BackpackGearTest
  Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > Superfeet TrailBlazer Insoles > Test Report by Kurt Papke

Superfeet Trail Blazer Insoles

Test Series by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - March 23, 2017

Long Term Report - August 10, 2017

Tester Information

Name: Kurt Papke
Age: 63
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 220 lbs (100 kg)
Email address: kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA

My backpacking venues have mostly been a combination of Minnesota, where I have lived most of my adult life, and Arizona since 2009.  I have always been a "comfort-weight" backpacker, never counting grams, but still keeping my pack as light as easily attained.  I am a bit of a minimalist footwear hiker, wearing trail runners or lightweight shoes when I'm not in sandals.  I fought plantar fasciitis for a number of years, so I am very conscious of foot issues.

Initial Report

The Superfeet Trail Blazer Insoles (hereafter referred to as "the insoles") are meant to replace shoe manufacturer-provided insoles. They are designed specifically for hikers.  They come in different sizes, but may need to be trimmed by the consumer for exact fit.

I have a size 12 foot (46 EU), but I typically wear a size 13 (47 EU) shoe to avoid problems with black toenails.  Based on that shoe size, I requested an 11.5-13 (45.5-47 EU) sized insole.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Superfeet Worldwide, Inc.
Manufacturer website: https://www.superfeet.com/
Model:
Trailblazer Comfort Max
Year of manufacture: 2017
Country of origin:
Not listed
MSRP:
$49.95 USD
Color tested:
Only available in green/orange
Size (mens):
Tested: 11.5-13 ( 45.5-47 EU)
Also available in 9.5-11, 7.5-9, 5.5-7, 2.5-4 (kids)
Available sizes (EU): 43.5-45, 40-43, 37.5-39, 33-35.5 (kids)
Weight:
Listed: Not listed
Measured: 4.62 oz (131 g)
Dimensions:
Listed: Not listed (size dependent)
Measured: 12.2x4.13x1.02 in (31x10.5x2.6 cm)
Warranty:
60 days

The features listed by the manufacturer include:
  • Deepest and widest heel cup in the Superfeet line
  • Moisture-wicking top layer with odor control
  • Carbon fiber blend stabilizer cap
  • 6mm (0.24 in) dual layer foam
  • Impact pad

Initial Inspection

I removed the insoles from the packaging and had a look.
sf01The upper left and upper right photos show the shelf packaging, which is made from recyclable cardboard.

The insoles are shown from the top/bottom in the middle left photo, and edge-on in the middle-right photo.  The darker green area at the forefoot portion of the insole caught my eye - this area is often discolored in my other insoles from foot sweat.  Nice of Superfeet to darken that up a bit to mask the staining.

The forefoot section is very flexible, which is great.  The balls of the feet and toes have to flex on each step.  The back foot area where the carbon fiber cap is prominent is extremely rigid - this will prevent any arch flexing, for good or ill.  The small orange "impact pad" is very squishy, it should provide some shock absorption.

The top fabric is quite smooth and a little bit slippery.  My feet may slide around a little bit, time will tell.

Trying them out

I slipped them into two pairs of shoes that I will likely use them in for most of the testing period, as shown in the bottom photo at left.  The shoe on the left is a New Balance trail runner, and that on the right is a Keen lightweight hiking shoe.  Both shoes are size 13 (47 EU), and since that matches the maximum size of the insoles I didn't have to do any trimming to get them to fit.

I walked around the house a bit and they felt nice and comfortable.  My feet felt very well-supported.

Summary

I am looking forward to getting the insoles into the backcountry and seeing how they perform under field conditions.

Things I Like So Far:

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Good support from the carbon fiber heel cup

Things That Concern Me Upfront:

  • Potential for foot slippage from the smooth upper surface fabric

Long Term Report

Field Experience

Date
Location
Trail
Distance
Altitude
Weather
Shoes and Socks used
March 31-April 2
Saguaro National Park East near Tucson, Arizona
Miller Cr, Heartbreak Ridge, Turkey Cr
22 mi (35.4 km)
4240-8400 ft
(1300-2560 m)
25-60 F
(-4-16 C)
Sun, snow showers, high winds
New Balance Trail Runners and Injinji socks
April 14-16 Area surrounding Flagstaff, Arizona Grand Falls, Devil's Bridge
5 mi (8 km) 4300-8000 ft
(1310-2440 m)
32-75 F
(0-24 C)
New Altra Lone Peak 3.0 shoes with cotton low-rise socks.
May 4-7 Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona Morse and Echo Canyons
10 mi (16 km) 6600-8200 ft
(2010-2500 m)
48-80 F (9-27 C)
Mostly sunny, wind gusts to 30 mph (48 kph)
Altra Lone Peak 3.0 shoes and Injinji sock
May 25-30 Monument Valley and Canyonlands NP in SE Utah Canyonlands
5 mi (8 km)
3900-6200 ft
(1190-1890 m)
Sunny, very windy with blowing dust, temperatures 50-85 F (10-29 C) Altra Lone Peak 3.0 shoes and cotton crew socks
July 29-August 6
San Juan mountains between Durango and Silverton, Colorado
Various
45 mi (72 km) total across 7 hikes 8000-12,500 ft
(2440-3810 m)
38-75 F (3-24 C)
Sun, rain showers, high winds
Altra Lone Peak 3.0 shoes and Injinji sock

Miller/Turkey Creek Loop

Three-day backpack into the Rincon Mountains that make up the Saguaro National Park East Unit.  This is a great hike as it is one of the few substantial loop hikes in the area, with only a short road walk between the two trailheads to complete the loop.  This is great terrain to test out insoles, as the treadway was a mix of rocks, gravel and small stones.  There were even short stretches of cushy walks through pine needle covered forests.

My feet felt great on this trip - no blisters, no sore feet.  I really appreciated the protection provided to the back half of my feet by the carbon fiber heel cup when ambling over fields of sharp rocks - I was well-protected.  This was a very successful first outing for the insoles.

Grand Falls, Devil's Bridge

This was a 2-night car camping and day hiking trip to a little-visited waterfall, and a highly-visited arch near Sedona, Arizona.  Before departure I replaced the insoles of my brand-new Altra Lone Peak 3.0 trail running shoes.  This was a bit of a challenge, as the toebox of the Lone Peaks are very wide, but the shoe seemed just slightly shorter than my old New Balance models.  Nonetheless, I was able to insert the Superfeet insoles without trimming them.

sf02

The trails we walked on at Grand Falls (we hiked to the bottom and back up again) and Devil's Bridge were both very rocky as shown in the above photo.  The Lone Peaks provide quite a bit of cushioning, but with the Superfeet insoles added to the protection arsenal I had very happy feet!

Morse and Echo Canyons

This was a car-camping trip to the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona which included two substantial hikes:

  1. Up the Morse Canyon trail with about 1500 ft (460 m) of elevation gain/loss.
  2. Echo Canyon descent with about 1300 ft (400 m) of elevation loss.

The Morse Canyon trail was fairly foot-friendly, but the Echo Canyon trail was quite rocky which made me appreciate the Trail Blazer insoles.  I finished both hikes with happy feet.

Canyonlands

sf03This was an epic 6-day tour of Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, Gooseneck State Park, and Canyonlands NP White Rim Trail by Jeep.  We took several day hikes during the week, nothing really long but enough to put my feet through their paces.

I took the picture at left of the insoles in-place just before putting my shoes on.  Our hike was the big wall in the background, though we came just short of summiting it due to time and temperature (too hot!)

The insoles performed just excellent in the rocky terrain of the Moab area.  My feet were comfortable and sustained no injuries or pain of any kind.

The red rocks of the Moab area in Utah stain everything, including the insoles where the dirt just gets ground into the fabric.  Time to throw them in the laundry!  They cleaned up very well and came out looking like new.


San Juans

This was a week-long car camping trip which included hikes every day we were not driving to/from Tucson Arizona.  The trails we explored varied greatly in their foot-friendliness - some stretches were mossy and soft, others were rocky with poor footing.  After a week of daily hiking my feet were in surprisingly good shape with no soreness or pain.  This is a very positive outcome!  Here's what they looked like at the conclusion of this four month test, without any cleaning after I returned from Colorado:

sf04

I thought they held up very well, considering with all the daily use added to my hiking distances I have well over 100 miles (160 km) on them.

Summary

I have a sordid history of Plant Fasciitis, and I was pleased that I had no flare-ups while hiking with the Trail Blazer insoles.  I found them to be very comfortable, and I was very pleased to see that they held up so well.  I liked the way they gripped my socks - my feet never slid around, and I had no blisters whatsoever during the test period.

I intend to keep using the Superfeet Trail Blazer insoles on all hikes where I use boots or trail runners, i.e. footwear that can accommodate insoles.


Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Superfeet for the opportunity to contribute to this test.




Read more reviews of Superfeet gear
Read more gear reviews by Kurt Papke

Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > Superfeet TrailBlazer Insoles > Test Report by Kurt Papke



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson