Walking is a wonderful pastime, it’s great for your mind, body and soul but depending on the type of walk you pick it can be a challenge, made a hell of a lot worse by blistered, sore feet. If you want to enjoy your walk and make it to your destination then you must care for your feet properly.
Read on to discover our 4 top tips to care for your feet on long walks…
Prevention is always better than cure. If you can stop your feet becoming blistered and sore and care for your feet adequately before you even set off on your walk then you’re in the best possible position to enjoy yourself and to actually complete your walk. Once feet become blistered it is very hard to find any comfortable way to walk on them for days until the blisters have healed.
Firstly it’s essential to protect any areas of your feet that normally get sore. You can do this by using one of the specifically designed blister tapes – apply to any areas that normally feel sore or even have slight hot spots before you set off.
Make sure your toes nails are short and not sharp so that they won’t end up rubbing other toes within your shoes.
Being fully prepared and showing some care for your feet before you set off will save you a whole world of pain and disappointment.
2.) Socks and Shoes
I could write a whole article on how to care for your feet by picking the best, most comfortable shoes but for now let’s just say that if you are in anyway unsure about the comfort of your shoes then don’t wear them. If you are having niggles before your walk has even begun then you can be sure these shoes will be rubbing you in no time. Everyone’s feet are different and everyone walks slightly differently so you need to find the right pair of shoes for you. Wear the wrong shoes and you are setting yourself up to fail right from the get go.
You can buy special blister socks that are supposed to help your feet stay comfortable and blister free, I’d certainly suggest giving them a try.
Merino wool socks are a popular choice for those wanting to care for their feet on a long walk. These are super soft and warm and can help control foot odour if that’s your thing! If you’re on a long and cold walk then these can be great, but if it’s not that cold you might find your feet get too hot and uncomfotable wearing wool.
Isocool socks are great, these are highly breathable and are designed to take moisture away from your feet whilst regulating their temperature to keep them cool during your walk.
Cotton socks are good for shorter walks, and silk socks are designed for walking in hot climates, they add warmth but take the moisture away from the feet and so can also be great as a sock liner under your normal sock of choice.
3.) Care for the Skin on your Feet
It is essential to keep your feet dry when walking. When feet are wet the outer layers of skin absorb water and become pruned, or macerated. Macerated feet can be very itchy and sore and are certainly more blister prone than dry feet. They can also crack after drying out and if these cracks aren’t treated, they can split open and the tissue underneath can become infected.
Its so important to care for your feet because if you reach any of the above points its game over for your walk, your feet will need time to heal before you’re back in those walking boots.
If your feet do get wet during a walk be sure to get them dry straight away. Pack spare pairs of socks, and when you stop for a rest or at a viewpoint, take off your shoes and socks and give your feet some air.
4.) Treat your Feet Overnight
Once you’ve reached your destination, whether you are camping and are back on the road the very next day, or are done with hiking for a week, it’s important to care for your feet as soon as you’re stopped. Get those shoes and socks off straight away and let the feet on your skin get some air. Wash socks and air shoes so that they’re ready for another day. Make sure any socks that you wash are dry for the next walk, putting wet socks on would be a disaster for your feet. There are some lovely healing balms out there that you can slather your feet with to soothe them overnight.
Care for your feet and they will allow you a pain free and enjoyable walk, they really are your biggest tool during a walk and they need the love that they deserve!
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