Take Care of Your Feet—7 Tips for the Hardcore Hiker

The right information, preparation and tools can help you deal with any foot pain on the trail

If you’ve ever dealt with a blister, arch issues or any other form of foot pain you can easily imagine how much worse it would be if you encountered any of these problems in the middle of a long hike. With miles ahead and nothing to do but continue walking, foot pain on the trail can be absolutely brutal—but it doesn’t have to be. With a bit of preparation, the right tools and some know-how you’ll be ready to either deal with or avoid any issue that arises. 

Start Slow
As with all taxing physical activity, it’s best for your body if you start slow and train your muscles over time. Before you tackle those epic multi-day hikes, it’s a good idea to try a few shorter hikes to allow your legs and feet to get accustomed to trekking with a pack over uneven terrain.

Choose the Right Shoes
All features and technology aside, the shoe you should buy is the one that feels most comfortable to you. Bring along hiking socks to try on boots; make sure that your toes aren’t cramped and that your heel fits securely in the bottom of the boot. For more information on getting a perfect fit, check out our article [insert hyperlink here].

Skip Cotton Socks
Cotton holds on to moisture and moisture can be extremely problematic on the trail. Buy some socks that wick moisture away from your feet and be sure to wash and dry them regularly.

Break Your Boots In
Anyone who has ever bought a brand new pair of boots and then immediately took them to the trail has learned the hard way that it’s crucial to break boots in. Wear your boots a few times before your next long hike to access and then alleviate any issues.

Give Your Feet a Break
Quality boots that fit well are a key asset, but when you’re not hiking it’s best to take them off and give your feet time to breathe. Getting out of your boots for a while will help minimize moisture and could help minimize swelling.

Keep Your Toenails Short
Long toenails can be a painful mistake, especially when you’re headed downhill. Keep them clipped short to avoid some pain on the trail.

Be Prepared
Even when you’re following all the tips, there’s a chance you’ll wind up with a blister and it pays to be prepared. Bring along a small bag with your foot first aid essentials. You might want to include alcohol wipes for sterilization, your favorite bandage option, moleskin, tape, some powder to help dry and a safety pin to pop the blister. Also highly recommended—a pair (or two) of fresh socks.

More Reading:
Find the Perfect Fitting Hiking Boot
7 Tips for Handling Hot Summer Hikes
The Best Boots for Hiking The Grand Canyon

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