With the exception of injury, the only time I have had to cut short a hike has been due to blisters or sore, painful feet. You might think, why is it always the feet that cause the problems? Well simples – you are putting your entire weight and effort, to move forward and upwards, through your feet. They take the brunt of the impact whenever we go walking.
As a result, the most important piece of equipment that we have for walking is our feet.
It is therefore essential that we follow a few simple tips to look after your feet and make sure that they cause us no problems when we are out walking.
- Trim toenails – Long toenails put pressure on the toe as they push against the boot. Trim straight across the nail rather than round the corners.
- File calluses – this will prevent blisters forming under them, resulting in an infection.
- Change Socks – hot spots can create sores and lead to blisters. On a long walk change your socks when your feet get hot and sweaty
Your second most important piece of kit is the one that protects your feet – your boots/walking shoes. These also need to be maintained and looked after. But it is not just about caring for the fabric of the boot it is also about the way we use it to protect your feet.
- Clean the inside of the boot – Small bits of grit and stone can irritate your feet and lead to blisters.
- Replace damaged shoelaces – Damaged laces won’t tie properly, creating pressure points on the top of your feet and preventing the boot from fitting snugly.
- Check the insole – and replace if damaged in any way.
- Apply talc to inside of boot – This will help to absorb moisture and keep the foot dry.
- Wear wool socks – Cotton socks don’t absorb moisture as well. Wool socks also tend to be thicker, providing more cushion. Wear two pairs of socks, one thin inner sock and a thicker outer.
- Smooth socks around feet – Ensure there are no creases in the socks which can lead to friction and blisters.
- Tie laces correctly – The boot needs to fit firmly but no too tight. If laces dig in they will be uncomfortable.
Even if you follow all these tips there is still the chance that you will get the odd blister so it is important that you know how to treat blisters and have the right equipment in your first-aid kit.