Hill People Gear Forums
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralInsoles for BackpackingInsoles for Backpacking
Previous
 
Next
New Post
12/28/2016 8:36 AM
 

Hey guys.  I'm an occasional hiker and backpacker.  Don't get a chance to hike too much now that we have a child but every winter some buddies and I go for a 2-night winter backpacking trip in the Laurel Highlands of PA.  I try to stay in shape generally and make sure I'm ready for the winter backpacking trip.  I almost always get bad knee pain during the trip.  I tough it out but it gets pretty bad.  I also usually have some general foot pain from what I think is not enough cushioning in my hiking shoes.  I wear Vasque Mantra hiking shoes.  I was wearing my Merrell Phaser Rush boots but they felt like I was walking on cement.   I'm sure some of my discomfort could be alleviated by training more with a properly weighted pack, but I am thinking of trying a good insole like Superfeet.  I heard that the right insole can work wonders with foot/leg comfort while hiking.  Just wondering if any of you wear aftermarket insoles in your hiking footwear and what your experiences are.


"The time has come to stand for all we believe in..." Hillsong United
 
New Post
12/28/2016 9:26 AM
 

My daughter HAS to have Superfeet in her hiking boots.  I'm currently battling a very persistent case of plantar faciitis and replaced my daily shoes (Merrels) with New Balance 990's with New Balance orthotic insoles.  It appears to have helped.  I'm considering green Superfeet for my other shoes.

 You may also have mobility issues (IT band) that can cause knee pain, or you could have hip issues that contribute.  Sometimes chiropractic care works wonders.

 
New Post
12/28/2016 11:05 AM
 
It can definitely be tough to dial-in your footwear once you start having troubles--what works for me, with my high arches/rigid forefoot/supination might only exacerbate your problems if your foot is structured differently. Green Superfeet might be a starting point, but if you're not sure if they're helping, I'd head to a podiatrist sooner than later and get custom orthotics made. (Of course, you might have to change boot sizes/models if the orthotic takes up more volume than your used to.)

As for knee pain, it might seem counter-intuitive, but I find that being pretty religious about doing deep squats (or one-legged, supported squats now that I'm working around a herniated disc) seems to help matters; likewise, deadlifts to keep that posterior chain strong, will help a lot, especially on a long downhill.

 
New Post
12/29/2016 8:18 AM
 
You might need trekking poles more than insoles.

Be wary of cushion. Cushioning increases friction between your insole and sock, leaving the layers of your skin as the "slip joint" where friction is overcome. Liner socks will help, but will not eliminate this problem. The shoes that feel best walking around the store will feel worst after 20 miles.

* FWIW, this is also true of bicycle saddles.
** FWIW2, the custom orthotics you'd get from a podiatrist wouldn't be especially cushioned. I don't know why. I suppose a podiatrist could tell you.

Superfeet are great when you're stuck wearing oxfords or cowboy boots, but athletic (hiking) shoes should have those benefits engineered in. Unless your hiking insoles are worn, I'd suggest keeping the $50 in your pocket.

I do believe in taking care of my body, but you're either going to wear out or you're going to rust out. For a once-a-year trip, take some Ibuprofen and (try to) forget about the knee pain.
 
New Post
12/29/2016 12:39 PM
 
Alex wrote:


Be wary of cushion.

 I used to say stuff like that, then I got old.  "Suck it up", "Drive on Ranger", "Travel light, freeze at night".  The lexicon is endless, and I, of all people, am chief of sinners.

All that won't fix something biomechanically  wrong with your feet, if that in fact is your condition.  Ditto on the trekking poles.  I just bought myself some new flickloks.

 
New Post
12/29/2016 3:43 PM
 
Take-a-knee wrote:

 I used to say stuff like that, then I got old.  "Suck it up", "Drive on Ranger", "Travel light, freeze at night".  The lexicon is endless.

Amen!! But, for an annual trip, I still think "suck it up" is a pretty good plan. If I want to start solving problems, I'll be better off starting with The ergonomics of my office chair. That's just the reality of my life right now. I assume (We all know what that word means. Sorry, OP) the OP is in a similar position.

That being said, this IS an outdoor forum, but, even there, I think the money could be better spent somewhere else.

 
New Post
12/29/2016 5:38 PM
 
I used to use Superfeet in my hiking boots. Then I tried Sole. It all culminated with a high mileage day where I alternated between Superfeet and Sole. The Superfeet felt nearly crippling towards the end of the day but the Sole had me trucking right along. This, besides the hotspot that Superfeet always gave me directly in the center of the ball of my foot. Now my hiking boots always have Sole on the trail. Around town, I tend to use stock insoles or thinner to promote foot strength and conditioning.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
12/29/2016 6:02 PM
 

Are you using the "active medium"? I looked at these a long time ago, but went with the Superfeet. Might have to give these a go when my other insoles wear out.

 
New Post
12/30/2016 1:52 AM
 

I've had good results with the green and blue Superfeet.  I ran the green ones in my boots during a military selection process moving long distances over rough terrain under heavy pack loads at a fast pace.  I am certain the extra support offered by the plastic part of the soles helped save my feet from some of the pounding and protected my arches.  Because the Superfeet helped me a lot during that, I still run them in most of my footwear.  I'm okay with the Sole models, like the insulated ones that I use in some winter boots, but appreciate the Superfeet more for really rough terrain, especially with boots that have a soft rubber compound in the outsoles.

Also, I spent plenty of time toughening my feet up prior.  Agree with the trekking poles.  Those save large amounts of pressure and pounding to joints, particularly on downhill sections.  Lots of stress and pounding along with slight variations in leg structure can create an altered gait that then manifests to produce knee pain, as well as hip and spinal issues.  An old saying among soldiers that have spent long hours moving under heavy rucks: "Don't cheat your feet."  Destruction accumulates over time and translates later to chronic foot and joint problems.  Better to support them early instead of just sucking it up.  Sore / tired feet from long distances is unavoidable, but lasting damage is avoidable.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
12/30/2016 10:59 AM
 
Another consideration is that your feet can change over time, so a system that worked fine a couple of years ago starts causing problems: feet get longer and wider, while the "fat pad" on the ball/heel can start to decrease, so you lose that source of natural shock absorption. For myself, one of the more irritating results of aging has been that I'm more prone to blisters as my skin has lost elastin/collagen--especially apparent after my feet have "pruned up" from an afternoon of wet-wading.
 
New Post
1/2/2017 8:28 PM
 
Eric Fine wrote:

Are you using the "active medium"? I looked at these a long time ago, but went with the Superfeet. Might have to give these a go when my other insoles wear out.

 

The ones I use most I call "cornholios" because they have some shirtless dude on them called Dean Karnazas or something who instantly got dubbed cornholio. They're the medium thickness ones. I also use the lowest thickness ones in some applications. The mountaineering thickness ones are amazing, but I've never found a pair of boots they could be put in without raising my heel way too high in the heel pocket. Sometimes even the cornholios are too thick.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
3/26/2017 3:26 PM
 

First of all, I have flat feet. I always wear insoles with my boots because every boot and shoe I have does not have arch support. What I have found out talking to podiatrists and those that made my custom soles is the software will spread your feet pressure over the entire foot rather than certain points that you feel the pain. It also gives you a little cushion for those boots that you want which are stiff but can edge well on side hills because the vibram sole can take it. If your arches are compromised your knees will take the beating from twisting. I used the superfeets years ago when they first came out. They didnt have enough arch support for me as well as ball of foot cushion. It looks like that has changed. My current custom insoles are expensive. But I learned on a 10 mile hike up 1800' ft that the custom helped with the outside foot squeeze that would happen with my boots. 6yr old Asolo 520's I think. May be the predecessor. It prevented the annual squeeze on the outside of my arch and also any ball of foot problems. Since you are using the mantras, they don't look like they give much ankle support for large loads. Haven't used trekking poles but know they would help as well. Providing balance for four points rather than your shoes and ankles taking it all.

 
New Post
4/4/2017 5:30 PM
 
Evan, thanks for the tip about the "cornholios".
 
Previous
 
Next
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralInsoles for BackpackingInsoles for Backpacking