If you are blister-prone, like me, you understand the pain and frustration that sore sad feet can cause on the trail. When our feet are hurting, it can be hard to focus on anything else- even the beautiful scenery in the backcountry! Here are a few of my favorite tricks to keep my feet warm, dry and happy on the trail.
Proper fit. First and foremost, ensure that you have properly fitting boots! Boots should be snug-but not tight. You should have room in the toe-box to wiggle your toes. Hiking boots should not restrict your feet or cause any immediate hot spots or pressure points.
Bodyglide. I have used Bodyglide for years for running and one day, had the miraculous idea to use it on my feet for long hiking trips! Simply take a travel size tube of Bodyglide and apply it to your problem spots for extra protection- voila! (I have heard from friends who use foot powders, like Gold Bond, with positive results as well.)
Sock liners. Wear two pairs of socks. Sock liners can truly work wonders in preventing blisters (and in keeping your feet warm on those winter trips!)
Sleeping socks. While we are on the topic of socks, I will share one of my personal trail luxuries with you. I always bring an extra pair of socks just for sleeping in. Nothing is greater (in my humble opinion) than crawling into your sleeping bag with a nice dry set of socks on. Clean socks help keep your feet warm and allow you to rest easy!
Climbers tape. On days when I know my feet will take a beating, I preemptively apply climbers tape to my problem spots (which for me, is the backs of my heels). This is a surefire way to prevent blisters from forming. Climbers tape is super sticky and easily stays in place- even on the sweatiest of days!
Newspaper. For trips where it is feasible to bring along some newspaper (car camping, for instance) this material can be a great help! At the end of a long day of hiking, stuffing your wet boots with newspaper will help them dry more quickly… (bonus, you can always burn the newspaper in your campfire after use!) No one wants to start the next day with wet boots, so this is a trick that is sure to keep your feet dry and happy!
Hopefully you can use some of these tips to help keep your feet happy on the trail! We all know that our feet are integral to our backpacking adventures, so keeping them in good shape is essential. Happy trails!