancy and technical, but basically, it means that the base of the insole supports the rear foot. At the same time, it provides structure and stability to the foam layer. This transfers to a more comfortable and secure hike. 

Hike Support insoles stabilize your feet on uneven ground and enhance comfort, even on the most challenging hikes. If you want a more supportive insole, Hike Support is a great option.

Hike Women’s Support, while similar, is designed for the dimensions and contours of a woman’s foot. It too will stabilize your feet on uneven ground and enhances comfort.

Let's take a closer look at some of the key features of these insoles: 

  • H.I.T. or Heel Impact Technology POD
    • A bruised heel is nothing to mess with. This H.I.T. technology disperses impact for tough ascents and descents. This ensures your heels, and you,  can keep on hiking.
  • AEROSPRING™ Ascent Dual Comfort Foam
    • Sometimes two are better than one. That’s the case for Superfeet’s two layers of heel-to-toe cushioning which helps reduce fatigue and provides reliable stability for the rigors of a good hike. 
  • EVOLYTE® Carbon Fiber Stabilizer Cap
    • Stability is everything when it comes to hiking. And the more weight you carry the more stable you need to be. That’s where the Superfeet proprietary carbon fiber and polymer blend provides responsive, weight-defying support and stability for the trail.

Can insoles help with plantar fasciitis and other foot pain while hiking?

If you have suffered injuries or foot and leg pain in the past, having a more firm insole, or a higher dose of Superfeet insoles, can help. The Superfeet shape can reduce foot fatigue and help resolve common foot and lower leg injuries. 

Hiking with plantar fasciitis is no fun. If you suffer from heel pain after hiking, shin splints, patellofemoral pain syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, and IT band syndrome, you can benefit from a strong Superfeet insole shape.

Trail-specific insoles stabilize your feet on uneven ground and enhance comfort. The following features are essential elements of a hiking insole that can help hikers prevent and relieve foot pain and injuries:

  • Heel Cup - helps prevent heel slip and toes from hitting the front of the boot
  • Arch Shape - made to stabilize the foot on rough terrain, reducing stress on feet, ankles, knees, and back
  • Durability - Superfeet insoles keep their shape, delivering reliable support and comfort for up to 12 months or 500 miles, whichever comes first
  • Moisturewick™ technology - long-lasting odor control and moisture management

In the end, the best insoles for hiking boots are the ones that are comfortable for you. Superfeet believes that comfort is king, and you should settle for nothing less when hiking on the trail. 

Take it from these happy hikers:

"These insoles are supportive and comfortable. I hiked for 19 hours straight without any discomfort or blisters. My feet were happy!"

– Judy P. | Hike Cushion

"I got these insoles for my new La Sportiva hiking boots. They made hiking the AT with good boots even better - my feet were the only part of me NOT aching after 8 hours of hiking."

– Beth B. | Hike Women's Support

"After using their online tool to find my best match, I decided to purchase the Superfeet Trailblazer comfort insoles. Even just holding them in your hand, you can tell that they are a significant upgrade over anything that comes in your shoes from the factory. I love the firm arch support coupled with excellent padding just where you need it most. And they're built like a ton of bricks, so they hold up extremely well."

– Joseph M. | Hike Support

So, next time you gather gear for that overnight backpacking trip, or pull out the trekking poles for a high alpine hike, make sure to slip some Superfeet hiking insoles into your boots. Your feet will thank you! 

January 3, 2023