Have you suffered from foot pain while hiking? Ever wonder What hikers should wear to avoid foot pain?
You have come to the right place! In this blog post, I will go over what hikers can wear to avoid foot pain!
Hiker Wear To Avoid Foot Pain
There are 3 things you can wear to avoid foot pain while hiking:
- Wear lightweight and breathable hiking shoes
- Wear socks that provide enough cushion
- Replace cheap insoles with high-quality ones
Wear lightweight and breathable hiking shoes
Look for a hiking shoe that is light, breathable, flexible, and (most importantly) fits your foot while shopping. Traditional thick leather boots are uncomfortable for the feet because they are rigid and rough. To allow for foot swelling, which can occur on longer hikes, buy your shoes one size larger than you typically wear.
Always get hiking shoes that are at least a half-size larger. Make sure your toes don’t come into contact with the front of your footwear. Otherwise, on the steep downhill portions of the route, your toes will rub against the front of your shoes, causing you to lose a few toenails. If you hike with the hiking shoes that are of the same size that your street shoes are then your right large toenail may get lifted, then darkened and ultimately come out in the weeks that followed.
Choose a shoe that is in the “Goldilocks zone,” meaning it is neither too large nor too tiny. Make sure nothing irritates your foot the wrong way when purchasing hiking footwear. That the rear of the shoe does not rub against your heel, and that the insole does not rub against your arch, and so on. Because the insole of the shoe lay exactly on the edge of your heel and outsides of your arch, you may develop blisters around the edges of your heel and outsides of your arch after hiking for 10+ kilometres. You may always replace the insoles or obtain custom insoles from your doctor if the insoles aren’t sitting properly.
Wear socks that provide enough cushion
When selecting hiking socks, look for a balance of cushioning and breathability. They won’t give enough protection from abrasion and impact on your shoes if they’re too thin. If your socks are too thick, your feet will sweat like a sauna. The majority of the travellers use merino wool hiking or running socks (and sometimes synthetic materials like nylon, Coolmax or blends) which is not good so choose your hiking socks wisely.
Keep your socks fresh on a lengthy journey, such as a multi-day backpacking trip or thru-hike, by washing them in a natural water source (not water tanks in the desert, and ideally downstream in a moving source). Merino wool socks offer antimicrobial characteristics by nature and I personally use them.
Replace cheap insoles with high-quality insoles
Sadly, most hiking shoes come with low-cost foam insoles. They don’t have adequate arch support or stress absorption, and after a few hundred miles, they’re flat as a pancake. As a result, you’ll need to spend another $35 or more on high-quality replacements. The good news is that quality insoles often outlive the shoes they go in, so you can keep using them when you change your shoes after 800 miles.
I personally use SoulInsole, I have tried many different Insoles and they just aren’t good, with SoulInsole you get much better arc support and cushioning.
Other ways to avoid foot pain
Stop when you feel a hot spot
Don’t put it off any longer. Stop immediately if you detect a hot area and treat it with tape or a foot balm. Trench foot or athlete’s foot can also be treated with foot powder (like Gold Bond).
Keep your feet as dry as possible. A damp foot can be a cause of friction, which can result in a hotspot. If you’re wearing wet socks and don’t expect your feet to become wet again, you might wish to swap dry socks to feel more comfortable.
Taking a pause while hiking might be distracting, but preventative foot care is essential. Keep rubbing from developing into a blister or peeling skin by doing everything it takes.
Massage your feet
Make it a practice to massage your feet after a hard day of trekking or camping. Massage lowers foot discomfort and inflammation, even if it’s only for 30 seconds.
You should always massage your feet at the end of the day, no matter how tired you are. If you don’t want to touch your feet with your hands, a self-care massage ball or roll-out ball is a good alternative.
Let your feet and socks dry during meal breaks
Simply make it a habit to remove your shoes and socks when you stop for lunch. Remove the insoles from your shoes and place them, together with your socks and insoles, in the sun to dry. During that 30-minute rest, a lot of recuperation may happen.
Although this can be prevented if you wear proper moisture-wicking hiking socks and proper hiking boots.
Pre-tape your feet
Put tape on any areas of your foot that are prone to blisters due to previous blisters before you go out. It transfers friction from your foot to the tape, making your stroll much more pleasant.
I have a guide on how to tape your feet you can check out here.
I hope you liked this article and hopefully, you don’t have more questions regarding what hikers should wear to avoid foot pain! If you liked this post, you should check out some of my other similar ones below.