As the snow melts and the trails clear here in Oregon, most will put on the trail runners and hiking boots for another season of backpacking, hiking, trail running, and peak bagging.

This brings us to the all important body parts… Your Feet. Not enough people go into a hike prepared for what heat, humidity, dirt, and rocks do to their little piggies. I don’t know how many people I’ve seen out on the trails during the summer hobbling back to their car with complaints of incredibly painful blisters. And we all know how they feel… They plain suck!

Proper preventative foot care is very important when you’re out for multiple days. Here are 10 tips to keep your feet in tip-top shape.

  1. Wear trail runners instead of hiking boots… They breathe better, dry faster, and are much lighter on the trail.
  2. Wear a lighter wool sock…They breathe better.
  3. Wash your socks every evening, if possible. Leaving debris in your socks turns them into sandpaper.
  4. Lighten your pack weight… That’s a given!
  5. If you think you’re getting a blister, STOP WALKING! Lubricate hotspots with Bodyglide or Hydropel. Don’t let your hiking partners determine whether you should stop or not. They’re your feet, not theirs. Take care of them and catch up.
  6. Take your shoes and socks off mid-day for a dry out session in the sun. Most reasons you get blisters is due to sweaty feet.
  7. Clean your feet every night with a wet-wipe… Not only will it help you, your tent mate will welcome your fresh feet with open nostrils.
  8. If your hiking in wet conditions all day, put a heavy coating of Hydropel on your dry feet, under your sleeping socks at night, before you sack out. That’ll help condition your feet so you don’t get the dreaded “Trenchfoot”.
  9. Wear a low riding gaiter to keep rocks and other debris out of your shoe. EX: Simblissity LevaGaiter, Dirt Girl Gaiter.
  10. Always bring plenty of first-aid supplies with you, with an emphasis on blister care. It is not ‘IF’ you get blisters… It’s when.

Keep your feet in good shape and they’ll take you far…

If in fact you weren’t able to keep the blisties off your feetsies, watch this video to learn how to dress it properly and get you back on the trail…

Here is what is in my blister kit…