We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, June 23. 2022
Mrs. BD has planned a 9-day hiking trip in Scotland (and in the Eng. Lake District). Fine with me. Probably 10-12 miles/day over hill and dale, but no moutains.
However, I tend to have two hiking issues. One is that I have destroyed one shoulder from skiing and body-surfing accidents, so I can't handle a backpack for much over an hour. Pain whick removes all pleasure. Luckily, she doesn't mind carrying it. But I am also prone to foot blisters. It is not about the right hiking shoes. I have the best for different purposes. Yes, liner socks etc.
A few years ago, I found some amazing analgesic bandaid-like things in a farmacia in Spain. I should have bought 50 packs of them, because they saved our trip for me. My feet were a bloody mess, but painless. Can't find those same things on Amazon.
Do any of our readers have any genius ideas?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:03 | Comments (34) | Trackbacks (0)
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
I used to have difficulty walking long distances because on one of my feet one of the toes would curl on top of another and rub itself raw. I found some socks that had individual toes in it like a glove. That helped. Eventually I found the simplest solution was to simply add Vaseline jelly around my toes and any chafe was eliminated
I don't have foot issues and my boots are about 40 yrs old (on 3rd or 4th resoling)... Yay Norwegian Welt... ;-)
but I remember putting on moleskin before going out on a hike as a preventative measure...
Make your selection of footwear, get two pair of them, and then train for the trip by walking 5 miles a day in natural terrain to form your calluses, a month or so in advance. When I was a kid doing gymnastics, we used to carry around old straight razors to shave the callus off our palms, because it would build up to the point of interfering with grip. Trust me, you'll get calluses.
The other thing: Why not pop for a tour where they cart your luggage over to the next town so it's awaiting your arrival? Walking load-free is nice, but comfy beds after a hot pub meal are even better.
Sure, we are doing that this time. But need water, rain gear, etc.
There are some nice fanny packs that actually have excellent padded belts and some even have a shoulder strap. Take a look at the MountainSmith Tour or Day Lumbar packs - I used to use this for my boat bag, kept on the console. When we went the Boundary Waters this was my go-to for portaging the canoe - I'd have this on my waist, 2 one liter water bottles, and room for a pretty good bit of stuff.
You might also look at the tactical side, Molle-type, belts that have suspender-type add-ons. Nearly all of the weight still goes to the hips, the padded suspender straps just keep the belt from riding down.
Also suggest you conisder a small hand-held Satellite GPS, this really saved our bacon a number of times. Cell phone-based GPS can sometimes have really spotty coverage out in the boonies.
Most important, what Aggie said: The body has amazing adaptive responses - build up your tolerance by walking in the same shoes you will use. Additional thoughts: Go to a Redwing shoe store and have them check the fit of your shoes. I have narrow feet and they are one of the few shoe makers that make narrow sizes. Wear a skinny, almost shear, sock liner inside your regular socks - Smartwool, REI, and Point6 should have them. My friend's sons are in the armed services and before they went in were soaking their feet in isopropyl alcohol, supposed to toughen the soles. I never tried the last one but the others are all part of my routine.
Anbesol or something similar or go to your Dr. And get a prescription for a topical thats a little stronger
Forget moleskin. I believe it was J&J who used to make a VERY heavy duty cloth bandaging tape that came on on a metal roll dispenser. Put it on BEFORE any blisters or abrasions and it's all over but the shouting. The product is VERY adhesive. Short of that, put on a layer or two of Gorilla tape and figure on leaving it on for the duration of your hiking trip. NO blisters!
Back when I wore combat boots during the week and hiking boots on the weekend, I learned that "100mph tape", olive drab duct tape, worked like a champ.
I also vote for the fanny pack instead of back pack. My problems with back pack, even lighter ones is that my hands swell more with the shoulder straps on longer walks, though in my case a 10 mile hike would be the outer limit by far. Did have to stop backpacking with 30# or so packs about 30 yrs ago, back would no longer tolerate. Now 5-8# is the limit for short hikes (
I always took my boots and socks off when we took breaks (lunch) Let your feet cool off and let your socks and shoes dry out. (or put on fresh socks) before you do any damage.
We are moleskin hikers. But a couple years ago I was looking at new boots and although I have narrow feet, I also have a bunion. The salesman recommended getting wide boots for the wider toe box. They have done marvelously on two trips to the Grand Canyon (North and South Rim). Good luck.
I've hiked a zillion miles since I retired from the military where I humped a zillion miles in the Special Forces...never had a foot problem until I came up with the stupid idea of hiking the AT in winter-NOSO. I thought I'd be smart, and prepped a pair of Vasque winter hiking boots for a couple of months, then set out.
I nearly made it through Maine, then my feet began to disintegrate from the weight of wet hiking boots. End of hike.
While on the trail, I recall every hiker heading north to the terminus at Katahdin wore light weight, low cut shoes. I thought they probably knew what they were doing since they had after all been hiking for 4-5 months and worn through 3-4 pair of shoes by the time I passed them.
Afterward I bought a pair of Altra Lone Peak shoes. Since I too have a bunion the wide toe box was a great feature along with the feather-like weight. Its been eight years and I've had no issues.
About the pack...I agree with 'sch' butt packs, front and back, if necessary, work well. Add a fisherman's vest for additional pockets, if you want. I did that when I hiked Wheeler Peak, NM (13,161') and got some strange looks, but my shoulders survived.
I am a hiker and for years in the past I would suffer blisters. But now I hike everyday and I rotate shoes/sandals and it has pretty much cured the blister problem. In the past it was insufficient hiking/break-in or not knowing my shoe choice was a good one.
I do not hike is boots!!! I select running shoes/sneakers based on weight (must be light as a feather) cost (usually under $20) and fit (I put them on in the store and walk around for 10 minutes. If I buy them I test them out on hikes and if they don't fit I toss them). I am positive someone will disagree and insist you must have boots OR you must buy the $200 trail shoes. Pure BS. I have hunted in the snow, hiked the virgin river and climbed mountains in $19.95 Chinese made no name sneakers that weighed about an ounce each.
Socks are important. Get a decent hiking sock that fits like a compression sock. No cotton, they will stretch and retain moisture which is the enemy of your feet. If you tend to have blister issues try wearing a liner sock; a very thin sock worn under your hiking socks. They absolutely work.
I second the Leukotape. You can find it on small bandage size pieces or larger pieces meant to tape elbows or shoulders. BUT cut it to fit first. Make sure your foot or toe or wherever is totally dry. Also it is better to use it before you have a blister so pay attention to your feet and stop early when you feel a hot spot.
IF you get a hot spot and there is no skin damage yet try using "second skin". It is like a glue and brushes on. I usually let it dry for a few minutes and apply a second coat. Often that will fix your problem unless your footwear has an aggressive spot that is gonna run you raw anyway. If that is the case go with the tape.
I have a cheapo set of very light sandals that I can carry with me for over nighters. Sometimes the worst time to be wearing your shoes is after hiking but before bed. Again, make sure you break them in. Understand too that "breaking them in" might apply to leather boots but with modern footwear it really applies to your feet, you develop a little callous at a wear spot.
I do have two pair of well broken in sneakers that I alternate on longer hikes because the longer hikes and the ups and downs and unevenness will eat up your feet quicker.
For the pack: Go to www/Hillpeoplegear.com. The have a perfect "harness" that is so comfortable you won't even know you are wearing it. Choose their Tarahumara pack, it comes with that pack harness. Their other packs are for the real hikers and hunters and you can buy the components separately, but they will be overkill for what you want. The Tarahumara is light and comfortable and perfect for a day hike.
Let me clarify something. The Hillpeoplegear sell various kinds of backpacks that can be fitted with their harness. There are other options too including a frame. The frame allows you to carry up to 300 lbs, intended for carrying out the meat from a hunting trip. So when I referred to the harness that is attached to the Tarahumara pack it may have not sounded right because we are all accustomed to the pack harness being sewed right to the pack. But it is an option with their equipment except it is standard on the Tarahumara. I find that pack to be as comfortable as putting on a jacket because it fits my shoulders so well and is wide and distributes the weight.
hmm . . . I found that same wonderful foot bandaging that you found in Spain. I found mine in Avignon, France pharmacy! Both of the soles of my feet were almost completely without skin---blood everywhere. But, because it was France I could not stop . . . ;-)
"Do any of our readers have any genius ideas?"
Don't go on the trip.
if you'd want to hire a blogger, I'd be happy to do so.
I'm sure this will be a big help to you, and I look forward to it.
I'd be happy to help if you ever need someone to shoulder some of your responsibilities.
My blog will link back to yours in return for writing material for yours.
If you'd like to get in touch, please do so by email. I appreciate your kind words!
For liner socks, try waterproof socks. My standard long distance setup is a light wool sock under a waterproof sock. Never had a blister after using this combo and previously I got them regularly.
While hiking the PCT, I discovered that wearing my running shoes somewhat loose without socks eliminated blisters. Here is the logic. Everyone gets blisters the first few weeks. No way around it. Running shoes are better than trail runners. They are lighter and dry out faster. A loose fit eliminated hot spots as my foot could move slightly inside the shoe. Remember, I've already had blisters the first month which conditions the skin for this.
Back when I used to hunt elk with my recurved bow a friend who was a med corpsmen in Nam gave me this advice.
Use polypro sock liners, carry New skin, mole skin and Benzoin tincture.
At the very first sign of a hot spot apply the BT and let dri then apply 2 coats of New skin, make a moleskin "doughnut " that will keep the hotspot from contacting any offending surfaces.
Keep your feet dry by rotating socks and liners during the days hike.
I hope this helps.
Retired Army and recreational hiker since... a couple of ideas:
1) I know you're saying that you have well-fitting and broken-in boots... but it's worth triple-checking this, if you routinely get blisters. You need to check the sizing of your boots at the end of the hike, rather than at rest-- your feet will both swell and widen due to the ligaments relaxing as you warm up. (This is particularly likely if you get blisters on the ball/toes of your feet, vs. the heel.)
2) I second what everyone is saying about tape-- also check out hydrocolloid blister tape, particularly for the heel of your foot.
3) Another issue is keeping your feet dry-- they make antiperspirant creams for you feet, if you sweat a lot. Also, a good idea is to stop 1 hour in, and every 2-3 hours thereafter, and take your boots off to air out your feet and inspect for problems.
4) Double-check the trimming of your toenails-- should be shorter than the fleshy end of your toes, and cut straight across.
5) You might also want to check out orthotic insoles, such as from Tread Labs, to keep your arch stable and foot aligned straight with the shoe.
Good luck, and have fun! I wish I could come with you, honestly.
Oh, PS: about the boot sizing. Try this for an experiment: stand on a paper and trace your feet. Then put on your boots and go on a nice 4-5 hour hike. At the end, stand on a paper and trace your feet again. That should show you if this is an issue for you or not.
Steve beat me to it at #14...you could forgo the painful blisters, and skip the consumer choices (Dr. Scholls or Gellin's mole-skin?) and stay home.
Tell the wifey you need a vacation from vacations, and build that two story martin birdhouse instead.
Frankly, I don't know how you guys do all the traveling you do. I am jealous, and I hope I have the energy and money to travel some in my sixties.
As far as blister problems, Compeed. Available in European pharmacies as well as Amazon
I have bad feet and need prescription orthotics with both an arch support and a ball pad to replace deteriorated padding from the ball of my foot that used to protect the bones in the ball of my foot.
I quit my hiking boots and "walking shoes" for walks on groomed trails and switched to multiple pairs of the lightest, softest, simple runners, sneakers, whatever they're called these days. They must have removable insoles which I replace with my orthotics.
I use Skechers, buy 4 pairs a year and throw them out when they show wear.
The only problem is wet weather, in which case I stay inside or walk my 2 pairs until wet through, then stay inside and dry the shoes in a clothes dryer. The Skechers I use claim to be water resistant and are, but only up to a point.
When I go hunting or walking on rough trails it's back to the boots / walking shoes and sore feet.
First and foremost, most boot/shoe fitters fit too tightly. Janet (and others) above has an excellent suggestion. Until you learn how to fit, start with a size larger than your street shoes, perhaps even 1.5 sizes. Plan on at least a pair of heavy "expedition" socks in addition.
If the boot is rubbing it is too tight not too loose. Blisters are not inevitable. None of my last dozen or so pairs of boots caused blisters.
Learn which manufacturers work best. It used to be that European boots were a bit narrower than U.S. boots.
When boots get badly worn, resole them or throw them out. If you rely on breaking in to size the boot you will always have problems since no two boots break in the same.
If you have knee problems, use knee bandages. This will reduce the degree to which you shift your steps to avoid the pain.
Use footbeds and orthotics to help adjust the forces on your feet. There is no one solution. As the hiking season progresses the muscles in your feet change. The way you exert force on your feet changes as you upper body muscles change either from experience of just tiredness.
Small adjustments in how you interact with the boot and ground are important if you will be taking 30,000 steps to do, say, Mt. Isolation. I like the Dr Scholls machine type orthotics, but some people prefer professional fits.
For 10 miles or more I use heavy socks over light socks,and carry both socks, beds, and orthotics for a change half way through.
Early in the season when making the transition from skiing to hiking I often have calluses on the bottom and sides of my feet because the musceles in my feet have not rebuilt.
I still prefer the classic Vibram lug sole, which has the best grip on wet rock. This can make a lot of difference in stream crossing success. Stiffer soles help define the bottom of your stride, which can vary with soft soles. Also, I prefer a padded leather boot that protects my ankles.
For the record, I have done most of major hikes in NH at least 4 times, including Washington, Franconia, Gulfside, Monroe-Eisenhower, Baldface Circle. Also, the NE 4ks, and the TMB twice, and scattered teeners.
After good deal of pain early on, in the last 25 years I have had just one blister on the end of a middle toe.
I forgot to mention that it is important to stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause foot swelling.
Baldface - man I used to work summers over on Kezar lake and Baldface circle was one of my favorite hikes, so energizing once you get above the tree line. And at the end: The Emerald Pool. Awesome memories..... low bush blueberries in high summer, feasting on South Baldface with all the critters.
Have to agree with #21 Carol, Compeed was a vacation saver just this April in NC. Found it OTC at a Publix Supermarket. Honestly thought the vacation was ruined till I found and used it. One caveat, do not get any of the adhesive on the actual blister. Trust me.
This advice may sound totally crazy, but it has worked or me over many years and hikes. You probably know what areas of your feet are prone to blisters. Take some duct tape and cut pieces to cover those areas. Make sure it is very smooth when applied and no wrinkles in it. Liner socks over that. I never got a single blister when doing this, and over some long distances/multi day hikes too.
I finished section hiking the AT last summer. The product that saved me from blisters is Body Glide. Apply it to your feet 2-3 times per day when hiking. It works like a dream.
Hopefully you are already on your hiking holiday. My post today is to ask you to please post lots of pictures and commentary about your trip. In addition to the places you went to and views of the scenery I enjoy the pictures of the meals you enjoyed. So don't be stingy and share lots of pictures and information, p;ease.