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Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > Superfeet TrailBlazer Insoles > Test Report by Andrea Murland

Superfeet Women’s Trailblazer Insoles
Test Series by Andrea Murland

Initial Report - March 30, 2017
Long Term Report - August 1, 2017

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 31
Location: Elkford, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 130 lb (59 kg)
Shoe Size: US Women's 6.5 (approximately EU 36.5-37.5, depending on the shoe)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.

Initial Report – March 30, 2017

Product Information

Manufacturer: Superfeet Worldwide, Inc.
Manufacturer's URL: www.superfeet.com
Model: Trailblazer Women’s Comfort Max
Year of Manufacture: 2017
MSRP: US $49.95
Sizes Available: B, C (Tested), D, E - See size chart below
Listed Weight: None
Measured Weight: 90 g (3.2 oz) for the pair, size C
Superfeet Size Chart

Description & Initial Impressions

Superfeet Trailblazer Insoles
The Superfeet Trailblazer Insoles are designed for hiking. The manufacturer indicates that they stabilize feet on uneven ground, support the foot and reduce shifting that can lead to blisters, and enhance comfort with the foam. The various components of the insole can be seen in the photo above.

The carbon fiber cap is very stiff and has no give at all, so I won’t be bending my foot through the arch while using these insoles! The foam feels dense but has some give when pressed. The impact pad feels like a little gel pocket. The underside of the foam section has areas marked for the ball of the foot and toes, but I don’t think there is any difference in the foam in these areas. The pattern marking the areas does look like a little map though, showing trails and campsites. Very cute! The top surface of the insoles is a textured fabric that is advertised as being moisture wicking and having odour control. Areas for the heel impact pad, ball of the foot, and toes can be seen on the surface fabric, as well as a design of contour lines.

Although this particular model of insoles isn’t showing up on the Superfeet website yet, the packaging box had a lot of useful information and directed me to the website for other information. The website has detailed instructions for trimming the insoles as well as care instructions (hand wash & air dry) and warranty information.

Trying Them Out

The first thing that I did after taking the insoles out of the box is stand on them in hiking socks, without them in shoes. The heel pocket feels narrow, like it’s cupping my heel. I can almost feel the arch support, but it’s not so high that it’s pressing into my arch. My hiking boot size is US Women’s 6.5 (EU roughly 37.5), so Superfeet sent me a size C. This means that I fall at the lower end of the size and will have to trim the insoles to fit. It also means that my forefeet don’t really fall into the marked areas for the ball of the foot and toes.

I pulled out the stock insoles from my primary hiking boots and used them to trace an outline for trimming. After a few adjustments, I got a set of insoles that slides into my hiking boots. The insoles were easy to cut with scissors. They’re a tight fit, but I know that I will be wearing different boots this summer so didn’t want to over-trim. After I got the insoles into my boots, I went for a walk to the store for groceries. I noticed that the Trailblazers take up more space in the toebox of my boots than the stock insoles do (the Superfeet are thicker), but less space than the after-market insoles that I have been using. I also noticed that my heel feels like it’s sitting higher in the boot than with the stock insoles. I can feel the arch support in the insoles where it starts just ahead of my heel, but then not at all through the main part of my arch. By the end of my shopping trip, my arches were complaining slightly about the lack of support, so I’ll be keeping tabs on that as I use the insoles.
Fitting the insoles

Summary

The Superfeet Trailblazer insoles seem like a well-made insole with good features for hiking. I can’t tell at this point how well they’re going to work with my feet and footwear, so stay tuned!

Thanks to Superfeet and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test these insoles. Check back in approximately 4 months (August 2017) for my Long Term Report to see how happy my feet are!

Long Term Report - August 1, 2017

Field Conditions

Over the past four months, I have had these insoles under my feet as I’ve traipsed all over the southern Canadian Rockies and into Montana, USA. In total, I estimate that I’ve walked about 285 km (177 mi) with these insoles since the beginning of the test. I switched hiking boots partway through the test, so I will divide my usage up in that way.

The first pair of boots I tested them with were a well-broken-in pair of stiff full-shank boots. These are the boots I tried them with when I wrote my Initial Report. With these boots, I started off by going on a 3-day snowshoeing trip, with days of 14 km (8.7 mi), 17 km (10.6 mi), and 14 km (8.7 mi). The insoles got wet on the first day (my boots leak) and didn’t fully dry during the trip. I also wore this combination of boots and insoles on a short overnight Search & Rescue training exercise of 6 km (3.7 mi) each day. Additionally, I wore them for four day hikes between 5 km and 15 km (3.1 – 9.3 mi) in length.

In early June I began a test of a pair of hiking boots, and so switched to those boots with these insoles. These boots were newer, lighter, and less stiff than my old boots. I completed one three-day hike and two 2-day hikes, as well as seven day hikes. The days on the backpacking trips ranged from 8.6 km to 25.5 km (5.3 – 15.8 mi) long, and the day hikes were between 9.3 km and 20 km (5.8 – 12.4 mi) long. The insoles stayed dry (not counting sweat!) during all of these hikes.
Field Use

Observations

Fit, Comfort & Integration with Boots:
The first 90 km (56 mi) or so of this test were in a pair of full-shank older boots that leak. As I mentioned during my Initial Report, I found that the insoles had a volume between the stock insoles and my usual after-market insoles. On the three-day snowshoeing trip, they didn’t cause me any issues, and I never had to switch to the backup insoles I was carrying. The boots and insoles were soaked both nights, so I pulled the insoles out of the boots to dry overnight. I didn’t put them too close to the wood stove, but they weren’t quite dry in the morning. As my boots were still soggy anyway, I’m not sure it mattered. After that first 3-day trip I stopped carrying backup insoles. At no point while testing with these boots did I get any blisters or have any abnormal discomfort, though I did wish that the insoles took up a bit less space in the toebox of the boots.

The remainder of the mileage that I put on these insoles was in a softer, lighter pair of hiking boots that I am testing. These boots are not full shank, so flex at the forefoot. I did not need to do any additional trimming to get the insoles to fit in these boots. The combination of the Superfeet and these boots was comfortable right away. As the boots were new, I didn’t have experience with the stock insoles to compare to. Although the insoles were damp from sweat after hiking, they didn’t get wet and so stayed in the boots all the time.

I did have one hike where the insoles caused me a bit of grief. It was the second day of an overnight trip, and although I was hiking with day pack weight, the hike was still a long 25 km (15.5 mi) with 1500 m (4920 ft) of elevation gain. Almost the entire hike that day was off-trail on scree and talus, and I spent most of the day side-hilling. The edges of my heels started to hurt as the day progressed, and by the end of the day I had a set of blisters on both feet. The blisters were on the inside and outside of each heel, about 1 cm (0.4 in) up from the bottom of my foot. This spot lines up exactly with the top of the heel cup of the insoles. I couldn’t tell whether there was a bit of friction while side-hilling that had led to the blister or if my foot was spreading out a bit too much and getting pinched by the narrow heel cup. On my 20 km (12.4 mi) long day hike the next day, my heels already hurt and so the blisters caused me quite a bit of pain. Since then, though, I haven’t had any problems on the shorter day hikes I’ve completed.

Support & Cushioning:
Overall, the Superfeet Trailblazer Insoles have given me acceptable levels of support and cushioning. The arch support is not really noticeable as I hike, and my arch isn’t touching the insole. So, as far as arch support goes, they’re fine but I didn’t really notice that they were particularly supportive. For cushioning, they are more comfortable than the stock insoles in my old boots, but less cushy than the usual after-market insoles that I use. In the new boots, the Superfeet insoles felt more cushy than the stock insoles upon first impressions, but I haven’t hiked with the stock insoles in those boots. My feet are sore and tired after about 20 km (12.4 mi), which is normal for me, so I can’t say that I’ve noticed a great improvement with these insoles in terms of foot pain while hiking.

Durability:
The insoles still appear to be in good shape. They have moulded to my feet and boots and are now curved laterally as well as longitudinally. There appears to be slight thinning of the foam under the metatarsals, and slight thickening at the toe end. The impact pad seems unchanged. The surface fabric is dirty but in good condition.
Used Insoles

Summary

The Superfeet Trailblazer Insoles have worked well. Although they haven’t provided me with noticeable arch support, they have given me more cushioning than stock insoles. They were easy to fit to my boots and have held up well to the many miles of travel I have put on them.

Thumbs Up:
Easy to trim to fit
Good durability
Ok cushioning

Thumbs Down:
Average arch support
More cushioning would be nice
Blistering along heel cup on long side-hilling day

Thanks to Superfeet and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test these insoles.



Read more reviews of Superfeet gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrea Murland

Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > Superfeet TrailBlazer Insoles > Test Report by Andrea Murland



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