I was recently sent a pair of Solestar Hiking insoles for review and I was keen to try these out on the hills to see if they actually worked. I finally got to try them out at the weekend on Streap; a rugged Scottish mountain in the Western Highlands.
Standard insoles in walking boots are quite often flat and don’t offer great support. For some of us this can result in sore feet or worse still, joint problems.
Solestar has been developing and manufacturing insoles in Germany for cyclists for 7 years now and they are used by many professional cyclists including Steve Cummings (former UK road cycling champion) and Solestar is the official supplier to the woman’s Canyon/SRAM team.
Solestar has now developed a hiking insole and their approach is a bit different to other aftermarket insoles. They use a patented light glass fibre core that is rigid but lightweight to give a large amount of support to the arch of your foot, thus stabilising your foot in a neutral position and keeping them there during the hike even on uneven or rough terrain. The 3 biggest advantages are maximum stability, optimum power transfer and highest comfort.
Together with the glass fibre construction, Solestar has used synthetic anti bacterial and breathable materials.
The insoles are available in Euro sizes 37-48 (UK sizes 4.5 to 14.5). Before ordering measure your stock insoles then select your size in centimetres on the Solestar website. Thankfully you don’t have to cut these to fit thanks to the wide range of sizes available, including half sizes.
How did I find them?
I began by using the Solestar hiking insoles over a weekend of walking on pavements and footpaths with my trainers on. They felt a bit alien at first, but once I got used to the new position I forgot about them. After lots of walking around the shops with my partner, I noticed that my feet didn’t have that fatigued feeling you usually get from pounding pavements all day. This was a good start.
The next test was to use them for what they’re intended, hiking! I wore them on a 13.5km hike with 1,400 metres of ascent. The initial ascent was over steep pathless terrain with thick vegetation. I noticed the insoles working well on uneven terrain, supporting my feet. This included contouring around hillocks, the high arch support working well. These really seemed to make a difference. Eventually I forgot I was wearing them as they’re so comfortable.
The only minor negative was on a couple of occasions I did notice the front of my boots were just a bit too flexible for the insole on some of the uneven terrain. It didn’t cause any discomfort, I just noticed the insoles refused to flex with the sole of the boots. It is worth bearing in mind that this isn’t a fault with the insoles because they’re designed to be used in footwear with more rigid soles.
I was impressed with the way they secured and supported my feet particularly on the descent, which was again on steep grassy terrain. My feet didn’t travel inside of the boot putting pressure on my toes.
My upper thighs did ache a bit more than normal, but this was most likely due to the fact that certain muscles were not accustomed to the new foot position. It is therefore important to bed these in slowly rather than wearing them straight out the box on a big hike. Solestar advise that they can affect muscle movements and it can take up to 3 sessions for your body to fully accustom to the difference.
There is no doubt that these insoles make a difference to your foot position. I was pleasantly surprised as to how comfortable they are and how my feet did not have that sore and fatigued feeling afterwards. I will use these again when wearing my more rigid or winter boots.
The hiking insoles may not appeal to those who like to hike in flexible running shoes due to the rigid construction. Admittedly it is a bit disappointing (but understandable) why they are not suitable for flexible footwear. Having said this, I did find that they can be used in trainers for day to day use when not hiking. This is useful to accustom your body to the new insoles.
If you prefer stout walking boots and experience sore feet, then these may well be the answer. These would also suit stiff winter mountaineering boots.
The hiking insoles are currently priced at €69 (around £61 at the time of writing), but don’t let the cost put you off. Solestar offers a 6 week money back guarantee. This gives you ample time to ensure they’re right for you. Solestar will take the insoles back in any condition within 6 weeks from date of purchase and refund you in full.
The build and quality of these insoles means you won’t have to replace these every year either like some other brands.
- Support and stability
- 6 week guarantee.
- Not suitable for flexible shoes
- Cost may put some off.
For more information or for ordering, please visit the Solestar website.
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