I spend a lot of time on my feet. I love to hike and will (almost) always choose to walk when I have the time. And with that, comfort is hugely important. I am fortunate to own a selection of great quality boots and shoes that do their best to keep my soles happy. But they don’t always manage it.
I’ve often wondered whether, therefore, I should invest in a pair of insoles to switch out the ones that come in my hiking boots. Generally speaking, good hiking boots come with good insoles, but they do tend to flex and wear over time, and this is normally the first bit to give up. I was given an opportunity to test out the Solestar Hiking insoles, which are designed to replace the insoles inside hiking boots and shoes. I’ve been using them for the last few months, and I think I’ve answered my question…
Solestar Hiking insoles have been developed for the active hiker and mountaineer. The special construction of the soles and the light glass fibre core stabilise the foot in the optimum neutral position and provide more safety and comfort in the shoe, even on difficult terrain. Using these inside your hiking boots allows the foot to be guided into a neutral position via three points and held there consistently, which is said to noticeably improve comfort, stability and control.
It’s worth noting at this point that these insoles are solid. They don’t squish and flex like a pair of memory foam or cushioned insoles. As mentioned above, they have been specifically designed to hold your feet in a constant neutral position, which is supposed to be the best position for your feet to be in when walking, hiking or doing any kind of sport.
Fitting these insoles inside my KEEN and Merrell hiking boots was incredibly easy. Both pairs come with removable insoles, which come out very easily so you can clean your boots properly (I actually took them out before ordering the Solestar insoles to measure them so I was certain to get the right size). The rigid Solestar Hiking insoles then go in very easily in place of the floppy ones I took out of either pair.
The company recommend that you build up your use of these insoles over a few short hikes before heading out all day, and having worn them I can completely see why. I’m just not used to being in that prescribed position all the time! After just one mile the first time I’d got these in my boots, my arches were quite sore, a bit swollen even. Over the course of a few walks of one to five miles my feet got used to them, and now I don’t get any soreness from the insoles. I should add that actually my whole legs ached more than normal on the first few wears of these; my thigh and calf muscles were not used to the position my feet were in either!
As I built up the mileage and wore these on full day hikes, I can confirm these do indeed secure and support the feet, particularly when hiking downhill. I found, especially when wearing my Merrell Chameleon 7s, my feet didn’t move around inside the boot as I’m used to, which in turn meant my toes didn’t hit the front of my boots anywhere near as much – a good thing.
The question is whether these hiking specific insoles have made my feet happier, and whether I believe that investing in a pair is something everyone should do. To be honest, despite the more stable position these provided, I ultimately found the difference to be negligible. What I certainly get with this is a consistent comfort that is the same regardless of which pair of boots or shoes I choose to put on – because my feet always have the same shape underneath them. But I don’t think the difference is as marked as I had imagined it would be, and I don’t necessarily think I was any more comfortable than with the insoles that came with the boots.
At £70 per pair, if you are looking for a solid, strong and stable insole for your favourite hikers, then the Solestar insoles are a good option. If you want to give them a try but are unsure, they offer a six-week money back guarantee.
I was gifted a pair of Solestar Hiking insoles to see what I made of them. As always, posts on Splodz Blogz are based on my own opinions and experiences – I don’t profess to be an expert in anything other than my own thoughts.