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How to make your walking boots more comfortable

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published Mar 2014; updated May 2023.

You will want comfortable walking boots and good fitting boots for hiking. We look at how insoles designed for hiking can improve your boots and reduce injury.

Do your feet ache after walking in your boots? Do you find your walking socks move inside your boots? Well, this might be the answer...

Making walking boots more comfortable

Why you need comfortable boots

As you do more and more activities outdoors with your kids you'll find that your walking boots are something you wear *a lot *of the time.

You need a pair that's waterproof yet breathable, and comfortable. There's no fun in being out with your kids all day only to have aching feet at the end of it.

Badly fitting boots can cause blisters...even cause injury

After time, most people find their walking boots adapt to their feet (or their feet get used to them). But that's not always the case. And as you put the miles under your feet, the boots can start to wear and feel a little less comfortable.

You can also end up with worse than just aching feet. Badly fitting boots can cause blisters, and in some cases, even cause injury if you don't address the problem.

But don't throw out your boots just yet...

Why walking socks move in your boots

An annoying problem you might encounter is your walking socks sliding down your ankles and into your boot.

Now the first thing to check is the elastic in your socks. If it's worn out, the socks won't stay in place.

However, even with good socks, you may find this happening to you. One cause could be your walking boots.

this movement in your boots is pulling your socks down

Put your boots on, grab hold of the heel, and move the boot up and down. Does it wiggle? Yes? Then it could be that as you walk, this movement in your boots is pulling your socks down. A better fit to your boot may solve this annoying problem.

But don't throw out your boots just** yet...**

Insoles for Hiking and Walking Boots

YouTube Video Thumbnail

You will have come across insoles before, and typically for your kids to help their feet fit into a shoe that's a little too big (until their foot grows in about a fortnight's time...but that's a whole other problem!).

a good insole can turn a pair of boots from OK to Excellent

Insoles designed for walking boots are different, and are a perfect way to revive an old boot, and make your current boots fit better.

Even if you don't have 'bad boots', a good insole can turn a pair of boots from OK to Excellent.

Fitting Insoles to your Walking Boots

Fitting insole into walking boots

Look at your walking boots and try to pull out the existing insole.

Most walking boots don't have the insole glued in place (if yours is glued in place, don't bother pulling it out).

the manufacturer expects to you to replace or upgrade the insole

The reason the insole can be easily removed from most walking boots is that the manufacturer expects to you to replace or upgrade the insole supplied with the boot at some point.

Fitting a new insole is just a matter of sliding it in.

Getting the right size insole

One thing I found was that the UK sizes of insoles didn't always match the UK sizes of the boot.

For example, some would say 9.5, and others would say 10 for the same size. However, what I did notice was that the EU sizes did appear to be consistent.  I can't guarantee this will always be the case but it's best to find insoles that match your shoe size and use both UK and EU sizes to find the right fit.

better shock absorption

You may also be concerned that the hiking insoles are very thick and thicker than what you already have.

Well look at your boots and you should see that they are lot a deeper than shoes, and should accommodate that extra depth.

The deep insole will provide you with better shock absorption and could make your boot fit better.

Insoles to correct walking and foot shape

'Pronation' is the proper word and refers to how we roll our feet while walking or running.

can cause stress on muscles and joints, and if prolonged, can cause injury

If you have a Neutral Pronation then all is good, however, to be different is human, and we all will tend to have an *overpronation *or under pronation as we walk or run. This means that one or both of our feet are not hitting the ground properly, which can cause stress on muscles and joints, and if prolonged, can cause injury.

You can get insoles that improve comfort and shock absorption in your walking boots and correct pronation. You may want to consider this if you know you have a problem or intend to do any long distances.

However, diagnosing yourself is not easy.

I am lucky to be almost a Neutral Pronation but with a slight Overpronation. I found this out when I got fitted for proper running shoes.

They videoed my feet running on a treadmill and then analysed my gait on a computer, in slow motion, frame by frame.

This is not something you can do yourself easily with just your eye. So go to a specialised shop that has the equipment to diagnose properly. If you do it yourself and get it wrong, you could introduce a problem that didn't need addressing in the first place.

lace up your boots well, and improve the fit with an insole

Finally, I was reading that research done at the University of Duisburg-Essen found that using all the eyelets in a shoe and lacing it tightly, pronation is significantly decreased, reducing the risk of 'lower limb injury'.  So lace up your boots well, and improve the fit with an insole, even if it isn't one designed to correct pronation.

Granger 's Trek Insole

Granger's Trek Insole

There are lots of insoles for hiking on the market.

Some are expensive; others are quite affordable.

I chose the Trek G20 Insole from Granger's (see here on Amazon).

  • Granger's are well known for providing good gear for hiking boots.
  • They provide comfort and shock absorption.
  • There's a breathable wicking layer to help make your foot more comfortable (who likes sweaty feet!?!)
  • And they were only around £10 😉

If you've watched the video above, you will have seen how thicker they are than the insoles supplied with my walking boots, and they've made such a difference.

My boots now fit a lot better and feel much more comfortable.

My boots now fit a lot better and feel much more comfortable

I've not had these long, so I can't tell you how well they wear over time, but so far, they are great and I can recommend that you give them a try.

As I said, many insoles are available, so look around and do this simple upgrade to your walking boots and make them more comfortable.