How To Care For Your Feet When Hiking
Tips For Feet Care During Hiking
Hiking is a great way to exercise, unwind, and forget about all worries. Immersed in nature, you can enjoy the birds singing, star gaze at night, and free your mind for all problems. There is hardly anything that can interfere with this bliss. Apart from blisters and sore feet that is. An issue that could turn this idyllic scenario into a true nightmare.
It is essential, therefore, to learn how to care for your feet when hiking. Luckily, there is no rocket science behind this, and most things you should do are just common sense. Here are a few tips to help you keep your feet happy even during the longest walks.
Wear Well-Fitted Hiking Shoes Or Boots
When hiking, remember that you will only go as far as your feet will take you. Quality footwear is a must. Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes for the summer and hiking boots for the colder months, without compromising on the quality of the gear because of your budget.
Not only the footwear must have superlative durability and features; it must also fit you like a glove.
Never adventure on a new hike with a brand new pair of shoes. Walking a long trail in a pair of shoes that weren’t broken in, is a sure way of ending with your feet covered in blisters at the end of the day.
Clip Your Toenails
One of the most overlooked aspects of foot care when hiking is toenail clipping. This is a crucial thing to take care of before setting foot on the trail though.
If your toenails are too long, your shoes are going to press on them regardless of how fit they are. In most cases, this causes discomfort and sore feet. But in the worst cases, it could cause bleeding and injury that could result in your nails falling off.
Yeah, you read that right. So, if you want to prevent a nail-less situation, grab a good toenail clipper and give yourself a pedicure before adventuring.
Wear Dry, Clean Socks
It’s not only the fitted shoes that will contribute to the wellbeing of your feet when you’re hiking. Your socks matter too. There is a wealth of advice out there when it comes to them. Some claim you should wear thin socks. Other praise the thick, wool ones, claiming that they are the way to go. The truth?
Experienced hikers swear by the two-socks method; get a pair of thin, synthetic, moisture-wicking socks and a pair of thick wool socks, and wear them both when hiking. Another great option is to wear specially designed hiking socks.
The thin pair goes first; its role is to absorb moisture and transfer it to the outer sock. The thick pair acts as a cushion between your foot and the shoe, but it also absorbs moisture, helping your feet stay dry.
It is crucial that you wash your socks each evening or that you carry enough clean pairs with you so that you will always put on clean and dry socks in the morning.
And do you want to know another awesome tip? Wear your socks inside out, so the stitching won’t hurt you during a long hike. Also, don’t forget to wear both pairs of socks when trying on your hiking shoes. Otherwise, they might not fit.
Sweat isn’t good friends with your skin; the problem is your feet will produce plenty as you hike. Luckily, there are dozens of products you can use to reduce its nasty effects.
If you sweat a lot, an antiperspirant spray could be your best bet. Foot powder can also help reduce friction, which is your ultimate goal. You could even replace foot powder with baby powder as a last resort.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should cover your feet in it. Use it sparingly to prevent it from clumping up.
Moisturize Your Feet
Sweat, heat, and the antiperspirant products you might use will eventually dry your skin. Dry skin is prone to injuries, so moisturizing your feet right after a hike is as important as keeping them dry during it.
Throw some foot cream or oil into your backpack before setting off on your new adventure.
Take off your shoes and socks as soon as you reach the camping spot and either stay barefoot for a while or put on a pair of hiking sandals. Let your skin air dry, then give your feet a good wash. Apply foot cream or oil and let them moisturize overnight.
Treat Hot Spots And Blisters
Getting hot spots and blisters when hiking is usually unavoidable, and so is dealing with the issue before it turns into a big problem. Untreated blisters will not only make walking a pain; they can also cause an infection.
A blister is always preceded by a hot spot, which is a burning sensation on your foot. At this stage, stop. Take off your shoes, air dry your feet, and put on some fresh and dry socks you hopefully have in your backpack. If the sensation is really bad, tape up the hot spot too, to prevent it from turning into a blister.
In the event that it turned into a blister, clean the spot, and cover with a Band-Aid. Make sure to stop occasionally to check on it and reapply the Band-Aid if necessary.
Not only you now know how to care for your feet when hiking, but here’s an extra tip.
Cleverly throw a golf ball in your backpack before leaving your home, and use it at night to help soothe your sore feet. The ball rub will help you relax and improve flexibility in your foot muscles, and rest assured your feet will thank you for such a sweet treat.