HikingGears tipsTips for beginners Practice TipsFamily, babies & childrenSnow & cold weather Where to go ?Hiking responsiblyNature Explore
During a trek or a hike, your feet are constantly under pressure.
Hence the importance of having the right equipment: shoes and socks, of course, but also insoles.
So why, and how, do you choose an insole specially designed for your sporting activity?
We give you all our tips!
Do you want to enjoy more comfortable feet and reduce the likelihood of blisters?
Perhaps it's time to change your insoles!
Some people don't know it, but a good insole is the ultimate element in completing the winning trio of foot care when hiking, in addition to a good pair of socks and shoes.
Depending on your need for comfort, shock absorption or even warmth, you will choose one model over another.
We give you all our tips to make the right choice!
Simply because depending on our sport activity, we will not get the same benefits from an insole.
If you are a running enthusiast, you will need an insole that provides cushioning and recovery. So, if you're a fan of hiking (which we assume you must be as you're reading this), you're going to need an insole that provides support, breathability and comfort.
A hiking or trekking insole is designed to give you maximum comfort on the most technical terrain.
It provides good support for the foot and eliminates any "give" that might cause it to move. Because if there's too much movement between the insole and your shoe, it can cause rubbing... perfect conditions for blisters!
The other reason to look for hiking-specific insoles is that they are designed to reduce fatigue (especially on long technical hikes or treks).
The longer the effort, the more weight you carry in your backpack and the more the foot collapses and stretches, the more strain is put on muscles and joints.
In this case, a good technical and comfortable sole will help you to get tired less quickly.
When hiking, your body tends to absorb impact and vibrations.
Hiking shoes offer extra cushioning that can be further enhanced by insoles.
There are some technical insoles designed specifically for better vibration and shock absorption.
Some insoles are designed using materials with cushioning and enveloping properties for enhanced flexibility, comfort, balance and improved foot position within the shoe.
Some insoles have a better distribution of plantar pressure. This is the case with memory foam insoles.
Some of them even have inserts made from technical materials that improve shock absorption in the heel strike: they are ideal for long, multi-day hikes or treks, providing optimal comfort.
If you already have a shoe insole that meets many of your expectations, there are also heel pads that can be placed under the sole to improve vibration absorption and walking comfort. To note: the heel pad is not suitable for 100% of shoes.
It’s important to make sure that it does not cause discomfort or a deterioration of the support of your foot in the shoe.
Are you setting off to conquer snow-capped peaks?
You'll need some good boots and a pair of warm socks.
For maximum comfort, you'll need good ground insulation.
So remember to opt for an insulating insole.
Some of them are made from a felt fabric which acts like a thermal barrier against the cold. Good insulation (boots and insole) can keep your feet up to 5°C warmer because there's nothing more unpleasant than having cold feet during a mountain hike! because, don't forget, we lose a lot of our body heat through our extremities (I mentioned the feet, the hands, but also the head). So, in winter, when you put on your gloves and hat, don't forget your feet!
Pamper them with Merino wool socks and insulating insoles.
Your toes will thank you!
Are you going hiking for a few days or even several weeks?
Are you planning on exploring new trails during a week-long trek?
If the answer is yes, you’ll need insoles that give you good support, to reduce your tiredness.
"During a long excursion, your feet begin to flatten. Gradually, you change your way of walking. This change can put too much strain on your muscles and joints," explains Julien Ettel, Quechua’s product manager for socks and insoles.
To compensate for this progressive collapse, some insoles offer you support solutions in the heel or instep for more stability and support, and thus promote a more upright posture.
Finally, the choice of insole may be influenced by the desire to avoid a problem experienced by numerous hikers: blisters.
Blisters generally appear when our skin is rubbed by chafing, whether it's caused by our socks, shoes or foreign bodies.
Humidity (caused by perspiration or external elements) may also play a role as it weakens our skin and therefore makes it more susceptible to this type of friction.
But we mustn't overlook the importance of insoles in helping to prevent the development of blisters.
"If there's any give inside your boots, your foot is going to move. These repeated micro-movements can cause rubbing and over-heating. In extreme cases, you can get a second-degree burn, called a phlyctaena, more commonly known as a blister.
An enveloping insole, designed to fit the shape of your foot will reduce this risk.” explains Julien Ettel.
Be aware of the material of your sole.
If you use a smooth leather city shoe insole, rather than a technical product specifically for hiking, you are bound to have some friction. Our hiking shoe insoles, like our shoes and socks, are designed specifically for hiking.
At Quechua, we have chosen to use open-cell foams to absorb moisture in the shoe.
Indeed, moisture in contact with the foot accelerates the drop in temperature in winter conditions and increases the risk of blisters.
In addition to the multitude of insoles that exist, it’s important to choose the right size so that the insoles, your shoes and your socks form a unique combination that will fit your foot.
This is why it’s important to find your perfect size.
Please note that sizes are not standardised between brands, a 40 from Decathlon for example will not be the same as a 40 from another brand.
The width and length dimensions will then differ depending on the brand. The perfect pair will not be immediately available and ready to use.
That's why our insoles cover 2-3 sizes so that you can adjust them to your feet!
Simply take the size of the insoles that include your shoe size.
Next, get a pair of scissors, a felt/pen, some insoles you already have (either old insoles or the insoles of the shoes you are going to add your new insole to, to make sure you have the right shape).
Then it's time for a 5 minute handiwork session!
Don't worry, we’ll explain the process:
- Use your "old" soles from your current shoes as a model.
- Place your new soles that you have just bought on top of them. The reference point is the back, with the heel. Be careful to line them up.
- Mark the outline with the felt pen.
- Finally, cut the excess on the front part following your line.
There you go, your insoles are adjusted to your feet, you can put them in your shoes and go on an adventure!
Bear in mind that an insole, designed specifically for your activity, will help "improve the fit" of your boot or shoe by offsetting the difference between the volume of the foot, which is unique to each individual, and the dimension of the shoe which is a standard size.
It helps minimize rubbing and in-shoe movement.
Did you know?
It’s important to remember to remove your insoles and dry them, especially after a long hike or for multi-day treks.
Finally, all our insoles are comfort solutions and not medical orthoses.
They can never replace orthopaedic insoles designed especially for you and your needs by care specialists.
In case of persistent pain during your hikes or treks, or if you have any doubts or questions, do not hesitate to consult a podiatrist.