Preventing Blisters While Hiking

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By Scott Cimini on May 18, 2012, 11:38am

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Blisters can literally ruin a hiking trip.  Even a tiny blister can grow into a something that creates pain with every step you take.  The purpose of this article is to give some tips and help prevent my friends from having to deal with painful blisters on the hiking trail.  I’ll be leaving on my 3 day hiking trip tomorrow and I did a great deal of research on the topic of blister prevention and I’d like to share some of the highlights with you.  Two essential items you must have is a good pair of hiking boots and a pair of hiking socks.  Without these two things you’ve sealed your fate already.

Break in the boot – Walk around in your new hiking boots and break them in before going out on a long hike with them. 

Good Fitting Boot – A poor fitting boot is a recipe for disaster so make sure that your boots fit well.  If you boot causes hot spots on uphill climbs you may need to purchase boot inserts.  These inserts are placed in the bottom of the boot and take up the dead space.  If the skin on your feet gets hot from the boot rubbing on it, then make adjustments right away.  Those hot spots will be the blisters soon.

Hiking Socks – A good pair of wool hiking socks is a must in my opinion.  Cotton socks quickly get wet and bunch up.  Wool socks will give your feet additional padding and don’t bunch up.

Lace your boots properly – If your boots aren’t laced up tight enough and your foot can move around too much, this will cause friction leading to blisters.  Be careful not to lace them up too much though because that’s bad too.  You’ll be able to feel the sweet spot for you where it’s not too tight or loose.

Moleskins – I always bring these with me on hikes.  They are like a bandage that goes over the blister, preventing the boot from rubbing against it.  If you notice “hot spots” on your feet before they turn into blisters, you can cover up the spot with a moleskin and they work great.

Here’s a tip that I found online that works great.  Take a 3 inch piece of duct tape and put it on your acilles tendon to prevent blisters.  Not only does the tape create a barrier from your skin and sweat, but it’s also very slippery and helps to prevent friction.  Now get out there and enjoy the nice weather this weekend!  Gil says it’s going to be beautiful.  Check out his article here.

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Scott Cimini

Town: Wallingford, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

Articles: 149

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