How To Avoid Blisters When Hiking: 10 Simple Ways
We have always loved the outdoors, and hiking is one of the best ways to do that. Hiking is the 4th favorite outdoor activity in the U.S.
Still, there is one not-so-fun issue when going outdoors: Those painful hiking blisters. So, having an idea of how to avoid blisters when hiking is vital. In this post, we will give you the necessary knowledge.
1. Wear Properly Fitted Footwear
We hikers all have our favorite footwear, but generally, there are two types of shoes. The traditional leather boots are favored by most. Gaining in popularity is mesh footwear. Both have their benefits on different types of hikes. Aside from that, the main thing they share is they have to fit your foot.
Measure your feet and buy your proper size by doing so. Try the boots on at the end of the day. Your feet are largest then. Earlier in the day, it could mean you buy a size slightly too small. Make sure the toes have some wiggle room as well. If you manage to buy the proper size, you are already one step ahead of the blisters. And don’t forget to break in your hiking boots!
2. Overlap Your Socks
Socks are good for preventing blisters as long as they are hiking socks. Regular cotton socks won’t do the job. Dedicated hiking socks have slightly extra padding in blister-prone areas. Additionally, they are made from synthetic material which does not absorb moisture. Cotton socks absorb sweat from your feet and become wet. Wet feet get blisters.
For extra protection, liner socks under hiking socks work. We of a certain age remember the toe sock fad. Some liner socks are like toe socks designed to prevent moisture between your toes and protect against blisters, along with the second layer of hiking socks.
3. Practice Routine Foot Grooming and Care
Practice routine care of your feet during non-hiking times:
- Keep them clean and moisturized.
- Keep your toenails trimmed straight across. This keeps them from angling into the skin during growth.
- Keep nails free of dirt.
- Check for any torn cuticles, cuts, or anything that can let bacteria enter the skin and cause an infection.
- Self-massages keep the balls of your feet and tendons flexible so that your feet perform better during a hike.
4. Keep Dirt and Water Out of Your Boots
Sometimes during a hike, we come across small creeks or high wet grass covered in the morning dew. This allows water to get over the top of your boots and onto your feet. Besides feeling gross, again, a key concept is that water causes blisters. Wearing gaiters that close over the top of your boots keeps out water, dirt, and sand,
5. Pre-Tape Problem Areas
If an area is prone to blisters, pre-tape that area as a preventive measure. These are referred to as hot spots. Any spot where there may be friction or any spot you have had blisters before should be taped with athletic tape.
6. Dry Your Feet During Breaks
Our feet get moist to downright wet sometimes during a long hike. During each break, dry your feet off. Apply powder and change socks. Never keep hiking with damp feet. If your feet are dirty, wash them off first. Clean and dry feet should be prioritized for each portion of the hike.
7. Check Your Laces
Lace your footwear correctly at the start of the hike. They should be snug so your feet don’t slip, but not so tight they cut off any blood flow. Adjust your laces as you hike. Learn the different lacing solutions to where you are having difficulty. For instance, the window lacing method takes the pressure off the top of the foot. In another example, the surgeon’s knot lacing style takes the pressure off the heel.
8. Carry Extra Supplies
Being prepared with extras is a tried and true way how to avoid blisters when hiking. Carry extra tape, socks, boot laces, and whatever else you need. We are ahead of the game by not running out of blister prevention supplies.
9. Use Hiking Poles
Hiking poles help with climbing, going through streams, and long cross-country hikes. They transfer some of the pressure to our hands instead of our feet.
Just keep in mind that hand blisters are also a thing that happens. Taping your hands protects you from blisters there as well as using gloves. Blisters aren’t wanted anywhere, but hand blisters won’t leave you stuck on a trail because you can’t walk.
10. Let Your Feet Breathe
Take off your hiking gear and go barefoot on rest breaks or when the hike is over. Let the air get to your feet. Flex your toes. Massage your feet and ankles. If stopping for the day, wear sandals or flip-flops for camp.
Conclusion: How to Avoid Blisters When Hiking
Doing all these things doesn’t guarantee you’ll never get blisters while hiking, but practicing these will undoubtedly help.
So be attentive in preventing blisters as much as possible. Blisters can erupt anywhere, but hikers tend to get them on the toes, back of the heel, and on the ball of the foot.
As you can see, with some knowledge of how to avoid blisters when hiking, you’ll be enjoying the next beautiful trails to come – without blisters.