Hiking brings you closer to nature, but it also creates a big challenge for your feet. Uneven terrain. Up and down, carrying a pack, long hours on the trail. Ensure your feet make it to the end of the trail by taking precautions before to the start of your journey, beginning with your shoes and insoles.
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.
While 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 carefully chosen footwear and quality insoles.
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, you’ll want to replace the standard factory insoles with hiking boot inserts that improve your comfort and support.
Strong, flexible arch support can make a world of difference in your comfort on (or off) the trail.
Be sure you are prepared to support your feet before you begin your journey. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:
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:
Hiking can put even the hardiest feet to the test, but choosing the best insoles for hiking will help you stay worry-free on the trail mile after mile.
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Mark has always believed exceptional footwear can change lives. He's been in the footwear industry for over 30 years, working with podiatrists, pedorthists, foot care experts, and footwear makers. Mark started Chaco sandals in 1989 and developed a game-changing sport sandal that delivered comfort and durability. After Chaco sold in 2009, Mark ultimately started Tread Labs to continue transforming people's footwear so they can walk better, feel better, live better.
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