The Importance of Hiking Insoles

Question: What‘s the quickest way to ruin a hiking adventure and distract you from the beauty of the great outdoors? Answer: Pain.

Thankfully, we now have the technology to prevent said pain, which can include aching feet, shin splints, sore muscles, knees, and back pain. A good pair of orthotic insoles or inserts can make all of the difference in the world and keep you going strong through the completion of your journey.

It’s pretty common knowledge that if you plan to hit the trails that you’ll need a good pair of hiking boots, but too many people stop there. Experienced hikers will also tell you to make sure that your hiking boots fit your foot well, have adequate ankle support, and a high lacing system, and of course, the hiking boot should be waterproofed. Unfortunately, the standard insoles that come with a pair of hiking boots just don’t provide enough stability. This can lead to long-term problems including fallen arches, overpronation, and plantar fasciitis. Hiking boots also tend to be a roomier shoe which is another one of the reasons why well-cushioned hiking insoles are important. You want to be able to fill up that space so that the boots fit your feet like a glove versus slipping and sliding causing blistering. By adding a proper pair of hiking insoles to your boots, you can not only keep your feet and body properly aligned for pain and injury reduction but also prolong the life of your boots by preventing uneven wear.

So what makes for a good hiking insole?

There are three primary features found in hiking insoles: heel cup, arch support, and extra cushioning. A heel cup assists in using your own natural fat pad on the bottom of your heel by holding it in place to absorb shock and weight. Arch supports assist in keeping the foot arch from over-collapsing and causing undue stress on the many small muscles and tendons on the sole of your foot. And extra cushioning is a big plus in hiking insoles for reduction of foot pain from the stress during prolonged usage, and protection from walking and landing on jagged rocks while hitting the trails. Extra cushioning is particularly important on the sole and on the balls of the feet.

Below are some of the best  hiking insoles that we recommend; you can view our entire selection here:

Powerstep Journey Hiker Insoles – Featuring a semi-rigid arch support and maximum cushioning specially designed for use on rugged terrain in your hiking boots, hunting boots, or trail running shoes. Designed with a deep heel cradle to further stabilize the foot, dual-layer cushioning for maximum comfort and shock absorption, and a friction-reducing, heat-reducing antimicrobial top coat to keep your feet cool and comfortable.

Pedag Viva Outdoor Insoles – Serious foot support for those that like to go the distance. Ideal for arch and forefoot support and pain relief. Includes a shock absorbing heel cushion and thin design to fit comfortably in tighter shoes and boots. The Viva’s bio-mechanical design provides firm support for the entire foot.  The orthotic gently shapes your foot to ensure proper longitudinal and forefoot arch functions. The jute felt top liner prevents abrasion and hot spots in addition to added cushion and insulation with an active charcoal filter fiber bottom cover to prevent bacteria and provide odor control.

Superfeet merinoGREY Premium Wool Insoles – Featuring a patented stabilizer cap for hiker’s seeking a rigid orthotic arch support and optimal underfoot support with a deep heel cup to cradle the heel’s fat pad for improved natural shock absorption. The merino wool top cover regulates temperature and naturally wicks moisture away from the feet. Recommended for high impact casual shoes, and hiking, hunting, industrial, military, rain, skiing and snowboarding boots.

Birkenstock Birko Active Arch Support Insoles – Built off of the original Birkenstock sandals and footwear platform for a familiar foot comfort feel and orthotic arch support for your everyday shoes. The thin style insole which is designed for tight fitting shoes and high impact activities will provide a deep heel cup for natural cushioning and shock absorption, natural contoured rigid arch support for longitudinal medial arch support, and a low impact metatarsal support.

New Balance Pressure Relief Insoles with Metatarsal Support IPR 3030 – a thick cushioned arch support insole designed with a thick plastazote memory foam from heel to toe -including a deep arch and metatarsal pad for maximum cushioning in everyday life, athletics, standing, running, walking, hiking, and work. Constructed for those seeking to take up volume in roomier shoes and boots for extra cushioning for shock absorption and arch support. Ideal for providing arch support, extra shock absorption, cushioning, and targeted heel and arch support for even foot stability.

Orthaheel Shock Absorber Insoles – Ideal for those not used to an orthotic arch support seeking a thinner profile cushioned insole for tighter fitting shoes and boots. Featuring a deep heel cup, arch cushion, and built-in heel and forefoot padding for increased shock absorption and energy release to assist with one’s stride. A mild foot support assists in reducing excess pronation, which contributes to flat feet, low arches, and collapsed arches. The insoles also feature a tri-planer motion control arch support that stabilizes and supports the foot into a natural (neutral) position.

Powerstep Pinnacle Maxx Orthotics – Designed specially for people looking for a little extra support especially those carrying a little extra weight (over 200lbs +). 25% firmer than the Powerstep Pinnacle with a deeper heel cup and a 2-degree medial post for improved foot control and positioning. Featuring a shock-absorbing EVA/VCT double layer cushion for added comfort, and an anti-microbial top fabric that reduces friction and heat.

Check out our Hiking Insoles Guide for more info, and our Hiking/Backpacking/Military Boot Insoles page to view all of our products in this category. For sizing and other questions, please visit our Insoles Guide. Happy trails to you!