Care of Your Feet
- Carry a small hard rubber ball and roll your bare tired feet
over it at rest breaks.
- If you feet are dry and cracks begin appearing (as happens
sometimes when wearing sandals for long periods), use a skin
moisturizer several times a day. Some people use Bagbalm (bagbalm.com)
or Utterly Smooth (uttercream.com) which, as you may have guessed,
are products normally used on cow utters.
- Carry duct tape and apply it to a hot spot as soon as you
feel it while hiking. The tape made of cloth works best. Athletic
tape works also.
- Try different socks. For me, switching to Smartwool socks
when wearing hiking boots made all the difference.
- Be creative when lacing your boots. With my last pair of boots,
I found that if I didn't' lace the bottom two islets my toes
had a little more needed room.
- If your going to have to hike for a while, the surest way
to get relief may be to take a knife to your boots or trail
shoes. Cut out the part that is causing the pain.
- When taking a rest break, take off your shoes and socks and
let your feet air out. Also, rub your feet with alcohol and
elevate them to reduce swelling.
- Colin Fletcher rubs his feet daily with alcohol to toughen
them before going on a long hike. At the least this would dry
them and discourage bacterial and fungal growth, which softens
- The test results are in and rubbing the feet with deodorant
has been shown to prevent blisters, apparently by shutting down
the sweat glands in your feet. Do it daily for three or four
days before the hike. Rub everywhere except the tops of your
feet, which are more sensitive.
- Also at that rest break, if your socks are wet, change into
a dry pair and hang the socks that you have removed from your
feet on your pack to dry as you walk.
- If you usually get a blister in a certain place, apply duct
tape, athletic tape, or Compeed to that spot before you start
- Wrap duct tape around your trekking poles so it is always
readily available. Wrap it just below the handles.
- Sometimes Vaseline applied ahead of time, will prevent blisters.
- Make sure your boots fit. Try on boots in the afternoon as
your feet swell as the day wears on.You should have 1/4-1/2
inch of room at the end of your toes. If in doubt opt for a
- Buying a larger size means a wider boot, not a longer boot.
New Balance Trail Running Shoes come in all the widths up to
- Compeed Skin Protector is a special cushion for preventing
and/or healing blisters. There are other brands such as Band-Aid
Blister Block. Look for a product featuring Compeed moisture
seal technology. It is very easy to apply, and, because it breaths,
it does not have to be removed for the several days that the
blister is healing.
- If you have a painful blister, clean it and lance it near
the bottom with a sterilized needle. Apply a little tincture
of Benzoin which will help later dressings to adhere to your
skin. Then either apply a compeed strip or if using moleskin,
cut a hole in the piece of moleskin that is just larger than
the blister. Place the moleskin on the blister to create a pressure
free pocket for the blister. Next apply a small circle of Spenco
2nd Skin directly on the blister. Cover it with a second piece
of moleskin and secure it in place with strips of medical tape
or duct tape. I remove all this at night and recreate it in
the morning. With Compeed this is not necessary.
- When making moleskin or duct-tape patches, round the corners
to discourage peeling.