Author Topic: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!  (Read 547 times)

gunwharfman

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Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« on: 10:25:14, 27/07/19 »
I have always used Sorbothane inserts for hiking but I'm now looking for a different brand. From my experience, after a fair to a lot of use, the Sorbothane fabric covering starts to peel off and the scrunched up material can become uncomfortable especially on my heels. I've tried resticking the fabric but its never the same.

Inserts may be much of a muchness but are there any other brands and types in your experience that stand out for comfort, continue to support the feet and do not tend to deteriorate over time?

Many thanks

ninthace

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #1 on: 12:43:31, 27/07/19 »
I have found Sorbothane insoles a complete disaster and prefer Sidas insoles https://www.sidas.co.uk/
Solvitur Ambulando

Dread

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #2 on: 12:56:24, 27/07/19 »
I've never tried inserts. I was wondering what the difference is between the pricier versions like Sorbothane and the cheap gel versions you can get on Amazon etc.? Is it just endurance?

kinkyboots

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #3 on: 13:00:35, 27/07/19 »
After seeing the Sorbothanes regularly mentioned on here I recently bought some Sorbothane Double Strike just to see if they were any good. I've not used them enough yet to offer a meaningful review but my initial impression is that they are extremely heavy in comparison to others I have used and offer far less in the way of actual foot support. The difference in overall comfort is also much less than what I was expecting.

There are basically two types of insoles available on the market and your decision should be based on whether you are looking for foot support and correct foot positioning (harder and more supportive like Superfeet, Sidas and Sole) or whether you are looking for softer spongy cushioning for your feet (like Sorbothane).

Brands which are regularly mentioned on here are Superfeet (Green or Blue), Sidas and Sole so those brands may be worth investigating further. Be aware that the one's providing foot support and correct foot positioning may take some time for your feet to get used to them and in my experience it's worth persevering with them until your feet adjust to them.

All insoles have a usable lifespan. None of them last forever and they all deteriorate gradually over time/miles and need replacing occasionally as the foams used in their construction all compress eventually.

I've not had the top fabric separate on any insoles I've owned. This may indicate that your boots are incorrectly sized and too big for you allowing your feet to move about inside the boot loosening the top fabric. I've noticed that you've mentioned on more than one occasion that you sometimes wear your boots with the Sorbothane insoles placed on top of the boot's own insoles - that can't be right can it?

It could just be a difference in build quality and possibly explain why the Sorbothanes are half the price of the other type.

Of course  washing them occasionally may help to extend their life and get rid of dirt, grime, salt build up and stink.  ;)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #4 on: 15:47:35, 27/07/19 »
...are there any other brands and types in your experience that stand out for comfort, continue to support the feet and do not tend to deteriorate over time?

Of the brands mentioned, I've only used Superfeet insoles and (for me anyway) they meet all of those requirements. I bought my first pair (Blue) to replace the not-very-good originals in my Scarpa boots. I bought my second pair (Green) to replace the also not-very good originals in my Scarpa approach shoes, as well as to add volume. And when I won a pair of Berghaus boots (for letter of the month in a walking magazine!) I had to guess the best size (because they were being sent to me) and they turned out to be slightly too big, so I bought Superfeet Trailblazers for comfort and to add volume.

I never think about insoles while I'm walking, so I guess they're doing what they're meant to do!

gunwharfman

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #5 on: 16:13:42, 27/07/19 »
I've always bought my boots with both the original inserts and Sorbothane's fitted. As my Sorbothane fabric started to peel off I kept them going by putting the original inserts on top of them. I personally found long ago that after walking for hours, often my feet would feel too tight in my boots so to relieve them I'd just take out the original inserts for a while. By doing so it just offers enough boot space to carry on walking comfortably until I was ready to settle for the evening. In the morning I'd just re-insert them before starting off again.

I also carry a spare pair of thin inserts (from old boots) just in case my feet get wet, doesn't entirely solve the problem of wet boots but it does help a bit, at least my feet feel dry underneath. With a sock change as well it can make the difference between feeling miserable and feeling better about the miles ahead. I just use a couple of clothes pegs to secure the wet inserts to my rucksack. They can then dry very quickly.

At the moment I have a pair of Salomon Quests, with Sorbothanes in and original inserts (they are good in their own right) on top, supremely comfortable. Like walking on air. I'm sure this time I will purchase the type that offers foot support and give them a go.

gunwharfman

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #6 on: 16:25:50, 27/07/19 »
To Dread, just not sure of the answer. I use the cheap gel ones in my off-road running shoes (on top of my Superfeets) and in my day to day shoes, they all work well. I've never thought of putting them in my hiking shoes, I'll have a go in the week and see if I can arrive at an opinion.

I have only used my Superfeet once in my old hiking shoes a couple of years ago. They didn't work well then because the heel plasic was too high and caused me a painful half-circle skin heel irritation. I've since shaved the heel area down and they now work well in my off-road shoes.

As I've been typing this I started to think about how many pairs of inserts have I got? Five, four in use! Totally ridiculous, I just seemed to have accumulated them over time.

kinkyboots

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #7 on: 17:31:12, 27/07/19 »
I've always bought my boots with both the original inserts and Sorbothane's fitted.

The question I would ask is why on earth do you do this?

Because of the increased thickness of the Sorbothane insoles most people struggle to get a Sorbothane insole into a correctly sized and fitted boot. Most find they need to go up by at least a half or full size just to be able to accomodate the increased thickness of the Sorbothane insole which causes the foot to sit higher up in the boot and to then be able to wear them without the boots rubbing across the tops of their toes.

You are somehow actually managing to wear boots with two insoles in them on top of each other which, if nothing else, tells me that your boots are both extremely oversized and very badly fitting which can't be a good thing for your feet.

My advice would be for you to make the decision as to whether you want increased foot support and correct foot positioning or whether you want increased softer spongy cushioning for your feet. Once you've made that decision use just one type of insole in a correctly sized and fitted boot. If you try mixing both types of insole in the same boot because of the different way they are intended to work they will fight each other - one type holds the foot firmly allowing very little movement while the allows the foot to move as it cushions and absorbs shock. You can have support and correct foot positioning or you can have improved cushioning but you can't have both in the same boot!

If any minor volume adjustments need to be made to improve the fit this can usually be achieved by using either a volume reducer under the insole or by wearing thicker or thinner socks as required.

gunwharfman

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #8 on: 18:36:56, 27/07/19 »
I can only reply by saying it works for me and I walk comfortably, with minimal jarring and do not get blisters or other feet problems. When I first started hiking I suffered a lot, especially with blisters, the ones on my heels were the worst, followed by the ones on the ball of my feet, the toe ones I could live with. My breakthrough came when a Cotswold Outdoor's man measured my feet and advised me to buy women's boots or shoes from then on. That did the trick, no more blisters. I then quickly moved on to my present arrangement to stay light of foot and to be comfortable with long distances. Socks are obviously a part of it, these days I wear medium body socks and I practice good feet massage and care, two or sometimes three times a day, depending on the weather and terrain.

As stated in my previous entry my present Salomon Quests, are for feet comfort, my best yet. When I walked from Keswick to Edinburgh in April they performed really well. Salomon claims they are waterproof, I don't know if they are yet, I walked in a bit of rain but not really enough to know for sure as yet.

gunwharfman

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #9 on: 09:54:53, 28/07/19 »
Sorry I explained my socks/inserts relationship badly. Nowadays I take two pairs of medium weight socks and two pairs of thin socks. Depending how I have arranged my inserts, either both in, one in or the other in depends on which socks I may wear at the time. I try to adjust to suit my feet at the time, how many miles I've done, if its hot or cold, do my feet feel a bit swollen or not, etc? So for example, on days when its hot and perhaps my feet feel swollen I may use my Sorbothanes plus thin socks, or my original inserts and my medium socks? I just try to achieve the best combination to suit how my feet are feeling at the time, how good my legs feel, what type of terrain I'm walking on and so on. I tend to do decide on which combination to use, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. It may seem to be fussy and complicated but its not really, just something I've tried to develop for myself to try to feel good for as long as I can each day. In the early days of my hiking I really didn't like to feel so achey in my feet and legs, by mid afternoon my legs could feel like lead! Some nights were painful as well as I tried to sleep, tossing and turning trying to find my best position and stopping my legs aching into the night. So by trial and error I have tried and am still trying to improve things for myself. Nothing I do can offer perfection but in order to enjoy every mile, especially on a long and tiring stretch, its 'good enough.'

kinkyboots

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #10 on: 11:09:57, 28/07/19 »
I still don't understand why anybody would ever want to put two different types of insoles in boots at the same time as it clearly requires over-sized, over-volumed and badly fitting boots to achieve this but at the end of the day why change something which you've found by trial and error that works for you.

Given your high mileage long distance multiday walks you are in a completely different situation to the vast majority of the rest of us and may just need to consider replacing the Sorbothane insoles more frequently at the first sign of any materials deteriorating to avoid problems. It might also be worth looking into what guarantee (if any) Sorbothane offers - I had a quick look but could not find any mention or details of any guarantee or any recommended replacement time or mileage. In terms of the cushioning type of insoles Sorbothane are the clear market leader and have very little in the way of any serious competition.

Another option might be to condsider something like the custom moulded insoles now available from Sidas and others. Quite a few bootfitters, outdoor stores and ski outfitters now have the vacuum forming machines available which make these although this type of insole are not cheap at around 80 a pop.

Ronin83

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #11 on: 23:43:58, 28/07/19 »
It's not that easy to find the perfect boot, in fact it's very hard to. I've been to shops where the so called experts have measured my feet and insist that this boot and that size is right for me, when actually they're clearly squashing my toes and very uncomfortable. Feet are all different and ultimately you will make a compromise somewhere. I hate having my toes cramped width ways which often happens because of the traditional shoe shape. So, I go for a bit bigger to accommodate. As a result I often need to take up volume which I do by using thicker insoles or I too have used 2 together before.
It's whatever works for you, sorry kinky boots, but it's really not an exact science as much as you want it to be.

kinkyboots

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Re: Hiking boot inserts, mine are done for!
« Reply #12 on: 08:45:48, 29/07/19 »
Whilst I agree that everybody's feet and requirements to achieve a well fitting and comfortable boot are different there is a correct way to remove excess volume from a boot and putting a second insole of a different type on top of the unstable platform of the first insole is not it.

The correct way to reduce excess volume in a boot is by placing a volume reducer/adjuster under your chosen type of insole. Doing this provides a firm and stable platform for your chosen type of insole to work correctly when it's placed on top of the volume reducer.

To fine tune the volume of your boot volume reducers/adjusters are available from a number of different manufacturers such as Sidas, Superfeet etc. and depending on manufacturer they are available in 2mm, 3mm, 4mm and 5mm thicknesses at prices  ranging from 3-5 per pair. Decathlon do a 3mm Aptonia Hike 50 volume reducer for 1.99. You could even use two volume reducers under your chosen type if insole if required and it would still be cheaper than the cost of using a second proper insole.
« Last Edit: 09:30:35, 29/07/19 by kinkyboots »