Hiking is one of the most pleasurable outdoor activities to get into. That feeling of reaching the peak after a long, treacherous hike is what keeps hikers hooked. But the fulfillment shouldn't be barred by a painful journey for women hikers like you who are suffering foot pains and discomfort. You can use hiking insoles with your hiking boots to make your journey to the peak less fatigued and painful for your feet.
This article will shed light on the common hiking shoe problems women encounter on the trail and explore how insoles can help and which ones you should try on for the best outdoor experience.
Typical Shoe Fit Problems Women Encounter When Hiking
Slipping heels is the result of your shoes giving too much allowance to the heel area. It would feel like your heels are always trying to "slip" out of the heel socket that you might as well just wear flip-flops.
This shoe fit problem can make it uncomfortable for you because it messes up your hiking cadence and your decision to take the next step without slipping.
This is usually a result of buying the wrong hiking shoe. We've all been there. We saw a hiking shoe, it's got good features and fits well when we initially tried it on. But then, after several usages, we find out that it's a little loose on the heel. Luckily, you can fix this with the correct insole.
Elongation of the foot
When your foot tends to widen in width when planted firmly on the ground, you're experiencing foot elongation. Unfortunately, buyers don’t take this into account when trying on a hiking shoe, resulting in tighter fits that should and can cause friction, discomfort, and injury on the foot. Insoles can be used to prevent the elongation of the foot while also making the shoe comfortable for the wearer.
Low or Fallen Arches
Low or fallen arches are commonly caused by damaged or overly stretched tendons. As a consequence, your feet get fatigued easily and may experience pain and inflammation.
Fallen or low arches can be an even bigger problem if your shoe doesn't support your low or fallen arches and may even aggravate the pain. Luckily, there are support insoles women can use during a hike that support weak arches.
Importance of Hiking Insoles for Women
Insoles bring in volume inside your hiking shoes and fill the spaces caused by a loose fit. As a result, your feet will be comfortably secured within your shoes. It would give the feeling that your shoes and feet are one and every step you take will be stable. The insole's improvement on the fit will also allow you better judgment on your foot placements in any incline or trail you hike.
Corrects Foot Alignment
Excess supination and pronation are foot misalignments that could throw off your foot mechanics, affecting your entire body. It can cause pain in your ankle, knee, hip, and back. If the misalignment continues, you could be at risk for plantar fasciitis or inflamed foot sole.
Insoles are designed to keep your heels comfortable and firmly placed in your shoes. It is molded for your foot not to tile outward or inward so much but remains in optimum alignment so you can avoid pain and injuries caused by foot misalignment.
Most hiking shoes are focused on function relating to the environment where they will be used. So when you buy a hiking shoe, you'll find that it's excellent for keeping your feet planted firmly on muddy terrains or slippery rocks. On the other hand, there's a trade-off on comfort, and our feet become fatigued halfway through the trail. Insoles provide cushioning to your entire foot. It reduces the impact when hiking, making your feet less prone to the stresses caused by outside elements, which fatigue them.
The arch of your feet is similar to a car's suspension. It is responsible for absorbing the shock caused by your feet striking the ground during locomotion. There are certain conditions of the foot where the arch is weakened, and the distribution of shock and weight throughout your feet becomes unbalanced. Common conditions such as having flat feet can cause pain on the foot that could extend up to the hips.
Insoles provide support for your arches to support the body's weight and absorb shock from each foot strike. This means you don't have to put up with the constant foot pain and other discomforts associated with it every time you go for a hike.
Types of Insoles
There are two basic insoles out there in the market: support insoles and comfort insoles. Different types of insoles out in the market lean towards these two types, or it could be a combination of both. Get to know what their functions are so you can choose which works for you.
Support Insoles / Sport Insoles
These types of insoles are mainly for supporting the arch when you're wearing a shoe. It's rare for shoe manufacturers to design shoes with arch support because they cater to the mass market. On the other hand, shoes that have arch support features tend to be customized for the user's arch type.
Support insoles can be slipped inside the shoes to bring stability to the wearer by evenly distributing the pressure when the foot hits the ground, thereby making the foot more stable when walking, running, or standing and prevents pain.
This type of insole focuses more on catering to less strenuous foot activities. The cushioning materials used are commonly foam or gel to provide an added comfort benefit.
If you're looking for a combination of support and comfort insoles, or if you want a customized one, you'll have to know the profiles of the insoles that can be played around with. Below is a quick list of these insole profiles.
Low - The arch does not protrude as much and provides little support. Best used by women with low arches.
Medium - Ideal for neutral foot arches. This profile offers an adequate amount of support.
High - This arch type is for optimum arch and heel support and is recommended for those who suffer overpronation.
Recommended Arch Insoles Women Must Have
Ever stopped to ask yourself what a good arch insole should be?
It all comes down to how your foot feels. Most of the time, women have different varieties of shoes having each variety serve a different function, and, for the most part, those shoes don't feel amazing when worn. This especially applies to women's hiking shoes.
Our recommended hiking insoles for women will help in making the most of your hiking shoes. This insole will feel amazing on your foot, that you can cross off the hiking shoes on the list of shoes you're dying to take off as soon as possible.
Powerstep Orthotic Insoles for Women
Powerstep has a wide range of insole products that cater to any arch type. So whether you have a low, neutral, or high arch, there's a Powerstep insole for you.
Powerstep's insole products range from mild arch support (the comfort variety) to firmer ones. They play around with the insole's specifications, the length of the insole, met pads, and arch support strength. Here are the types of insoles they sell based on your needs:
- High Arch Support
- Normal Arch Support
- Low Arch Support
- Comfort Insoles
- Insoles for Pronation
- Insoles for Metatarsal Support
For starters, if you're a neutral arched foot, we're recommending the Pinnacle Hiker Neutral Arch Support insoles. These insoles cover the entire length of your feet and have a plush cushion to give that perfect balance of comfort and support. The Pinnacle Hiker insoles are a reliable partner for trail running and hiking.
With these insoles, you'll want to put your hiking shoes on all the time.
You Need Hiking Insoles
Hiking insoles will be a good investment if you're a frequent hiker. Your hiking shoes may be causing you pain and discomfort whenever you use them due to a lack of insole support or comfort features, and it could be a source of nuisance, or worse, injury. Hiking insoles are a practical option if you don't want to replace your hiking shoe with a new one. Not only will it provide you support or comfort, but it will also save you money in the long run by keeping your feet healthy and your shoes more enduring of wear and tear.