This is a sponsored post brought to you by Superfeet.
Have you ever noticed how the insoles that come standard with most hiking boots and trail runners are thin, flimsy crap? It’s true. I learned early in my hiking career that a good aftermarket insole is essential to my comfort and success on the trail.
Superfeet have always been my go-to orthotics. Swapping the limp, sole-shaped rag that passes for a footbed in my favorite trail runner for a sturdy pair of Superfeet gives me the firm protection and arch support I need to pull big miles day in and day out.
So as a longtime fan of the brand, I was excited when I learned that Superfeet is launching a brand new hiking-specific orthotic called ADAPT Hike Max. These new insoles are supposed to minimize fatigue and maximize comfort for hikers pulling long miles on mixed terrain. What sets them apart from other footbed inserts, and do they live up to the hype? Let’s find out.
Superfeet ADAPT Hike Max Insole At a Glance
Size Range: Women’s 4.5 – Men’s 13
Arch support: Medium to high
Circumstances of Review
I’ve only been testing the ADAPT Hike Max insoles for a handful of weeks this summer, so you’re just getting my first impressions here. I can’t comment specifically about their long-term durability. That said, I have a long and storied history of using Superfeet for various long-distance hikes, so I’m very familiar with the brand. (In the past, I’ve typically gravitated toward either the Green or Trailblazer Comfort insoles, depending on what’s in stock in the local trail town outfitter.)
I’ve been wearing the ADAPT Hike Max orthotics in my favorite zero-drop trail runner all June—around town, at the gym, and on good old-fashioned dirt trails.
Superfeet ADAPT Hike Max Insole Features
Medium-high arch support: Paired with a deep heel cup, the insole’s generous arch provides firm support without being too unyielding.
Adaptive comfort technology: If all we wanted was protection from the trail surface underfoot, we’d all be clomping around the backcountry in steel shank boots. But that would obviously be terrible, because we need footbeds that move with our feet, protecting us from rough terrain while still allowing us to feel and respond organically to the trail surface underfoot. Superfeet’s patented Adaptive Comfort Technology flexes with your foot, promoting healthier footfalls and a more natural gait.
Durable construction: Designed to last up to a year or 500 miles, whichever comes first. (I think they’ll last longer than that, but we’ll get into that later).
Moisture-wicking: Superfeet applies a natural, organic coating to the top layer of the insole that keeps your feet comfy and inhibits odor-causing bacteria when you sweat.
Energizing heel cushion: A little extra-magical foam in the heel area (nestled in a larger protective heel cap) disperses vibrations and impacts to minimize fatigue. The heel cushion is nicely springy, too, helping me to roll through my step energetically.
Responsive forefoot zone: Nice, bendy, springy forefoot lets me feel my way down the trail while providing just enough rebound and support to keep the pep in my step.
Aerolyte dual comfort foam layer: A targetted layer of thicker, spongier foam gives the whole orthotic more structure and support, setting it apart from the bendy nothings that constitute most insoles.
Fit and Comfort
Superfeet insoles come in a variety of size ranges depending on your shoe size. When you take them out of the box, they’ll probably be too big for you unless your shoe size is at the absolute top of the range. Simply pull the standard insole out of your hiking shoe and trace its outline onto your Superfeet, then cut them down to size. Voila! A perfect fit every time.
Two layers of foam cushioning absorb impacts, meaning a smoother, gentler ride for you. The foam is firm but has noticeable give when you press on it. I’ve tried standing on top of the insoles on a hardwood floor so that the cushioning of my shoes’ midsole doesn’t affect my perception of the insoles’ cushioning. Even without anything else underneath them, the Superfeet insoles are noticeably cushy. As I shift my weight from one foot to the other, I can feel the foam responding underneath. It’s actually quite delightful.
Who Are the Superfeet ADAPT Hike Max Insoles Best For
Personally, I think all backpackers should at least try these insoles. If you’re experiencing chronic foot pain when hiking, upgrading to a high-quality orthotic is often the solution. We hikers cover a lot of ground over rough terrain in a day, and with extra weight on our backs to boot (no pun intended). That’s a lot of wear and tear on your tootsies over time, and the insoles that come in most hiking shoes aren’t providing the arch support and protection you need to feel your best. You can swap shoes all day long looking for the perfect pair, but if you don’t also upgrade the footbed, you’re not going to get the maximum benefit out of your footwear.
If you’re already a Superfeet devotee but you’ve never tried the ADAPT Hike Max insoles specifically, I recommend giving them a whirl. Unlike their standard insoles like Superfeet Green, they’re purpose-built for hiking, while they’re also flexier and more adaptable than the Trailblazer Comfort insoles. Just as you would wear different shoes for different activities, you should get dedicated insoles too.
6 Things I Loved About These Insoles
1. The Arch Support
I love me some good arch support, but I’ve worn many shoes where the arch was so high, unyielding, and abrupt that it felt like I had a golf ball under my feet. While support is important to me, this extreme isn’t really better than the flat-footed, flimsy end of the spectrum—it’s just uncomfortable in a different way.
In contrast, the Superfeet ADAPT Hike Max insole has a long, steady, gradual rise around the arch paired with a deep heel cup, which is exactly what you want to see. Superfeet describes the arch support as medium to high, but because of the cushioning dual layer of foam over top, I think these insoles have just enough give that they would be comfortable across a broad range of arch/foot shapes.
2. So Cushy, Yet Also So Firm
While I might fantasize about walking around on a memory foam mattress after several painful miles slogging across sharp, unyielding rock, in reality, hiking on a surface that cushioned would be utterly inefficient and annoying. I don’t want to hike across those rocks in shoes so thin I feel as though I’m barefoot, either, or so stiff and hard that I can’t feel any of the trail under my feet.
What I need is an insole that’s firm enough to protect me from the worst of the bumps and lumps underfoot while putting a little spring in my step, with just enough cushioning to absorb the jarring impact of my footfalls and make me feel a bit pampered. I need something light, supportive, responsive, flexible, and, yes, adaptable. The Superfeet ADAPT Hike Max insoles deliver.
3. Moisture Management to the MAX
I know all too well how quickly my shoes can turn into little mini saunas on my feet when I’m hiking. I wear trail runners rather than boots because I want to let my feet breathe—but if my insole isn’t breathable as well, that kind of defeats the purpose.
The ADAPT Hike Max insoles do a great job wicking moisture away from my sweaty-ass feet, while an odor-inhibiting treatment keeps funky smells to a minimum. While no technology will ever truly eliminate my horrid-smelling foot vapors, I’ll take all the help I can get, and these insoles definitely help tamp it down.
4. Dat Heel Cap Doe
I have plantar fasciitis, so I’m hyperaware of my heels at all times, even when I’m not suffering a flare-up. Hiking puts a huge amount of pressure on the heel area, so I love that these insoles feature a sturdy, stabilizing heel cap, complete with a little extra cushioning directly over the heel to reduce vibrations and minimize fatigue.
5. Super Cute Colors/Pattern
Just because I’m an unwashed dirtbag that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate good styling. True, not that many people other than me are going to have a chance to appreciate the visual majesty of the inside of my hiking shoes, but I love seeing the neat squiggly pattern of my Superfeet peeking out at me every time I take my shoes off or put them on. It’s the little things in life, guys. It’s a little treat just for me.
Designed to last up to a year or 500 miles, whichever comes first. Speaking from my experience with Supefeet Green and Trailblazer Comfort insoles, I actually think this is a conservative estimate. While I do prefer to swap my Superfeet every time I get a new pair of shoes (so every 400-700 miles) I’ve put over a thousand miles on more than one pair of Superfeet, transferring them over from one pair of shoes to the next, and still thought they held up pretty well.
After about two weeks of intensive daily wear, the cushioning is still just as springy and responsive as when I took them out of the box—so far so good.
Every day that I’m on the trail, I dedicate a surprising amount of brain power to figuring out how to keep my feet from aching and throbbing by the end of the day. So when these orthotics came out, I was pretty pumped. And I’m happy to report that for me, they definitely live up to their name. I’ll definitely continue to use the Superfeet ADAPT Hike Max insoles on my upcoming trips this summer. They’ll be a valuable tool in my anti-foot pain toolbox, and if they last as long as my previous pairs of Superfeet have, they’ll be a sheer bargain for the amount of value I expect to get from them.
The Superfeet ADAPT Hike Max insole was donated for purpose of review.