Hiking is tough work, and it can really leave its mark on your feet. Sore, sweaty, covered in blisters – these are all common experiences. But what about arch support and the risk of plantar fasciitis? Do we stop to think about this essential addition enough?
Traditionally hiking boots do not offer arch support. They usually have a very flat cushion for the sole, but there are models out there that offer excellent arch support. So if you specifically need arch support, Those are the ones to look for.
Arch support is pretty important, especially as plantar fasciitis can be such a painful and, quite frankly, debilitating condition throughout recovery.
So, let us take you through everything you need to know about hiking boots and any arch support offered.
Do Hiking Boots Have Arch Support?
Some boots do and others don’t. Typically, you will find that hiking boots are flat and cushioned – providing no support for your arches.
On the other side, running shoes tend to have too much support and can end up weakening your arch. Where’s the middle ground?
There are plenty of great hiking boots on the market (and in our linked guide) that includes arch support to help keep your feet strong while you are trekking.
You just have to choose carefully and check you are buying the right boots for your needs.
Insoles Can Offer Arch Support to Your Boots
What you need most when you are searching for arch support to add to a pair of hiking boots is, well, arch support insoles.
The good thing is, you can pick an arch insole that actually matches the type of arch your foot has – offering the best support and comfort possible.
- Designed for use by men and women for versatility
- Comfortable and gentle on the feet
- Can be cut down to size if needed
These insoles are ideal for those who have unisex boots as they have been designed to fit men and women but can also be cut down to size if needed.
They help to relieve pressure from the foot, increasing stability and giving your arch the support that it needs.
They are easy to put on and take off and can be moved between shoes effortlessly so that you can use them with multiple pairs.
They are also non-slip and breathable, which is perfect for hot weather as well as hiking trips that really get the blood pumping.
The insoles above are also orthotic, which is another type you might want to try out when you are hiking.
This is because they offer support for your heels as well as metatarsals – improving foot alignment so that you have better stability and full control over your range of motion.
If you are trying to lose weight and are currently tipping the scales a little, you will find that a lot of your weight falls back on your heels – putting a lot of pressure on them. Heel support insoles give them extra cushioning that takes a load off and help redistribute the weight.
For those suffering from diabetes, there is an interesting option in the form of a diabetic insole.
The extra soft layer of cushioning is designed for both insensitive and hypersensitive conditions caused by diabetes, helping you to enjoy your hike without extra pain and discomfort.
If you need multiple forms of support or have slightly awkward feet (no shame, I’m there with you), you can try customised insoles.
These can be tailored to match your needs perfectly, providing a truly individual experience when you are out on the trail.
Does Arch Support in Hiking Boots Help Plantar Fasciitis?
I wish there were a simple answer for this question, but the truth is that it’s a yes and no answer again.
You see, no arch support on a regular basis will result in plantar fasciitis eventually whereas too much weakens the arch and leads to the same thing.
No worries, I have a solution. When I first got plantar fasciitis it was from hiking with the dogs every day without any arch support because I was wearing regular shoes.
After I recovered (always wait to recover first, it’s so painful), I invested in a pair of hiking boots.
What I do, and many other hikers, is wear shoes with NO support in my day-to-day life.
This is good because it strengthens my arch and keeps my feet in good condition. After all, weak arches are just as likely to cause plantar fasciitis.
When I go hiking, I slip on my hiking boots that have arch support to protect them from the long journeys that we make.
Since I got plantar fasciitis four years ago, I have never had it come back because of my careful balance with arch support.
So, yes, the hiking boots did help to prevent the plantar fasciitis from coming back after recovery but the shoes that have no support also help to build strength in the arch so that it doesn’t return. There are also some exercises you can do to build up arch strength.
#1 After recovery (going to emphasise recovery again, if it keeps coming back you will need surgery) make sure you increase the amount you are walking gradually. Don’t do more than 10% of what you did last week.
#2 Stretch and do cool-down exercises for 5-10 minutes after each hike. Same with when you wake up in the morning, get those stretches going.
#3 Walk barefoot as much as you can, it builds strength and I find that it helps me to feel more grounded and calm. It’s a good practice to get into.
What happens if you don’t wear boots with significant arch support?
If you don’t wear boots with significant arch support, it is putting a lot more pressure on the ball and heel of your foot.
It can also cause your body to slide out of alignment, causing issues with balance and stability as well as potentially causing plantar fasciitis.
Do all people need arch support?
Definitely, all people need arch support. Our feet are one of the most important parts of our body, and if we don’t look after them then the rest of us is going to struggle.
Our arches are the support system for our whole body, so support when hiking is an absolute must.
Read Here: Do Hiking Boots Provide Ankle Support
As you can see, it is a little hit and miss whether or not your boots are going to provide Arch Support it‘s something you have to research before you buy to make sure your hiking boots are going to adequately support your feet. Mine, for example, works wonders.
Learn something new today? We have an entire series of tips and tricks for hiking in a way that is comfortable and safe for you. Why not check it out and see if we can help you prep for your next big adventure?
A seasoned camper and hiker, there is nothing he doesn’t know about the Great Outdoors. Hiking alone, with friends, or even little ones, he’s done it all. A trained survivalist, he gives Bear Grylls a run for his money.