Rating: 9 / 10
Value for Money 1.5
My hiking shoes and boots are on the larger size (size 14-15 US). What this means is that I have a very limited range of hiking footwear available to choose from to achieve not just that ‘perfect fit’ but also a level of comfort. This is where the Superfeet insoles come in. With the exception of my high-end Scarpa boots, which have a high-end insole already (along with a high end price), nearly every boot and walking or hiking shoe I own, has Superfeet insoles, and this has been my practice for over 10 years.
These premium insoles are replacements to the factory fitted insoles provided by the manufacturers which in many cases are almost non existent and often don’t last for very long. These insoles help to provide a cushioned although firm platform that supplements shoes cushioning. I have used lightweight hiking boots in the past and while solid, had no cushioning at all and the Superfeet provided just the right amount to minimise the jarring that can occur when carrying a heavy pack on hard surfaces. By looking after your feet, the rest of your body benefits after a long days hiking.
The insoles themselves are ‘solid’ rather than gel based types. My current footwear of choice is the Merrell FST’s, that will usually last the around 1000-1200 km mark. While the shoes last, I generally find the insoles, which doesn’t provide enough cushioning, have collapsed long before that and so I start to get hot spots and with that, potentially blisters.
Buying replacement insoles for specific brands of shoes is not usual practice and unless you want to place a special order is not something that you can do very easily. The Superfeet insoles however are widely available world wide; at least in most western countries so it is possible to maintain the same fit and comfort wherever you go in an easily locatable insole
Every so often I try other brands and have tried a number of well known ‘gel’ insoles from chemist stores; Never again. While other brands are cheaper they don’t last very long and I usually find that the fabric covering starts to delaminate, which creates hotspots. Apart from being uncomfortable this can also contribute to blister formation.
The main negative for the Superfeet insoles is the cost and for me, a size ‘G’ (I think that’s code for giant) the cost, is around $60AUD. I have to factor in this additional cost when I buy new shoes. I am currently getting ready for a long distance thru hike (1000km+) and have just bought two pairs of my favoured shoe (with great difficulty as they are being replaced with a new model) as well as three new pairs of Superfeet inserts. While this does bump up the shoe price I value the increased comfort over the initial price bump. The value for money and its definitely there and I’m willing to pay the financial price rather than the comfort and injury price.
Superfeet come in a large range and even though you can select the hiking activity to reduce the choice there are still many options identified. I have used four of the options, Superfeet: Green, Orange, Carbon, and Blue, and each one has its own features.
The Green appears to be the most common choice for most hikers (from what I’ve seen on the trail) and provides good all-round support. The Orange is almost the same but provides an additional layer of cushioning on the front of the foot – something that is needed on the really rocky trails such as the Australian Larapinta Trail. The Carbons are relatively thin and provides a cradle for your foot rather than a cushioning effect which works well in some shoes where you don’t want that extra bulk. About 18 months ago I started using the Blue Superfeet. This version provides less arch support but fits my previous shoe of choice the Salomon XA Pro 3D’s, which already have good cushioning whereas the Green insoles just didn’t work with this shoe at all. I also use the Blue Superfeet with my current shoe of choice the Merrell FST as the stock insoles don’t provide any cushioning for my feet. I swap out the insoles every 350km and find that this distance will provide good comfort and support on my hikes.The combination of shoe and insert creates only one of two shoes that will keep me comfortable on long multi day hikes with a full pack.
I recommend the Superfeet insoles very highly and while they may not work for everyone, if you have feet issues when you hike, try these out and you may be surprised the difference to your comfort level they make.
Superfeet won’t fix all your feet/gait issues and for those with mechanical problems already using orthopedics your best bet is still with a podiatrist who will recommend suitable options
The cost – they’re not cheap and particularly in the larger sizes are up around the $60 mark. Having said that they are great value for money and well worth it.
All types of hiking particularly good for long distance
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Men’s, women’s and children’s with a wide range made for different types of activities
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer