What to Look For In Heated Insoles
They’re simple enough that they seem like they need little consideration, but there are actually many aspects of insoles that greatly impact how they function in the backcountry. Here are a few of the most important qualities to look for in your next pair of heated insoles:
Trapping your feet will make the skin more prone to damage and blisters. That’s why your shoes and any support insoles need to be breathable so your feet get fresh air and built-up heat can be released. Breathability is also linked to moisture-wicking and releasing sweat.
Keeping moisture near the foot or within the shoe causes blisters to form and waterlogs your feet, causing them to swell and even tear off some skin if they stay wet for long enough.
Comfort & Arch Support
Just like quality walking shoes or hiking boots support your feet, so should your heated insoles keep your foot in the proper position so that you can walk longer. Studies have shown that arch support also improves balance and prevents lower back pain.
Cushioning helps reduce the impact of repeated footfalls as you walk. In cold weather, you’re going to be digging your heels in even more to traverse icy hills and paths. Cushioning and support both need to be present so that you can hike as long as you want, even in cold weather.
Snow, ice, cold rain, and water from rivers and lakes along the trail can be disastrous during the winter months, especially if you’re on multi-day camping treks. Simply wearing a heated insole won’t completely solve the problem by itself, but waterproofing will prevent your new gear from becoming useless if it happens to get wet.
Even when you aren’t walking in snow or water, sweat buildup could end the life of your insole quickly. There are some electronics in most models so that they can provide heat and inadequate waterproofing is dangerous to the product and possibly to the wearer as well.
Ideally, heated insoles should have several heat levels so you can adapt to any situation. If the weather warms up while you’re out, adjusting the heat level will keep you comfortable. You should also make sure to invest in insoles that allow you to adjust the temperature without removing them from the shoe to save time on the hiking trail.
Taking off your shoes is not always feasible when you’re out, particularly when it’s cold and slowing down causes you to feel the cold more.
Anti-Odor & Low-Friction
Every avid hiker and even casual walkers know that shoes start to stink after lots of use. Inserts are in direct contact with your foot, so they can take on odor even faster if they aren’t built to repel it. Friction is a big problem if you walk and hike frequently. While water can weaken the skin and eventually lead to tears, friction between your foot and the shoe or insert causes blisters much faster.
Durability translates to rigidity for lots of outdoor equipment. For foot warmer insoles, you need them to be flexible enough to last through heavy use without cracking or ceasing to work. The insoles should be firm enough to give support and not bend but also soft enough to prevent foot pain.
They should also be malleable enough to fit to the form of your foot so that they don’t feel intrusive or inhibitive as you’re walking. That will reduce friction and let you concentrate on the beauty of your surroundings as you hike.
Since these shoe and boot insoles are battery-powered to provide heat in your footwear, you need to be mindful of how long they will last. The last thing you want is to get cold feet halfway through a long hike and be forced to turn back.
Recharging the device at your campsite is a huge advantage for multi-day outings. Solar-powered batteries, power banks, and other electricity generators allow you to reach deeper points of the backcountry because you can stop to rest and recuperate while your gear recharges. The campfire can warm your feet while the shoe insoles are charging.
We’ve already touched on the stink problem that arises after long periods of walking. Manufacturers who build products with a longer lifespan take care to make sure their shoe inserts are easy to clean and even machine washable if possible so users can quickly remove any dirt or smell following a good hike or camping trip.
Electronics make it difficult to clean some models of heated sole inserts. Look for the best waterproofing so you can throw your insoles in the washer without having to spend much time getting them back into perfect working order for your next outdoor activity.
Heated Insole FAQs
Using them may be straightforward enough, but there are still many questions many people have when they first start searching for heated insoles. Here are some of the most common with quick answers:
1. Do Heated Insoles Work?
They definitely warm up your feet and make footwear more comfortable, but are there other significant benefits to wearing heated insoles? The answer is yes – many studies link heated insoles to reduced low back pain and better circulation.
2. Can You Wear Heated Insoles With Any Shoe Type?
Manufacturers have greatly expanded the number of models they produce so that customers can fit foot warmers into any shoe type and any shoe size without issue. Ski boots, hiking shoes, and heavy footwear designed for long-duration outdoor activity all have specifically designed heated insoles and there are also one-size-fits-all models that work with different sizes of shoe.
3. Are Heated Insoles Dangerous?
Wearing electronics on your feet might sound a bit risky, but there’s very little chance of any kind of damaging accident in real life. In a worst-case scenario, you’re more likely to have a wire shortage and have the product start working than you are to sustain any kind of injury from electric heated insoles.
4. Who Should Use Heated Insoles?
Since there is compelling evidence that heated insoles help you balance better and maintain good circulation, anyone with low-back pain or likely to get cold feet is the ideal target for these products. If you frequently go hiking and find that your feet have turned into ice blocks after a short time, then heated insoles are for you.
5. Are Heated Electric Insoles Adjustable?
Many models of heated insoles have varying temperature settings and some even have wireless remote control options so you can quickly increase or decrease the heat without taking off your shoes. In some cases, you can also use velcro attachments to change the fit of the heating pad as well as adjust the heat settings.
A more snug fit means the warmth from the heat source will be more direct and effective so you can rely on the battery for hours of heat.