Having foot issues? As many hikers set out on their thru-hiking season I keep hearing about tragic foot pain. In an effort to reduce some of the tears, I wanted to share a few things that have worked well for my persnickety feet.
Rinse The Grit Away
Try carrying two pairs of socks. Switch them mid-day, and rinse the morning pair out. If you have extra water, give your feet a mid-day wash too. During the dry desert sections just whack the heck out of your socks to get the dust out instead of washing them with your precious water. I still switch them anyway, and wash them near the next water source- remember- don’t wash them directly in the water sources!!! Yuck- toe funk in your water-Eeeeew!
I find that washing my socks regularly helps them last miles and miles longer (like 150-300miles longer!), and keeps my feet happier.
Take Your Shoes Off!
One of my other foot care secrets is to have at least two breaks a day when my shoes come off, my insoles are pulled out & shaken off, and my feet & shoes can have some time apart. I usually give myself a foot massage & elevate them on my pack. Chilling in that lounging reclining position for a bit seems to really help my body get a better rest & lets my feet deflate a bit.
Keep ’em clean with Dirty Girls
Using lightweight gaiters (like Dirty Girl Gaiters) can help keep grit & seeds out of your socks & shoes. Blisters can be caused by dirt creating friction between your skin and the shoe wall, sometimes called the “pearl of pain”. Gaiters can help keep those friction causing agents at bay, but thick gaiters can trap a lot of moisture and heat in your shoes. Dirty Girls work well for me, being light enough to let my shoes breathe while providing their magical “pearl of pain” protection features.
Uh-oh…. blisters happen…
Sole Pain Sucks!
I’ve found that my feet are the gods of my through hike. I spend about an hour a day pampering the crap out of them, and I carry extra things for them. In exchange, they let me walk thousands miles. No matter what I do, my feet are still prissy little princesses. They complain loudly, and I have to listen, after all, it’d be pretty hard to leave them behind! Each hiker is blessed with their own two feet, and you will have to learn what they like best. Good luck with your feet, and may they carry you on wonderful journeys!