View Full Version : Insoles

02-09-2010, 20:21
OK, I've went through all the different "Dr. Scholes" insoles at the CVS pharmacy and they are all crap for hiking. I've got a pair of Asolo GTX boots that need some help. I've read here about the Superfeet insoles but there are a lot of different "Superfeet" insole types. Which ones work best for ya'll?

02-09-2010, 20:26
I've been wearing the green Superfeet insoles for the last couple of weeks in my trail runners.

They felt weird at first (as the instructions that come with them say they will), but they're very comfortable now, and in fact I had a mild case of plantar fasciitis and after a couple of days wearing Superfeet, it felt completely better.

I haven't tried anything but the green ones, but I read somewhere (maybe here) that the green ones are a little more firm, best for trail runners; the orange ones are a little more padded and good for boots. I don't have personal experience with the orange ones though.

02-09-2010, 20:39
I don't suggest that you choose a type of superfeet based on a poll. My understanding is that superfeet are a sort of off-the-shelf orthodic, with very limited ability to try to tune to your personal feet by a couple (three?) different models. If superfeet work for (and reasonably fit) you, then you might love them and recommend them, while if they don't happen to work too well for you, your recommendation would be otherwise. I.e., I think you have to figure it out for yourself.

If going to a foot doctor and getting custom orthodics is too expensive, one alternative is the type of inserts that you heat up in the oven (http://www.rei.com/product/752606) and then mold to your feet. I don't have extensive experience with these, but they might work for you.

A sort of middle ground might be to spend $100 on some sort of custom insoles sold via the internet (http://www.footsmart.com/C-Custom-Orthotics-17.aspx); I also have no experience with these, though I've bought other things from this company.

This stuff is so individual; if I didn't already have specific foot problems, I'd be a happy camper with the factory insoles that my normal hiking shoes come with ...

02-09-2010, 20:40
I really liked the original Orange, so of course they changed the design. Took out the metatarsal "bump" and added too much padding in the toe area. I complained to the PR folks who apologized, said it was an engineering decision, supposed to work better - NOT!

They sent me a free pair of green, which, truthfully, I haven't tried yet. Others like them.

I liked the original Orange, because they added a small amount of padding to the ball of the foot, where I was having problems with nerve pain. This was pretty much solved with these. The originals worked great. The new version had so much padding, that the shoes no longer fit and cause other problems.

Ahh well, seems to always happen. They get something that works, then re-engineer it until it doesn't.

02-09-2010, 21:09
I have used the green and switched them out from shoe to show when one broke down or wore out depending on if you asked me or the manufacture. This last hike I had some issues but not sure if it as because I may have worn the Superfeet out Heel Blisters was the problem. How many miles do most of you get on your Superfeet for those that use them?

02-09-2010, 21:09
OK, I've went through all the different "Dr. Scholes" insoles at the CVS pharmacy and they are all crap for hiking. I've got a pair of Asolo GTX boots that need some help. I've read here about the Superfeet insoles but there are a lot of different "Superfeet" insole types. Which ones work best for ya'll?
I'd recommend seeing an CCEP (Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner). Not everyone can use over-the-counter insoles, in fact, they can cause more problems than they solve. CCEP can let you know if over-the-counter are appropriate or if you need custom-made insoles.

02-09-2010, 21:09
A guy on another forum swears by New Balance insoles. Haven't tried them yet, need some for my boots, but I never wear boots anymore, so...........

02-09-2010, 21:35
not worth the cost, just get a good pair of boots to begin with.


02-09-2010, 21:44
I used to use Superfeet greens, but I guess my arch has flattened, so now I use blues.

02-09-2010, 21:44
In winter I replace the insoles with wool felt insoles, even in my trail runners.
They don't provide arch support, but they are warmer, and can be dried out.
I suppose you could still add some arch support too if you needed it.

02-09-2010, 21:52
A good resource to help you on the subject are thefolks at Mt. Rogers Outfitters in Damascus. Since there store sits right along the trail, they tend annually to the feet of hundreds of AT hikers, and they recommend and custom fit Superfeet.
276-475-5416 http://mtrogersoutfitters.com/

02-09-2010, 21:59
I don't suggest that you choose a type of superfeet based on a poll. - BrianLe
That's some good advice.

My understanding is that superfeet are a sort of off-the-shelf orthodic, with very limited ability to try to tune to your personal feet by a couple (three?) different models. - BrianLe
Not to put down Superfeet, I used them somewhat successfully for a few yrs, but I would have to agree.

I'd recommend seeing an CCEP (Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner). Not everyone can use over-the-counter insoles, in fact, they can cause more problems than they solve. CCEP can let you know if over-the-counter are appropriate or if you need custom-made insoles. - Phreak
Absolutely correct. More sound advice!

I find VERY few hiking shoes, trailrunners, joggers, or boots that have sufficient stock orthotics that support my type of feet out of the box. I virtually always go with after market orthotics but I also deeply understand my foot characteristics as well as the terrain of my hikes, weather patterns, and hiking styles.

At the very least, if you are serious about treating your feet right, then learn about your feet's characteristics and seek out orthotics that support your kind of feet and hikes. Running and some hiking/backpacking websites can be helpful in this regard.

No matter what you decide on orthotics and hiking shoes purchase them where knowledgeable staff can help you make wiser choices.

Many Walks
02-10-2010, 00:29
For me the Superfeet insoles are too hard. My preference is Spenco Backpacker insoles that give me great cushion and support.

02-10-2010, 01:32
For me the Superfeet insoles are too hard. My preference is Spenco Backpacker insoles that give me great cushion and support.

And one more option--I've started using both! Not at the same time, though. I found Superfeet Blue work well for me on trail (the green feel like I'm standing on a log). I can get over 2500 miles from one pair, so it's worth the $35 to me. When I need to hike a section of road, all to common out West here (25 miles or more is not uncommon), I switch out to Spenco for that nice "bedroom slipper" feeling. That's worth the $10 and an ounce or two.

I assume you know that Superfeet do not provide any padding at all--just hard, immovable support. Also, there's nothing wrong with taking your knife and modifying stock insoles. I sometimes cut off the toe section for more room in the toe box. Some buy a few sizes too big to get the arch in the right place, and cut them down.

Mr. Clean
02-10-2010, 05:56
I've been wearing the green superfeet daily at work and they have helped my feet. I took a chance on them and they helped my feet and arches a great deal. I also feel that the arch support may be too far back, but they are better than anything else I've tried so I continue with them.
I must be about ready for a new pair, I've worn these for about a year and a half.
If you have bad foot trouble, I'd take the time to go to a specialist, though.

02-10-2010, 08:30
I have the Sole brand heat moldable ones in my ski boots, snowboard boots, and hiking books. Many of the Superfeet take up to much volume for me. Also beware that due to the hard plastic ridges many Superfeet are not reccomended for goretex boots as they will cut the goretex over time.

Additionally, if your in bad enough shape to spend the time and money on going to a chiropractor, perhaps a visit to a podiatrist is in order instead.

02-10-2010, 09:21
Superfeet are designed to hold your foot in a position where your natural padding can work the way it's supposed to. They may seem hard but that's what keeps your foot aligned so that your foot can provide the cushioning that otherwise might be supplied by a soft insole to the detriment of your foot.

I experienced this firsthand during my 1999 thruhike.

By the time I got to Damascus, I had a lot of heel pain. I was analyzed by the team at the Superfeet booth at Trail Days. While sitting down, with no weight on my feet, someone pressing a thumb into the bottom of my heel hurt a lot until he did the same thing after cupping the outsides of my heel and forcing the soft tissue back where it belonged. Same pressure - no pain.

With my unusual and extremely hard-to-fit feet, I ended up with Custom Greens and after the initial break-in period, ended up very happy with the insoles. My heel pain was resolved within days. I've been wearing Custom Greens or Superfit Everyday ever since.

All this being said, everyone's feet are different. Make sure you understand why your feet hurt before you try to fix them. Only then can you get an insole that will address the problem you are having.

Whatever it takes, don't scrimp on your footwear. Keeping your feet happy will go a long way to keeping the rest of you happy.

Stitches, AT99

02-10-2010, 13:40
Look at www.OrthoSole.com (http://www.OrthoSole.com)

The footbed comes with interchangable arch and metatarsal supports, a Poron (tm) base and a small gel heel strike.
Very comfortable.
Not as soft as many, firm support with comfort.

:D Cool new company

Smart too! They hired me! :rolleyes:

The web says $59.95 actually....$49.95 retail.
They will fix the web site soon)

02-10-2010, 17:30
I have also tried super feet insoles, they just didn't feel good. I have since been using SOLE moldable inserts in my trail runners. over 100 miles on them and my feet love um.

02-10-2010, 17:33
I am an orthotic rebel.
I use orange Superfeet in my trail runners.
I have very flat feet and the extra thickness helps me fill up my shoes.

I will be posting a disclaimer on the use of Superfeet in Gore-tex footwear in a minute. I just read the info that comes with the orthotics thoroughly yesterday.

02-10-2010, 18:06
Go with Superfeet Green insoles. Be sure to give them 2-3 weeks of break-in time so they will shape to your foot before you hike full days in them. If you have higher arches and narrower heels, this will probably take less time, but allow for it any way.

02-10-2010, 18:46
i had custom orthotics for years but now i use Aetrex Lynco L425 and am having great luck with them. i'm not a packpacker (yet) - i just hike in North Georgia and they really help me. so much so that i'm going to try more than just day hiking soon.

03-31-2010, 09:50
I use the green version of SuperFeet in all my hiking boots, and have never been dissappointed. They offer support and stability, but you need to look at them again after about 6 months, to see if they are still doing their job.

09-19-2010, 23:51
thinking of the superfeet. out of curiousity, has anyone tried the dr schools machine that scans your bare feet and recommends which new dr schools orthotic is best for you?

09-20-2010, 05:28
I do alot of barefoot hiking, so i don't like too much unnatural cushioning when i do wear shoes. The green Superfeet work great for me

09-20-2010, 08:26
In my opinion, you can't fix overbuilt overpriced shoes, poorly designed for their purpose,
with overpriced inserts, poorly designed for their purpose. Sure you can get custom fitted, and pay big $$$. That doesn't mean you are getting a good product. You can go to an outfitter and get treated the same way, and walk out with a 6 pound load of crap for $300. Trust no one.

09-20-2010, 10:30
Granted I don't have foot problems and am nothing more than a gear geek. With that being said, the Superfeet Greens do better than any stock insole I've ever owned (though the arch support is curiously closer to the heel than I would expect it to be, but not in an uncomfortable way). I especially like the Greenies in my trail runners and street running shoes.

The Spenco Backpackers are even better IMO, YMMV. I've got a set of the Spencos in my hiking boots and to sum up the experience...they make the boots. Try 'em!

09-20-2010, 13:15

I ordered a pair of footbeds by phone from this place. Arrived fine blah blah.

Good pricing on mine, might save someone a couple bucks.

I have only used this place once, but it was OK. Will use them again.

Has anyone tried the Flexifly inserts?

09-20-2010, 13:46
i just bought the SOLE E.V. customs, theyre heat moldable to your feet yet still hold into a proper form shape. once i found out the superfeet have a customizable heat molding footbed at "participating dealers" i did a little research. no participating dealers close to me. went with the soles. the sole website was more comprehensive too, the superfeet one didnt give much info to differentiate their rainbow of colors. mostly the difference is how thick the footbed is. certainly an awful lot of colors for so little difference

09-20-2010, 14:46
I thrud this year and had problems with my feet. I started w/some brand of insoles that were heat moldable from Sports Authority. About 500-600 miles in, the balls of my feet started to hurt. I switched to green Superfeet in Daleville. The feet got painful enough that I took 1.5 days off in Maryland and went to a podiatrist in Palmerton, PA. The podiatrist identified the problem as a lack of arch support - which meant the ball of the foot was taking too much of the brunt of impact.

He gave me a pair of Spenco branded insoles that were left over in the office. They helped and I didn't have the severe pain again. I switched to Sole branded (heat moldable) insoles in NH when the Spencos were breaking down. Same result - sore, swollen feet remained but the severe pain never came back.

Based on my experience, I suggest tracking down Spencos with the hard platic arch or the Sole. At least for me, green superfeet don't provide enough arch support. You may need to experiment.

09-20-2010, 15:03
:-? Have all this years thrus forgotten the Orthosoles they are wearing?
www.orthosole.com (http://www.orthosole.com)
Currently the best I have found both from the footbed design and the adjustable arch and metatarsal supports.
Mountain Crossings, Sundog in Damascus, and Rockfish Gap Outfitters have them.
Do not hesitate to mail order, they are super easy to fit.
Oh yeah, I'm the rep! :D

09-30-2010, 12:23
Insoles. I think they are kind of a scam. I mean, have you ever taken a good look or even taken apart a pair of Superfeet? It's basically a piece of plastic glued to the same cheap kind of insole that comes with a pair of running shoes. I bet you could make your own pair of Superfeet by simply gluing a piece of milk jug plastic to the heel of the insoles your shoes came with.

Another reason they are a scam is they are designed to fix the built-in problems of shoes. They make shoes with a concave surface your foot sits in. This makes your foot look more narrow and fashionable. But it also leads to nerve problems. So they suggested using a metatarsal bump to compensate. Why not just build the shoes flat on the bottom to begin with? I don't care to look narrow-footted and fashionable wearing athletic footwear.

Of the off-the-shelf insoles I've seen, the Soles look like the best made of them all. If you need arch support and all that kind of stuff. They look like they'd last 1000 miles or even more. I knew a guy who didn't bother to heat mold them. He said they would eventually shape to his feet without putting them in the oven.

I found I needed padding more than support so I carried around a bunch of different kinds of thin, cushioning insoles. I could add extra layers for road walking or take them away for extra room for my toes.

Lately I've done some hiking in Chaco sandals. After a long day of hiking, they feel really really hard. Painfully hard. Which just shows me even more that I need cushioning more than arch support.

09-30-2010, 13:07
I am usually content with the insoles that come in running shoes and trail shoes when I buy them, and then I re-used them in other footwear if I really happen to like them. Sometimes I modify them. I like wool felt insoles also, in winter, and will often take out the foam insoles and replace them with wool felt insoles, even in running shoes and trail runners. I often run or hike without any insoles either, even with really lightweight running flats. I try not to run or walk or hike in the same footwear everyday, except on a hiking trip where I would only bring one pair, but not neccessarily the same pair every trip. Sometimes light running flats like Adidas Adizero. Sometimes some trail runners. Sometimes my light leather ankle boots, which I am turning into ankle moccasins by the way. It is good to have some extra room to play around with different socks and insoles, but you don't always have to wear insoles, or even socks. I think it is good to give your feet some variety.

09-30-2010, 14:26
after 3-4oo miles I'll get some 7-10$ insoles at the grocery store and get a few 100 more miles before my shoes wear out.:o:confused::rolleyes::D

09-30-2010, 14:42
Hmmm. Sort of my thoughts. Better to put the money into new shoes. I really want to get away from all this nonsense by making my own shoes. Can't be that hard really. Ideally you could do it with readily available materials, and light tools, so you can repair and replace them as needed at any time during a thru-hike, perhaps even getting some of the materials from the woods. The more replaceable and repairable they are, the lighter they can be, because if they wear out you can fix them or replace them.

So I don't think weight or durability would be the issue with DIY shoes. I don't think the insole or uppers or construction would be much of an issue either, even for something that would work year round, rain or snow or shine. I think the biggest obsticle to overcome would be a material for the sole itself, that provides enough rigidity for stumps and sharp rocks but also enough grip at the same time. The grip is the hardest part I think. I think leather will work, but the right kind of leather isn't really readily available. I think it is grippy enough though, by the time it gets a little gummed up with spruce and whatever. Spruce gum is a readily available material, at least up here. Maybe you could carry some supply of some rubber in a tube or something, and use that to seal whatever material you use for the shoe itself. Whatever is available at the time. Leather, some fabric, even woven reeds or a heavy pair of wool socks maybe. Perhaps something like an epoxy or polyurethane or even linseed oil to stiffen and seal the sole of the shoes, and then rubberize the outside maybe, with shoe goo or spruce gum, with something mixed in, and then heated maybe. Egg whites might work. Sulfur could act as a vulcanizing agent.

09-30-2010, 19:27
I always replace the footbeds in any footwear soon after purchase. The cardboard placed in new footwear is a joke.

10-01-2010, 01:20
Superfeet green for every mile that I hike. 1000+ miles per pair. The foam insoles that come with my trail runners go immediately into the trash.

Granted, every foot is different, but I have never had any foot issues hiking and I did a lot of 20+ mile days on the AT last year with little foot fatigue of discomfort.

10-05-2010, 13:34
superfeet green worked well for me but hiker boxes usually have new insoles from others that spend the money on replacement insoles.

10-05-2010, 19:30
I'm a believer in good support. My feet absolutely need it. Too many years of abuse wearing ill fitting no support combat boots. I now use Sole insoles and would not think of walking or running even 1 mile without them. My house flip flops are Sole slippers. Great product. I tried Superfeet and returned them because the arch support was nonexistant compared to the Sole. Just my 2 cents.

The Cleaner
10-05-2010, 19:48
I've been using Spenco in soles for about 10 years.They now have several different types&sizes.Now I'm using a half insert for extra protection in heel area...Check 'em out,not too pricey either....

10-05-2010, 21:21
Hello Limps Along,

My advice for what it's worth:

Avoid superfeet at all costs. I've tried them and they gave me excruciating foot pain under balls of my feet. These insoles provide minimal give and that may be part of the problem.

My personal favorite brands are 1) shockblockers and 2) Spenco. Get the heavy duty variety designed for backpackers.

These insoles are foam and provide lots of give. I've never had foot pain with either of these brands.

That said.. the first order of business is a good (and properly fitted) pair of boots! Make sure they are well broken in too before any long trip.