Ahh, those stinky hiker feet! We’ve all had ‘em and we’ve
all suffered the consequences of having to share a tent next to someone whose
pigs are oinking. But it’s not just the unpleasantry of the wear and tear on
the olfactory system that can cause vexation (afterall, the essence of trail-toe,
is, well…to be gross and honest…better than some
aromas). No, it’s usually not the offensive smelling tootsies that will ruin a
trip, but rather, the bulbous welts that arrive on the toes, heels or foot pad
after miles and miles of trail-schlepping with a backpack. Blisters are a real
buzz kill, but did you know, they are a fairy easy thing to prevent? Here are some awesome bulbous-blister-busting-bursting
A wise person once noted, that three things together cause a
blister: Moisture, Friction
If you eliminate any of those three things, you won’t have one.
Sounds easy right?
hot in here, so take off all your…socks
: The second, and I mean second
you feel a hot spot (known as a
slight skin discomfort or annoyance) stop immediately and take your socks off.
Let your feet dry out and then slap some moleskin or or athletic tap on the
Don’t hesitate to do
this, even if you are very early in the hike. If you are stubborn or incredibly
goal oriented, this will be really hard for you. I speak from experience, where
my headstrongness has led to hobbling ((fist shake)) .
If you are on a multi-day
backpacking trip, stop every couple of
hours and let your feet air-out
. Heck, even if it’s a long day hike and you
are blister prone, air them out at your destination. If you read this article
and can only take away one thing....yep, this is it!
Chafing or agitation can
turn a foot into the oyster-creating-a-pearl scenario. All it takes is a grain
of sand or grit to find it’s way in between your toes and before long your
nasty little pearl is born. If you experience any rubbing stop immediately and
take off your shoes.
If you are near
water, plunge your pigs into the creek and do your best scrub-a-dub. Tip toe
back to a good perch and wait for your feet to dry completely.
You might also keep some wet wipes with you
if you are travelling in a dry landscape to perform a similar cleansing.
If it continues to happen, you may
have ill-fitting shoes. Sure, they looked cute in the store, and maybe even had
a nice “clop” when you strutted around the footwear department, but the
struggle on the trail is real, Betty. Always buy your footwear with more wiggle
room than you think you’ll need.
are mostly a fair weather hiker, you’ll find that warm days and/or lots of
walking will make your feet swell and thus, cause rubbing where you thought
there was none.
|Who says feet aren't pretty?!|
Another tip...have you tried trail
If you are someone who is
still in the antiquated mindset which screams “I must wear big boots because I
have bad ankles,” it’s time to reconsider. Some scientific math wizard with too
much time on their hands decided that every pound on the foot equals five on
the back. Sure, I buy it.
Trail runners are lightweight and
designed to limit pronation (twisting) on rocky, uneven surfaces- in other
words, they are made for trails and for you! They are much lighter than boots, allowing
you more control of your feet and their placement which prevents ankle rolls. Unless
you have serious bone or joint maladies, your ankles WILL adjust to them, it
just requires a little training.
I started using trail running shoes, I too was skeptical.
Back in the day, I had sprained, strained and
twisted more ankles than I could count, so I was justifiably worried that these
were not the solution for me. Trust me, your ankles and feet will figure it out as mine have.
The fabric on a trail running shoe
is much more forgiving than say, a stiff boot or mid-ankle hiker, so rubbing is
just less common and blistering potential is diminished.
Getting used to them before you
head off on a long backpacking trip is the key.
AND…don’t forget the trail running shoes' trusty companion- the trekking pole!
The trekking pole is a good way to keep your posture upright and prevent
stumbling when the going gets rough, literally. Interview any long distance
thru-hiker and you’ll find that all of them go the distance sans big, clompy
boots. Give trail runners a shot, hot-shot!
let’s sweat, SWE-AT!:
That one took you back to the big hair days, huh?
Now, where was I. Right…sweaty pigs. If you are someone whose feet are always
miserably hot, hot hot, you are likely prone to getting blisters. Wet feet not
only feel turr-ible
, but they are also much more likely to spring a welt than
feet whose light moisture can be wicked away with a sock. Here’s the good news.
There’s hope for you my bi-ped perspiring peeps!
A sock liner, or a sock that is tight to your
skin can work as the preliminary moisture shortstop, as if it were a second
skin. Slide that sucker tightly under your regular sock and wa-la, it's as if you've grown a dermis layer! Or try this…a company named Wright Socks, has
created a sock that has two layers built-in to help with all of the above. It’s a
slippery little stinker that slides on comfortably and prevents blisters by
doing its job of eliminating all three blister-creating elements. They are so sure it works, they offer 100%
You could also try wool socks which have
crazy-beautiful natural wicking properties and can even make those with hot hooves,
Get out there and as always,
thanks for playing.