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Thread: Blisters?

  1. #1

    Default Blisters?

    In two weeks, I'm going to be backpacking the grand canyon. I got a new pair of boots back in June, figuring that I wouldn't need my insulated boots in Arizona. Since then, I've been really breaking them in, they have well over a hundred miles on them. I also have superfeet in them.

    Now, here's the catch - the more I've been wearing them, the more I've been getting blisters. The last two hikes I've gone on (one long, one short, so it's not distance related) have resulted in blisters and I'm getting pretty concerned. The blisters are uniformly in the area just beneath my toes, around the ball of the foot. Any ideas? Should I try a different insole or wrap that part of my feet?

  2. #2
    Member alaskafilm's Avatar
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    You might cut some small toe-sized patches of moleskin. They carry it at Sportsman and probably some of the pharmacies in town. Or maybe some kind of soft wrap as you said. Sounds like the boots are broke in but not your toes...good luck. Morgan


    Morgan
    Soldotna, Ak

  3. #3

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    Obviously YMMV dreamerofdreams, but here's my experience and opinion.

    1. First of all, rest your feet until the blisters fully heal, plus another 2-3 days to make sure. Best way to do that is in the open air if possible, keep them out of boots, shoes, or socks as much as possible, open sandals or Birks are good. Yeah, it might be a bit cold now, but the air helps.

    2. Blisters are caused by heat and friction. The more you can keep your feet dry, cool, and frictionless, the better. Check the boots carefully to find any hidden sources of friction. Check inside your socks around the areas where the blisters occur too. Are your feet sliding around?

    3. Get enough moleskin to cover the blister-prone area daily before putting on your boots. I buy the rolls instead of the smaller rectangles. Moleskin donuts take the pressure off of existing blisters, but larger moleskin pads stop the skin from experiencing most friction. You'll also need small sharp scissors and a ziplock for all the annoying trash from trimming and changing the moleskin daily.

    4. Down in the Canyon, be sure to air your feet regularly to cool them down and dry them off. It's hard to realize just how much punishment walking on hot desert rocks can inflict on your feet. (Read a study once that showed it was hotter inside hiking boots than outside on the hot rocks!)

    5. You're likely to get a few blisters anyway, since you're already getting them, so read up on blister care before your trip. The best source I know is the chapter on feet in "The Complete Walker" by Colin Fletcher. Same book also has many useful things to say about traveling in the Grand Canyon.

    Hope some of that helps. Have a great trip!

  4. #4

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    Do you wear a sock liner? I find that if I wear a sock that has significant texture I MUST wear a liner or I end up with "hot" feet which can ultimately lead to a blister. Just a thought...
    Karma is like a rubber band; it can only stretch so far before it comes back and smacks you in the face.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for all the advice! I do wear sock liners, and I'll check my boots carefully later today and try some of these other tips.

  6. #6
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Dreamer,
    A few quick thought....of mine.....based on what you wrote....
    Unlike many others, after buying and using the insole inserts Superfeet, I am not a fan. They seem to make my feet feel hot. Heat causes blisters. Often, not always but often, the original boot insoles work just fine with an "average foot".

    Twenty years ago we would soak new boots in water over night and then wear then until dry to get them "formed" to our feet. But most new age boots will not change shape after being soaked. This is especially true with the new modern boots that have a rubber rand around the circumference of the boot edge. And after putting 100+ alaskan miles on your boots they have no doubt got wet many times already.

    Without sounding all negative, I believe you will probably need new boots that fit your feet better for your Arizona trek. In the past, when the purchase of additional new boots was not an option for me I would simply apply mole skin to my problem areas before I started every long hike. One potential problem with that is that mole skin often does not stick well to sweating feet where your issue exists, on the front of the ball of your feet behind your toes (did I get that correct?). I have also used duct tape with very mixed results. And that area is not a typical area for blisters anyway. I would also recommend checking that your socks have a very "tight weave", even though you also wear outer thin liner socks (which I also recommend). The "course weave" of some cheaper socks have been known to cause problems similar to what you described.

    Following your hiking adventure to Arizona, please do check back in with the forum and tell us about your Grand Canyon hiking adventure. I believe it is a great place to search ones soul, and hopefully experience a "vision" or two for yourself. I may have an opportunity to be in the southwest (New Mexico-Arizona-Nevada) in Feb-March and I am considering taking a few extra days to hit some of the highlights of the Grand Canyon area after not being there for 20-something years.

    Good Luck,
    AlaskaTrueAdventure/Dennis

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    I think Dennis hit it right on the head for me! The NUMBER ONE thing I stress is one of the many things I learned on this forum, that being this... you must wear liner socks ON THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR CUSHIONED SOCKS!!! The other things I have found is to buy an EXCELLENT pair of cushioned socks, no cotton crap! And after you have given them a good rest from the blisters, ABUSE YOUR FEET...with NO SHOES ON. Literally take your shoes and socks off every chance you get and walk on stuff that will toughen the skin up. Start with grass and concrete then work your way to gravel.

    My feet sweat like crazy, hot or cold. This is what works for me and I've been blister free!

    PS...nothing like a bottle of foot powder after a good burning trek to pamper your toes!

  8. #8
    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    I have poorly shaped feet with large bunions and I am prone to blistering because it is very difficult to get a boot that fits me. I have taken to carrying a roll of duct tape with me- I tape off the areas prone to blistering. My sock just slides across the duct tape, instead of rubbing my skin.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    All of our feet are a little "different" from the next person. To date, i have never found a pair of Liner socks that DIDN'T cause me blisters...I can not wear them. Also, different socks make a difference, some better than others. Try different things, but always keep your feet dry as you can, changing socks in the field is a real positive!
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I use a two layer sock called a Wrightsock Walking, it has helped me avoid blisters. For boots, I try and get lightweight boots for the season that lace tight to my foot. I wear the Wrightsock inside my cushion socks in cold weather with heavy boots. Change socks often, let socks dry out, and they can be reused for long trips. I do not spend enough time in my boots so it is critical to have the right socks and boots to enjoy the hunt without pain of blisters. If I start to get a hot spot, I stop and fix the problem right away. Have fun, the hot AZ heat is dry, drink a lot of water.

  11. #11

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    Just got back from our last practice hike - two days in the AZ desert with temps in the mid-high 90s!! A big part of the problem is definitely the heat - my feet are swimming! Moleskin with duct tape helped, but not completely. I'll try changing socks throughout the hike. I hadn't thought of wearing the liners outside, I'd have to get bigger liners. I'll see if I can find some in the next few days!

  12. #12
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamerofdreams View Post
    I hadn't thought of wearing the liners outside, I'd have to get bigger liners. I'll see if I can find some in the next few days!
    I'm not a fan of most Cabela's gear, but they have a few excellent products; one being, their Coolmax Liner Socks. They are very thin and do an excellent job as an exterior liner sock. They are available in mid-calf and over-calf lengths. Also can order to size S-XL. Good Luck!

  13. #13

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    Thanks to everyone's help, I had a wonderful time in the canyon without a single blister! I'll share more about the trip soon!

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    Yes, I really love those socks. I have found, when I wear my Dansko shoes for the first couple days of hiking that it seems to ward off blisters for some reason. I have wide feet that often swell so these wide shoes really do the trick.

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    Have you tried Daneli socks? They are super comfortable and moisture wicking. A friend recommended them to me for hiking when I was in Southern California and I haven't looked back. I found them on footwearetc.com. Good luck!

  16. #16
    Member sea_goin_dude's Avatar
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    Some years ago in trying to keep my feet dry, I would slip a trash can liner bag on between two pair of socks. It not only kept my inner socks dry if any water did leak in but I found that the plastic let the two socks slide over each other and they would not rub my feet as much in spots causing blisters. Works great, might try it.

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