Proper backpacking or hiking foot care calls for diligence long before you get on the trail. To enjoy a successful trip that includes long distance hiking and avoid foot pain on your vacation, work from the soles up.
Shop smart for your shoes
Where are you hiking? What will the temperature be? Are you in the desert or will you be walking through water and wet grass? A sturdy pair of hiking sandals may be an excellent fit, but they’re not a great option if your feet are always cold.
When finding the right travel shoes for your feet, shop late in the day. If your feet are going to swell, they will be at their puffiest during this time. Waterproof hikers are always a good investment, as are absorbent socks for blister prevention. Make sure to get hiking shoes that you can lace a bit tighter at the start of the trail.
Plan for the climate
If you’re going into the wet, invest in waterproof hiking boots. Lubricate your feet inside your socks and air them whenever you take a break. Yes, your feet may smell, but good hiking foot care will pay off for you.
Invest in arch support
If you suffer from instep foot pain while walking, you will need more support in your hiking shoe. The easiest step is considering glueing in arch support or investing in arch support socks. Also, be sure to stretch your feet in the middle of the day. Rolling your foot across a full (frozen if possible) water bottle is a great way to loosen up the bottom of the foot. However, at the end of your trip, if your feet still hurt, seeing a podiatrist for consultation could be critical for your hiking foot care.
Hiking foot care and blisters
Blisters are caused by heat and friction. You’re working hard, so your feet are going to sweat. Additionally, you may be hiking in the rain. When you stop, air your feet. If your feet are starting to swell, elevate them and have a real rest.
The time to use hiking foot care kits is before you get on the trail. Make sure your feet are moisturized to protect the skin from rubbing. Take extra socks so you can change your socks in the middle of the day.
Pack a blister kit
Everybody gets blisters, and if you don’t, someone on the trail will. Make sure you have some medical supplies such as alcohol wipes and antibiotic ointment. Be ready to pad the blister and bring extra tape; it’s easy to sweat off bandages.
One of the most important considerations in how to take care of your feet on the trail is awareness. Trails can be rough, and long strides may get you into trouble. Take more steps and keep them short to avoid a rolled ankle or smashed toe.
Don’t hike in new boots!
New hikers are fun but should never be used directly on the trail. Break those suckers in with short day hikes and long dog walks. You don’t want to be three days into a seven-day vacation and be in pain because your hikers are currently breaking in your feet.
Train for your trip
Hiking is strenuous exercise and can be much harder than walking. If you’re not in shape, this may become dangerously hard. Even if it isn’t dangerous, you may be miserable by the end of the trip. Plan short day hikes to build your endurance and determine what you need in terms of hiking shoes, socks, and water.