Thru hiking involves racking up some mega mileage. Obviously, this sort of hiking puts special strains on your body, especially your feet. Ensure your feet (and you) make it to the end of the trail by taking precautions prior to the start of your journey, beginning with your shoes and insoles. In this post, we’ll share some ways you can care for your feet on the trail as well as what to look for in the best insoles for thru hiking.
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Choose Your Footwear Carefully
The most important thing you can do before you begin your hike is purchase quality footwear. After all, your feet are what will be supporting your weight and your pack mile after mile. Look for lightweight, flexible footwear with insoles that are designed to provide your feet the cushioning and support they will need to take you where you want to go.
Hiking boots are heavy and stiff—not ideal for long treks that may involve a variety of terrains and trail conditions. Cross-training shoes or trail-running shoes will give you flexibility and stability without the added weight. Whichever shoes you pick for your thru hiking expedition, replacing the standard factory insoles with semi-custom inserts like Tread Labs Stride Insoles will improve your comfort and support.
Common Hiking Foot Problems
Even the healthiest feet will take a beating on thru hiking adventures. Common foot complaints on the trail include blisters, sore ankles, heel pain, metatarsal pain, swollen feet or toes, pinched toes, flattened arches, and more. Beyond your feet, your legs will feel the impact of the hike too. Hikers often experience pain or soreness in the Achilles tendon, calf, knee, hips and lower back.
As you can see, there are many potential threats to your feet, legs and back on the trail. You can minimize the chances of developing any of these conditions with the use of quality insoles.
What To Look For In Thru Hiking Insoles
So what should you look for in the best insoles for thru hiking? Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:
Proper Fit. Tread Labs insoles come in a variety of arch and heel heights. They can be further customized by using your shoes’ factory insoles as a guide to trim the edges for a perfect fit. Remember that your feet will swell over a period of days on the trail, so make sure you choose shoes and insoles at least one full size above what you usually wear. A good rule is to leave at least a thumb’s width at the toe of your boot or shoe to allow for your foot’s expansion.
Firm Support.Choose a firm arch support that will absorb the impact as you walk and distribute your weight evenly without flattening out your arch. A light hiking shoe with a great insole is more supportive than a heavy hiking boot with flat footbeds.
Heel Cups. Deep heel cups in your insole will reduce the impact your feet experience as you hike. The extra cushioning helps to absorb impact and offer greater comfort on the trail.
Replaceable Cover. Your feet get hot and sweaty when you hike. Changing weather and trail conditions on thru hikes can contribute to moisture inside your shoes as well. Bacteria and fungi thrive on moisture, so be sure your insoles come with a replaceable top-cover—preferably one that features antimicrobial properties. Tread Labs replaceable top covers feature PURE technology to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria.
Durability. You’re ready to go the distance on the trail. Make sure you purchase durable insoles that can stand up to the mileage. Tread Labs arch supports are guaranteed for life.
Blister Free. Tread Labs insoles feature a low-friction surface to help reduce blisters caused by the movement of your foot within your shoe. Quality hiking insoles also spread the weight more evenly over the bottom of your feet, helping to prevent hot spots and blisters as well.
Foot Irregularities.If you have foot irregularities like overpronation, high arches, flat feet, or plantar fasciitis, it’s even more important to ensure you are using quality insoles. Small foot problems can become big foot problems when you’re racking up the hike touring miles.
Be sure you are prepared to support your feet before you begin your journey. If you’re looking for the best insoles for thru hiking, you’ve come to the right place. Tread Labs offers medical-grade insoles that provide the effectiveness of custom orthotics at a fraction of the price.
Hiking Foot Care Tips
Treat your feet with a little tenderness, and you can spend more time taking in the scenery than worrying about any pain or soreness. Don’t forget these foot care tips while you’re on the trail:
Pack Extra Socks.Pack at least two pairs of good-quality polyester or wool socks for the trip. When one pair gets moist, swap them out for a clean pair. This will help to prevent blisters, which are often caused by the combination of moisture and the friction of your feet moving in your shoes. You can air out your wet socks by pinning them on your clothing or on the outside of your backpack during your hike.
Rest Your Feet.It’s important to rest whenever your feet feel hot, tired, or sore. When resting, remove your shoes and socks to let your feet breathe. Stick your feet in cool water or prop them up above your head to help reduce any swelling.
Practice Good Hygiene.Clean your feet with a damp washcloth when resting. Remove any dirt, pebbles, or debris that gets in your shoes as soon as you notice it.
Choose Tread Labs Insoles & Be Worry-Free On The Trail
Thru hiking is an endurance sport that can put even the hardiest feet to the test. Tread Labs offers some of the best thru hiking insoles that will pamper and support your feet on the trail from start to finish.
Every Tread Labs insole comes with a Million Mile Guarantee. Our molded arch supports are guaranteed for life, and our durable, antimicrobial foam top covers can be replaced affordably—saving you money and keeping your feet happy on the trail for years to come.
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