If hiking or backpacking is on your summer adventure agenda, there are a lot of beautiful places across the country for you to check out. Whether you're planning a trip to a beautiful National Park to backpack challenging trails over the course of a few days, or you're going to check out some local trails for some family fun, one thing is certain-- you need to take care of your feet.
If there's one thing experienced backpackers know, it's that a small foot problem can quickly escalate and ruin an entire trip. A small blister can grow and a hangnail can snag you up.
If you're planning on doing a little (or a lot of) hiking this summer, make sure you and your shoes are ready for the trek. Here are some things you'll need to make sure you stay dry, supported, and safe on your next backpacking trip.
Not only do you need to make sure the inside of your hiking boots are made of the right material, you need to have the right material on all your gear. While molded foam insoles are good, they're only supportive to a point.
Hiking boots have outsoles and uppers that are designed to take a beating out in the wild, but this means that the midsole might be the first part of the boot to wear out. The insole you want for hiking should be made of a more rigid material like plastic. These will last much longer than your traditional foam midsole.
For the rest of your gear, you should consider materials that are moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and sun-protective. You might even want to think about fabrics that antimicrobial to avoid odors on the trail. Remember, you won't have a washing machine..
The Right Combinations
Quality combinations can apply to both your clothing and your shoes when you're backpacking. A hiking boot needs the right combination of a balanced outsole and a supportive base. To make sure you get this combo, flip your hiking boot over.
Many boots have a wide profile which is what provides good balance and will help keep you on your feet on precarious trails. But the wider the base, the heavier the boot will be. If you think a heavy boot will bring you down, just make sure you don't sacrifice support for a lighter shoe.
And don't forget about the combinations of clothing to make sure you stay warm or cool depending on the weather. Many climates can experience high highs and low lows in one day so make sure your wardrobe includes layers like:
- A good base layer like long underwear
- A quality tank top for for core warmth or sleeping
- A wool or synthetic t-shirt
- A long-sleeved shirt to protect against the sun and bugs
A quality insole with great medial arch support, a metatarsal pad by the forefoot, and a cup to support the heel will help you avoid fatigue and soreness during your backpacking excursion.
A shoe and insole that help support proper alignment and proper weight distribution will in turn support your whole body. When you're properly aligned, you put less pressure on your knees, hips, and back and when your weight is properly supported, your body will be able to take on uneven, rocky surfaces.
And don't forget about your socks. While there is a lot of hype around the right shoe, socks are just as important to your feet.
A wool/synthetic sock with plenty of cushioning is best but if you have time to try our different options before your trip, make sure you do.
Pro Tip: Whenever you stop, take off your socks and shoes to let them dry. And don't forget to rinse your feet.
A quality insole will step in if your hiking boot fails. A great insole will stop you from wearing through your shoes at the points where you might tend to put the most pressure with each step, helping your hiking boots to last longer.
They will also prevent for your feet from feeling the aches and pains that can be caused by walking and standing all day.
So when it comes to finding the right shoe, insole combo for your next backpacking trip, the key is quality. Don't sacrifice support when it comes to your feet. The Orange Full insole is the best option when it comes to the support you'll need when backpacking across the country, or your backyard, this summer.
Don't let your feet fail you on the side of a mountain. Make sure your insoles and outsoles are made of quality material and give you support where you need it most.