Superfeet Run Cushion and Hike Cushion Insole Review
This is a sponsored post brought to you by Superfeet.
Like many new backpackers, I only stumbled upon the magic of aftermarket insoles after weeks of entrenched foot pain. I stretched, I self-massaged, I changed shoes, but nothing seemed to help—until I invested in a pair of Superfeet insoles to replace the flimsy footbeds that came standard in my shoes. The pain went away, and the world made sense again. My Feet did indeed feel Super, and I’ve been a loyal customer ever since.
Everything starts with your feet when you spend half your life walking around in the mountains, so you better make sure those puppies have the support they need. A nice orthotic can improve the condition of your feet (of course), but it can also do wonders for your ankles, knees, and spine.
I started out with the classic All-Purpose Support High Arch (the insole formerly known as Superfeet Green. Superfeet recently updated their product names to be more descriptive.) but soon began exploring the brand’s other offerings. Recently, I had the opportunity to test four specialized Superfeet insoles: the Hike Cushion and the Run Cushion High, Medium, and Low arch varieties.
Note: These insoles used to be called Adapt Hike Max and Adapt Run/Adapt Run Max, respectively. The product names were just recently updated, but the insoles themselves are the same. So if you were a fan of the old Adapt Hike/Run lines, these are the ones you want!
Circumstances of Review
I’ve been using the Hike Cushion insoles for about a year now on backpacking trips across the country, so I have a good idea of how they perform. The three Run Cushion insoles are new to me, and I’ve only had them for a handful of weeks, so my thoughts on those three are strictly first impressions. I’ve been using all four insoles in my favorite zero-drop trail runner around town, at the gym, and on the trail.
I even gave them the ultimate test by taking them hiking on a stretch of the AT in rocky Pennsylvania—an activity sometimes compared to walking barefoot on Legos for hundreds (or in my case, dozens) of miles.
The names give it away, really. The Hike Cushion is designed for hikers, while the Run Cushion is designed for runners. But beyond that, the two lines are surprisingly similar, sharing the same basic design and materials. That being said, the two lines do have a few key differences that set them apart.
First, the Hike insole is only available as a medium- to high-arch insert, whereas the Run comes in three arch sizes: high, medium, and low. And although both footbeds use the same type of foam, the Run has somewhat more of it, resulting in a springier, more cushioned ride. The difference is subtle but immediately noticeable.
Despite the name, the Run Cushion insole still works just fine for hiking. You might choose it over the Hike Cushion if you have a lower arch or prefer something softer underfoot. As I said, it shares many of the features that make the Hike insole so great for the trails (like the deep heel cup and responsive forefoot padding), so there’s no reason not to throw a pair in your trail runners before your next backpacking trip.
Superfeet Hike Cushion Insole At-a-Glance
Size Range: Women’s 4.5 – Men’s 13
Weight (pair, size C): 2.75 oz
Arch support: Medium to high
Who are these best for?
The Hike Cushion insoles are best for (you guessed it) hikers, especially those who favor a little extra cushioning underfoot. Compared to Superfeet’s other hiking-specific insole—the firm, extra-stable Hike Support—the Hike Cushion is cushier and more responsive to the foot’s natural flexion.
The Hike Cushion is an appropriate choice for day hikers, but especially for long-distance backpackers who need to keep their feet healthy for longer periods in the face of trying conditions. Swapping the flimsy inserts that come standard in most hiking shoes for a sturdy pair of Superfeet is many thru-hikers’ first line of defense against the specter of chronic foot pain.
One note: the Hike Cushion insole has a medium-high arch and thus may not be suitable for someone with a low arch. Superfeet makes other insoles that cater to this foot shape, one of which is covered later in this review. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Superfeet Run Cushion High / Medium / Low Insole At-a-Glance
Weight (pair, size C): 2.75 oz
Size Range: Women’s 4.5 – Men’s 13
Arch support: Low, medium, or high
Who are these best for?
They’re designed for runners, but as stated above, the Run Cushion also works great as a hiking insole for anyone who wants a cushier footwear experience and/or the ability to customize their insole’s arch height. I preferred the softer Run Cushion to the Hike Cushion for casual around-town wear and trips to the gym. The extra foam does more to dampen impacts on unyielding pavement and other hard surfaces.
Superfeet Hike Cushion and Run Cushion Insole Features
So, I was going to do a separate features section for the Hike and Run insoles, but they use so many of the same technologies and design elements that it seems a bit silly to do it that way.
We hikers need insoles that move with our feet, protecting us from rough terrain while still allowing us to feel and respond organically to the trail surface underfoot. To that end, Superfeet’s “Adaptive Comfort Technology” flexes with your foot, promoting healthier footfalls and a more natural gait.
Testing the Run Cushion and Hike Cushion insoles against an old pair of Superfeet Greens I had lying around, the adaptive comfort technology in the Hike and Run models made a noticeable difference. I still love the classic Green, don’t get me wrong, but they are a lot stiffer underfoot.
Designed to last up to a year or 500 miles, whichever comes first. I just got fresh insoles a few weeks ago for this review, but I also have Hike Cushiones from last year that have about 600 miles of mixed-use on them. They do look pretty beat, and the orange foam pads under the heel and forefoot softened quite a bit. Still, I definitely would have kept using them if I hadn’t gotten this new pair in the mail.
Superfeet applies a coating to the top layer of the insole that keeps your foot comfy and inhibits odor-causing bacteria when you sweat.
You know how when you’re hiking downhill, your toes can slide forward a little bit and bump the front of your shoe, resulting in pain, lost toenails, and sadness? The deep heel cup on these insoles helps keep your foot in place so that doesn’t happen. The heel cup is also very supportive and includes an additional layer of cushioning foam to keep the backs of your feet happy. As a plantar fasciitis sufferer, this heel design is a godsend.
Rear Foot Support
The arch placement is offset toward the back of the insole more so than most insoles, coming in almost right in front of the heel. This placement is supposed to reduce strain and allow your feet to move more naturally. The arch support is a marked improvement over other shoes/insoles I’ve tried, providing structure without being too firm.
The arch placement, deep heel cup, and extra layer of padding beneath the heel combine to relieve pressure and disperse vibrations at the back of the foot, an area that typically takes a beating on the trail.
Responsive Forefoot Zone
A targeted layer of cushy (yet responsive) foam provides extra protection under the ball of your foot, another vulnerable area that’s prone to wear and tear as the miles drag on.
I may spend 50 to 80 percent of every year living as an unwashed vagrant, but I still appreciate good styling. True, not that many people other than me get to enjoy the inside of my hiking shoes, which is their loss entirely. Still, I love seeing the neat squiggly pattern of my Superfeet peeking out every time I take my shoes off or put them on. It’s the little things in life.
Getting the Right Fit in Your Superfeet Insoles
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 with a pair of scissors. Voila! A perfect fit every time.
For reference, I wear Altras in a women’s 8.5. This technically puts me at the bottom of the Size D range, but I’ve found that Size C fits my shoe perfectly without me needing to trim the insole at all.
If you go with the Run Cushion line, you get to choose your arch height. There’s no standard way to determine whether you have “high” arches, but the classic test is to walk barefoot on a sandy beach. If your footprint only shows your heel and forefoot with little in between, you probably have a high arch.
I found that the Run Cushion Medium and Run Cushion High both felt good on my feet. I slightly preferred the High arch version because I like a lot of support. For comparison’s sake, the Hike Cushion falls somewhere between the Run Cushion Medium and High in terms of arch support.
All four of these insoles are “max” thickness, regardless of the arch height. Not only does the extra thickness provide more protection underfoot, but it can also help fill out roomy footwear for a perfect fit. If your shoes have a more snug fit, you might want to go for a thinner insole.
And not to belabor the point, but as mentioned elsewhere in this review, the Hike Cushion isn’t quite as thick as the Run Cushion (even though both styles are max thickness). The Run Cushion is about 4 mm thick, while the Hike Cushion is 3 mm thick.
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, Superfeet insoles are nice and cushy. As I shift my weight from one foot to the other, I can feel the foam responding underneath. It’s actually quite delightful. Despite being the cushier option in Superfeet’s hiking lineup, the Hike Cushion is still noticeably firmer than the Run Cushion insoles. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is entirely up to personal preference.
All four of the footbeds I tested felt great when I first slipped them into my shoes, and then I stopped thinking about them within 20 minutes. That’s exactly how I like my insoles—so comfy I forget they’re even there. And the true testament to their quality isn’t how great they feel when I first put them on, but rather how fresh and non-injured my feet feel after a 20-mile day of rough and rocky hiking in Painsylvania.
Whether you choose the Hike Cushion or one of the Run Cushions is a matter of personal preference. They’re all great insoles. And at $50, they’re actually somewhat cheaper than the classic All-Purpose Support High Arch—a pleasant surprise given how well-engineered they are.
Anyway, I’ve never questioned the price of a pair of Superfeet. They last a long time, and they’re worth every penny. I budget for a new pair every 500-600 miles when I replace my shoes, and their inclusion in my packing list is non-negotiable. I know the alternative is sore, fatigued feet at best and plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and other hike-threatening injuries at worst.
The verdict: Whether you’re struggling with foot pain or just looking for ways to get the most out of your hiking day, I encourage you to try a pair of Superfeet. I plan to put many more miles on my own pairs and will most likely get more of the Hike Cushion insoles (for hiking) and Run Cushion High insoles (for the gym and daily wear) after my current ones wear out. The Hike Cushion, in particular, will be joining me for my 600-mile thru-hike of the Pyrenees High Route this summer.
The Superfeet Hike Cushion and Run Cushion Low, Medium, and High were donated for the purpose of review.
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