Best Insoles for Hiking
It’s impossible to enjoy a hike if your feet are killing you. Even with high quality boots, you may still have issues with foot pain.
That could include general aching feet, but could be as bad as hot spots or blisters. That’s when you should consider getting insoles, which can provide extra comfort and support.
Boots and shoes usually come with an inexpensive insole, which is most commonly just a layer of material. An aftermarket insole can help your hiking boots fit better, be tailored to your foot, and improve arch support and comfort. As a hiker, quality hiking insoles can help with shock absorption. And if you have issues with flat feet, an insole may be an absolute necessity.
Even without intense pain, insoles can help with foot fatigue, add stability, reduce moisture and odors, and reduce stress on your feet from hours of hiking.
Here’s what to think about when choosing the best insoles for hiking boots.
Things To Consider
Types Of Footwear
There are different styles of hiking boots and shoes.
Hiking shoes tend to be softer and more flexible than hiking boots. But hiking boots provide better ankle support and ensure better protection from the elements.
Then there are military boots, or combat boots, which are designed to withstand extreme conditions and extreme use. Some people prefer hiking in these.
While you may have a preference for the type of boot or shoe you use, that shouldn’t have an impact on your decision about hiking insoles, as they should fit any type of footwear.
Types Of Insoles
Insoles will generally be described as having two main characteristics: volume and profile.
Volume refers to the amount of space the insole will take up in the boot or shoe, for instance whether it can be added on top of the existing insole. Low, medium and high volume insoles are available.
Profile refers to the arch support. If your arches have good support, you can choose low arch insoles. There’s also medium profile, which covers most average foot types, and high profile, which is for people with flat feet.
You can also opt for boot heel inserts, which will cradle the heel to prevent slippage for those who have narrow heels.
There’s also a choice when it comes to the material of hiking insoles.
Gel Insoles: Embedded in a foam insole are liquid gel bubbles. They’re durable because the gel resists compression, but they can be heavy and add to the weight of your boots. They also don’t breathe very well. However, they do provide good shock absorption and retain their shape. They’re also easy to clean.
Cork Insoles: A cork design gives you a lightweight insole that’s also naturally moisture-wicking. That helps with odor control. Cork is soft but sturdy, so there’s plenty of support and comfort.
Air Insoles: This time it’s air bubbles embedded in the foam, providing comfort, support and cushion without the compression over time that happens to foam alone. That makes these long lasting. They’re also breathable.
Foam insoles: Usually made from memory foam, these don’t last as long because they compress over time. They do provide comfort and shock absorption, and they’re light.
Finally, there are specific characteristics of the material of insoles that impact your decision about the best boot insoles for hiking.
Waterproof Insoles: Ideal for those who know they will be hiking in wet weather, or whose feet sweat a great deal, and want their insoles to stay dry.
Weighted Insoles: If you really want to boost the exercise value of your hikes, you could choose weighted insoles. They will add weight to your boot, meaning they provide light exercise any time you walk with them. You’ll be working harder every time you lift your foot, adding to your workout. These may not be the best replacement insoles for hiking boots if you do a lot of really long hikes.
Breathable Insoles: If you can’t stand hot feet, your feet sweat a lot, or you’ll be hiking in hot weather, a breathable material will be important to you.
Cushion Insoles: The amount of cushion you choose depends on what you need in an insole. If you have lots of foot fatigue and need maximum shock absorption, you’ll want to choose a cushion insole. If you simply need to keep your heels from slipping, you could look at getting heel inserts. If you need arch support, you’ll be looking for a high profile insole.
Thick Insoles vs. Thin Insoles: This comes down to a personal preference and feel inside your shoe. Do you want to take out the factory insole and choose a thick insole? Or would you rather insert a thin insole on top of the existing insole?
Memory Foam: Some people swear by memory foam, whether that’s on their bed or in their shoes. Memory foam insoles will mold to your feet, allowing for excellent energy transfer because of the many contact points between your foot and your shoe. They can be very comfortable, and they’re light, but remember that they do compress over time so they aren’t as durable or long-lasting as some other options. Memory foam also doesn’t breathe.
Best Insoles for Hiking
These are designed for hiking boots and trail shoes, and made in men’s and women’s sizes.
Made of dual comfort foam that’s moisture-wicking with odor control. Ideal for hiking or just being on your feet for hours. A deep heel cup keeps your foot in place, preventing your heels from slipping and your toes from jamming into the front of your boot when you’re on uneven ground.
They’re also good for any arch height. They provide support and stability, preventing blisters and hot spots, and minimizing foot fatigue. “Heel Impact Technology” disperses impact to provide cushioning on those difficult ascents and descents. Also durable enough to last 12 months or 500 miles.
- Made specifically for hiking.
- Fit a range of arch heights and foot types.
- Good for 500 miles.
- May not be ideal for those with high arches.
- The heel cup may irritate some feet.
These are made of a shock-absorbing foam base with an antimicrobial top fabric that reduces heat, friction and odors. There’s a firm arch support and a heel cradle for stability.
The dual layer cushioning with EVA foam reduces impact while providing stability with every step, even on tough terrain.
Sized properly, they don’t need to be cut to fit, so you can use them in a variety of boots. There are sizes available for women and men.
- Anti-microbial top fabric is a bonus for odor and moisture control.
- Firm support and good cushion.
- Does have a high arch.
Ideal for those who want lightweight insoles. Made from ultra-thin cork, the insole provides support and cushioning without added bulk, thickness or weight. Layered on top is a breathable Polygiene odor control sheet. This wicks moisture away to keep your feet dry and ward off odors.
Designed with a “met” pad that helps with metatarsal pain by protecting the ball of your foot from excessive pressure. They also provide shock absorption. Available in men’s and women’s sizes.
- Lightweight and sleek.
- The odor control layer is great.
- Cork doesn’t mold to your foot the same as other materials.
Made of a dual layer of gel cushioning and a honeycomb design to reduce pressure points by absorbing impact. Designed ergonomically to contour to the foot. Has a neutral arch to support all arch types, from low to high.
These also have a textured base to ensure a firm grip to the inside of your shoe, preventing slippage and adding stability. Lightweight silicone gel construction doesn’t add bulk or weight to your boots. Also retain their shape with a resilient construction.
Comes in two sizes, small and large, with guidelines that correspond to sizes for men and women, and then you trim them to fit the shoe.
- Lightweight and cushioned.
- Grips to your boot to add stability.
- Sizes aren’t custom and have to be trimmed to fit.
While these aren’t designed specifically for hiking, these are an ideal choice for an orthotic insert, particularly if you suffer from plantar fasciitis or flat feet.
Considered medical grade orthotic inserts, these also help alleviate other foot pain like heel pain, arch pain or ankle pain. Made of EVA foam with multi-layer cushioning, you can use these for hiking, walking or running. Covered with a breathable fabric to minimize moisture and odors.
Designed with a deep heel cradle for stability and a silicon cushioned heel support for shock absorption. Comes in sizes for men and women.
- Medical grade orthotic inserts for those with foot issues.
- Breathable fabric to minimize odors.
- Not designed specifically for hiking.
This synthetic sole is made with the OrthoLite® technology and dynamic arch support. The design is made to minimize fatigue while absorbing shock, featuring an inverted cone foam design to disperse weight.
They have a neutral arch and are lightweight with a neutral profile that should adapt to most feet. Comes in sizes XS-XXL with guidelines to correspond to men’s and women’s sizes.
- The Timberland name is known for high performance boots.
- Innovative design to maximize support and minimize foot fatigue.
- May have to be cut to fit.
Choosing the perfect insole for hiking boots may come down to a personal decision, and all of these products are good choices. But we like Powerstep Journey Hiker Shoe Insoles as our top pick for the best insoles for hiking.
Here’s why we like them best:
- Materials: The foam base is shock absorbing with the bonus of an antimicrobial top that will help minimize friction, reduce heat, wick moisture and keep odors at bay.
- Construction: The design has a heel cradle to stabilize your foot and a firm support for arches. Even on tough hikes, you’ll be confident with a stable step and shock absorption.
- Sizing: They’re also sized properly so they shouldn’t have to be cut to fit.
Unisex: Available in sizes for women and men.