This short post explores some of the ways to stop annoying heel slippage when you’re hiking. Most walkers experience one of two common problems: blisters or slipping. Both are interrelated and by solving one you can often eliminate the other.
All of the heel pads outlined here will work for any kind of shoe and any kind of walking activity. My suggestion is that you experiment with a few different types. You might also want to try using some different lacing systems (especially the “heel lock”) which I know from personal experience can have a significant benefit.
In my quest to find the antidote to slipping, I’ve tried most “grips” that are available to buy. Generally speaking, they are made from either suede or silicone gel. The way that the pads work, as far as I’m aware, is by decreasing the volume in the heel area of the boot. By limiting the space in which your heel has to move, they essentially reduce the tendency of your foot to slip.
The fact that your heels are slipping doesn’t necessarily mean the boots don’t fit. Some boots just have roomy heel cups and it may mean, due to their make-up, that your feet just don’t sit well in them. A small, and I do mean small, amount of slippage is also very common (even normal) with heavy-duty boots that have thick, stiff soles.
ProFoot Heel Snugs: These foam pads offer the most cushioning of any product that I’ve tried. Whether you choose the less bulkier suede grips or these (I’d recommend that you get both and sample them) will be a matter of how much space you need to fill in the back of your boots. If you’re in America, the “Heavenly Heelz” Foot Petals are very similar.
Generic Heel Grips (Suede): These are by far the most widely known and used footwear accessories designed to stop slipping. There’s lots of different retailers selling a fairly standard model like the one pictured on the right. They tend to be quite robust and are excellent for combating small amounts of slippage.
Gel/Silicone Pads: These sound enticing, but be careful. The problem with most gel pads (and I’ve tried a lot) is that they easily come away from the back of the boots. The most significant benefit of gel pads is that they’re also very good at tackling blisters. I’ve yet to try attaching them with super glue (my poor boots) but that’s one option I know a lot of people swear by.
Let me know what your own experiences are in the comments section below.