Hiking is a great way to be a part of nature, get exercise, be healthy, and make new experiences. It’s a low impact activity with a low level of entry. While hiking may be ‘simple’ or ‘easy’ it doesn’t mean that there isn’t nuance, and things can often get overlooked. One of the important things to remember is to take care of your feet. Your feet are what you are hiking on all day and they’ll thank you if you take care of them! Unhappy feet are painful, sore, and smelly, so your friends and loved ones will thank you too. So before you make plans for your next hiking adventure make sure you follow these foot care tips.
Step one is to make sure you have properly fitting and appropriate hiking shoes. It’s easy to have the wrong shoes. It’s important to remember that you want a boot or shoe that is snug, but not too tight. You will also want to test your shoes when buying them. It’s wise to give a good kick with your toe into a wall or other hard surface. You want to simulate stubbing your toe on rocks, trees, or other forest obstacles. When kicking the wall you want your shoe to take the impact, leaving your toe un-stubbed and impact free. But, remember you want it snug too, so you don’t want a boot so big and loose that the heel slips out and chafes. A properly fitting boot will also provide ankle support, preventing injury and ending your hike early. It’s due to these reasons that hiking boots are an accessories that are best to buy in person at a store so that you can try on a variety of styles and talk to fitting experts to make sure you are getting the proper fit. But, use this information to ask helpful questions and find the size for you.
Even with the best and most comfortable hiking shoes accidents do happen and painful blisters or bunions can develop. This is usually the result of loose socks. A thin liner sock as your first layer, with a warmer wool outer sock is ideal. This will keep friction off of your feet and help keep your skin blister free. If blisters still develop, immediately attend to them with a tape or moleskin blister dressing. Remember to cut a hole to go around your blister, allowing it to heal and prevent further friction.
The thing to remember is to listen to your body! Your feet will tell you when they need attention. Follow these tips and give your feet the love they deserve so you can keep on exploring!