Proper Footcare for Hikers – Looking after your Feet Before and After a Hike
Caring for your feet is an essential part of hiking and a very good idea in general too. When hiking, your feet work harder than usual, especially on longer hikes on rougher terrain. Below are my tips for looking after your feet before and after a hike.
1 | Get the right shoes! The first job is to find the right hiking shoes for your feet and your needs. Comfortable and supportive hiking shoes can make all the difference. Before you head out on a long hike with any new shoes, break them in around the house or on shorter walks.
2 | Wear the right socks. For me, wearing the right kind of socks makes a huge difference too. I wear hiking socks or other well-fitting socks that are soft and smooth without any patterns that might rub. Pop a spare pair of clean socks in your bag too.
3 | Take breaks. On long walks, take breaks and take your shoes off for a bit if the weather allows to let your feet air and stretch. If you’re near a stream or other natural water sources, you can even give your feet a quick soak to help them cool down. Let them air dry or dry them with a small travel towel, then put a fresh pair of socks on.
4 | Act immediately. If you can feel something in your shoe (even the tiniest stone) or can feel your sock or shoe rubbing, act straight away to avoid it becoming a bigger problem.
5 | Be ready with blister plasters. Hopefully, by looking after your feet well and choosing your shoes and socks wisely, you won’t have any blister problems, but you never know so it’s a good idea to always be prepared with a few blister plasters in your pocket or bag so that you have some available if needed.
6 | Look after your hiking shoes. Clean your hiking shoes or boots when needed, replace insoles regularly and reapply waterproofing products to any waterproof shoes. Inspect your shoes regularly to catch any signs or wear and tear before it’s too late and replace your shoes when they are breaking, or the soles are getting too worn down – or when they simply don’t provide good support or don’t feel comfortable anymore.
7 | Home pedicures. Keep your feet in great condition by giving them a bit of TLC at home with DIY pedicures (or professional ones if you prefer). Soak your feet in a shallow bath with Epsom Salt, use a foot scrub or foot file to smoothen any rough areas, dry your feet, and trim your toenails. Last but not least, apply a foot balm (Weleda’s Foot Balm is my personal favourite), massage it in, and wear cotton socks overnight while the cream absorbs.
Looking after your feet is so important if you enjoy walking or hiking. Painful feet with blisters or sore nails (if you’ve ever had a black toenail, you’ll know the pain!) can quickly ruin the most beautiful hike so do what you can to protect your feet so that you can enjoy your adventures to the fullest.