Wearing heated insoles in your hiking boots or walking shoes helps keep your feet comfortable so you can stay out on the trail longer and recuperate faster afterward.
In cold environments, keeping your feet warm helps circulation and likely makes you more sure-footed. Walking along rough terrain with frozen blocks for feet makes it more likely you’ll trip or step wrong. Heated insoles are one of the less flashy pieces of outdoor equipment that people tend to forget about or fail to research adequately.
We’ve assembled this list of the five best heated insoles and written out some of the most important information so you can quickly make the most informed decision about which insoles to purchase and get out on the trail sooner. Read this guide to learn everything you need to know and find the best heated insoles for your next fall or winter hike!
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
The 5 Best Heated Insoles - Overview
Here are the top 5 picks.
- Recharges at least 500 times
These ThermaCell insoles are made out of polypropylene, a tough and rigid plastic polymer that provides the perfect blend between flexibility and durability. These insoles are also water-resistant thanks to polypropylene. You can adjust the heating element with a small wireless remote control.
The rechargeable battery is guaranteed to go through 500 cycles so you can use this product for a long time. If there’s one thing they could improve about the ThermaCell Proflex heated insoles, it’s that you may need to trim them to get them to fit your shoe size.
It is nice that you have that ability if needed, but it would be better to have more sizes available. They’re comfortable and come with an included USB wall charger for the lithium-ion polymer battery. Even at the lowest setting, they’re warm enough to keep the worst effects of the cold away from your feet.
There is also a standby mode so you can turn off the heat completely without removing your shoes. There are two heat settings: medium, which sets the heat at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and high, which is 111degrees Fahrenheit. The electric heating lasts for a pretty long time before it needs to have a charge and they’ve also included a carry case so you can keep all the various parts of this combo pack together.
- Powered by high capacity batteries developed by Hotronic
The S4 Universal heated insoles are great for long-lasting heat. At the lowest setting, you can depend on them for over twenty hours of warmth. They’re also incredibly comfortable and less obtrusive in the shoe than most other models.
One thoughtful feature included in this model is the ability to blast your feet with a little bit of extra heat if the chill starts to get to them. The rechargeable battery might not last as long if you’re using that feature too often, but it’s worth it to get through particularly cold periods.
They also come with hooks so you can affix them to the outside of your boots or shoes to prevent them from slipping out of place. The battery will run for about 5 hours of continuous use but you can up that figure to as high as seven hours if you use the power setting responsibly.
The only disadvantage is the battery pack, which is slightly bulky feeling and might snag on things as you walk. But if you’re in fairly clear territory it’s not a problem and you can continue to move without worrying about it.
- The Heated Shoe Insoles Keep your feet warm in cold winter and relieve pressure and pain from shoes. Temperature is designed for the most comfortable and safe level in winter. You can enjoy warmth...
Dr. Warm is a great budget option if you need a quick warmth booster. They’re battery-operated and designed to provide constant heat to maximize your body’s blood circulation and keep you toasty and comfortable even when things get chilly.
Two straps tie around the legs to keep everything where it should be and prevent it from slipping or getting in the way of your hiking and skiing. They’re made of EVA foam rather than polyurethane or PP so don’t expect much in the way of orthotics or arch support.
That being said, if you have shoes and other methods of supporting your foot, these will work just fine. They’re one-size-fits-all and you can also trim them to fit your shoe size. It takes some time to get used to having the leg straps on, but your feet stay warm with these on and that’s the most important thing in the end.
- SAFE, NATURAL LONG-LASTING HEAT - Odorless, Disposable, Single-Use Item, Do Not Apply Directly to The Skin. TSA Approved. Made in the USA using domestic and imported materials.
Another budget-friendly option for warm feet, these Hothands are air-activated and extremely portable. Bring them in your pack or winter coat pocket, crack them open whenever you need, shake them to activate, and then slip them inside your boots.
You might take up more space in your pack than you would with a set of rechargeable heated insoles. But on the plus side, these work great for men and women and are perfect for sudden cold fronts and additional warmth. If you like to take long-distance camping trips, you can clear American airports with these warmers since they’re TSA-approved.
The packaging is small enough that you can keep them in your rucksack or in a car glovebox to use as needed. They have an adhesive backing so that they stay in place, which is a less intrusive method of guaranteeing their fit than the straps or clips of other products.
But they are a less robust model overall, so if you need additional heat for medical reasons or you’re going to be in an extremely cold locale you might need to invest in a more sophisticated option.
By far the most robust on this list, these Therm-Ic insoles last long enough at a high energy output and have fine enough technology that they may be too heavy-duty for some people. It’s a larger investment but if you can afford it or you need a super dependable insole they’re a fantastic option.
Most are fitted with Bluetooth and you can control them from your phone, which is great because you don’t have to make space or keep track of the smaller remotes used by other models. However, if you’re app-averse the controls on these insoles are not very intuitive or convenient, so it’s best to either buy the Bluetooth version or opt for a simpler option.
Perhaps best of all, you can have these installed in your hiking boots or ski shoes permanently, erasing the need for extra gear space or having to keep track of where they are. Since you control the heat with a smartphone app, you’ll always be equipped to handle the cold.
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.
The ThermaCell Proflex Heated Insoles are the best way to keep your feet toasty during outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, or camping when there is lots of snow and ice on the ground. They’re versatile enough, comfortable, and dependable so you can use them for everything from mountain climbing adventures to hiking to keeping your feet warm during late-night bonfires.
You don’t have to break the bank to get great outdoor equipment and the ThermaCell heated insoles prove that. They’re far and away the most comfortable set we could find and they also have a long lifetime and durable enough construction to last a while.
Next time you head out to the backcountry and you know there will be cold days and nights ahead of you, invest in one of the pairs of heated insoles on this list to make sure your feet are well-protected and warm the entire time. Any of them is a solid choice, but ThermaCell is the best.