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Thread: sore toes; hiking boot question

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    Default sore toes; hiking boot question

    I am new at heavy packing and have recently learned that my feet swell up to at least one size larger than normal with a 70# pack, after a few miles.. I plan on a mountain goat hunt near Cordova this fall and need advise soon as to the best boot and what to do about this size problem..should one get larger boots?..thanks for any advise,
    Sore toes on old yeller

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    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    I am no expert on boots, but I went up the mountain once with boots that did not fit snug and got blisters all over my feet (on the heel going up, and the toes coming down). Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by old yeller View Post
    I am new at heavy packing and have recently learned that my feet swell up to at least one size larger than normal with a 70# pack, after a few miles.. I plan on a mountain goat hunt near Cordova this fall and need advise soon as to the best boot and what to do about this size problem..should one get larger boots?..thanks for any advise,
    Sore toes on old yeller
    With the footbed out of the boot, wear your socks and step on just one of the footbeds with full body weight. You should have about a thumb width of room between the end of your toes and the footbed, this is a first impression of proper boot size.

    Use a Superfeet Green or Orange. Make sure you get the correct size, many users to not and then say they do not work. I like the Orange as they have the pilot to increase bloodflow so my feet do not get as tired. Either way, Superfeet support and control the foot, I thought it was an ad ploy until I started using them.

    Buying larger boots will increase your problem not solve it and many users have issue like yours with boots too big from the start. I have seen wide feet that the guy bought boots a full size large to get them to fit. All good boots are built on a different last and may or may not fit your feet. Just because the boot of the hunting world says these are the best should you believe that. There are boots that have nutural last like LaSportiva Makalu lasted boots that many feet well but not all feet.

    What boots are you currently wearing? Do you have squared off toes where all toes are about the same length or rounded toes where the big toe is the longest getting shorter to the pinky toe? Long toes, short toes? Any metatorsal issue? Long or short arched? These are just a few things to take into account at getting the correct lasted boot and size.

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    Thanks for the info. I am currently wearing Dannor boots..they are real comfortable and I have walked all day hunting with them on with no problem. Its just now that I have worked my way up tp to a 70# pack that I am having trouble. My goal is to be able to go all day with at least a 75# pack, but now I burn up my feet after2-3 hours. All my boots and shoes are 11s, but now I wonder if I have expanded to an 11.5 or a 12. Even size 11 tennis shoes hurt now. If any has experienced this , I would like to hear how it was solved..thanks

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    Many people 1/2 way thru the day on a sheep hunt will take off their boots and elevate their feet. Some just do this at the end of the day - mostly I think to relieve discomfort and swelling. Some don't ever do it. Tony Russ strongly recommends this - worth a try to see if of benefit.

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    Default Insoles

    I would definitely recommend replacing the original insoles in your boots. Most factory insoles are junk plus don't last very long. I went on an antelope hunt in NW Nevada last year and was walking on lava rock for days. My feet got eaten up by "stone bruises" and haven't been the same since. Recently I bought several pairs of new boots that have stiffer soles. This seems to absorb the impact from rock and heavier loads. I also bought a couple pair of insoles....the orange superfeet mentioned above as well as another with more cushion.

    I actually bought boots about 1/2 size larger because I have a severe case of Morton's toe. The additional room also helps when my feet swell. I'm not exactly sure where your foot problem is but you may want to run a strand of athletic tape under the ball of your foot. This may relieve some of the pressure and definitely helps support my feet with heavier loads (or when I am standing all day).

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Just toes?

    Quote Originally Posted by old yeller View Post
    I am new at heavy packing and have recently learned that my feet swell up to at least one size larger than normal with a 70# pack, after a few miles...thanks for any advise, Sore toes on old yeller
    Ends of toes or tops? After walking hills or level?
    Other parts of foot sore too?

    I've had problem with ends of toes becoming very sore after walking hills in my wading boots, which I'd worn on streams a couple years without probs. Turned out the boots were short enough that only after hiking downhill several miles did I have the problem: boots were 1/2 size too short.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shphtr View Post
    Many people 1/2 way thru the day on a sheep hunt will take off their boots and elevate their feet. Some just do this at the end of the day - mostly I think to relieve discomfort and swelling. Some don't ever do it. Tony Russ strongly recommends this - worth a try to see if of benefit.
    Ya, and soak them dogs in a nice cold creek

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    a soak in a cold creek - after a long day of stumbling around the steep country soaking your feet in a cool creek is sinfully pleasurable - one of the many pleasures a man should should experience while still casting a shadow on the face of the earth....just do it!!!

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    Not having proper arch support will cause your arches to flatten pushing your toes towards the front of your boots and cause swelling. This will be increased by a 70# pack.

    Here's the test. Pull out a ruler lay next to your foot while sitting on a four legged chair. Put your heel against the leg of the chair and measure the length of your foot. Now stand up with weight on your foot and measure again. Your foot probably grew a noticable amount. Now pull out your insole and place it under your foot, stand up and measure your foot again. If your foot expansion isn't decreased by a considerable amount then you need more arch support in your insoles. Head to a good boot dealer and ask them to help you find the proper insoles for your feet.

    I'll also back up the other guys, a dip in a cold stream followed by elevating your feet for 15 minutes does wonders.

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    Wink

    Thanks for advise, guys..that cool stream sounds great, also, I will try to find some good inserts,
    old yeller

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    I forgot: do the insole thing with the foam one that came with your boots to see how much your foot grows under body weight then same test with a green capsule Superfeet and see how much you foot does not lengthen.

    If you have flat arches, people with flat arches their feet lengthen more under body weight than people with high arches = Superfeet green will help but if you may have to go to a cork custom made too.

    70# is heavy no matter what is said. Everyone has intel but to be honest, learn to hike in the hills properly. One of the biggest mistakes is to go directly straight up or straight down. Angle up and down and every few steps change the gait of your walk / foot, I have even turned around and walked backwards up hill / down hill to save my legs and feet. I have had clients who plod along same gait same body movement pounding their feet and legs all day even after being told not to.

    I have had great success with ski/trekking poles. The creek thing is good but after I got my boots figured out I never have had issue with pain or blisters but..I went through lots of boots and socks and insoles.

    Sorry but Danners are not high quality boots for hunting / hiking or any backcountry use in Alaska.

    Good luck

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Thumbs up ...or get bigger boots.

    Hello old yeller,

    Good suggestions throughout this thread.
    But if those tips and suggestions do not work for you...
    then get longer boots.

    After properly lacing up those Danners, which have never been a favorite of sheep or goat hunters, do a big- a really big- downhill section of off-trail mountain. If your toe tips blister, or if your toenails turn black, then you need new, bigger, boots.

    Don't worry too much about the black toenails. The new nails will grow in fine, after you get a bigger, stiff soled mountain boot.

    Dennis
    Alaska True Adventure Guide Service

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    Member ripnlip's Avatar
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    and definitely elevate every time you stop to rest; and for about 10-15 mins when done for the day. It keeps them from being sore/swollen later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shphtr View Post
    a soak in a cold creek - after a long day of stumbling around the steep country soaking your feet in a cool creek is sinfully pleasurable - one of the many pleasures a man should should experience while still casting a shadow on the face of the earth....just do it!!!
    Hey now! There are some women on here that enjoy hunting as much as men do!


    I think that you might want to consider finding out specifically the needs of your feet.
    If you are near Anchorage, I would suggest going here: http://www.skinnyraven.com/ to find out about your feet, your arch, what kind of heel you have, and why your toes get hurt each time you are out hunting. It's a running store, but they definitely have good information on how to properly take care of your feet.

    I personally use Super Feet. I spend quite a bit of $ on my arch supports because I put a whole lot of human weight and miles into my shoes. I always have supports when I go hunting because of the weight of my pack especially. Spending that extra $$ to take care of your feet is in your best interest when you are hunting and you obviously know that because of what you are experiencing.

    Have you considered going a bigger shoe size or 2 for your boot? Danner's aren't as flexible as other hunting/hiking boots.

    Do you apply moleskin to your toes once you start feeling the onset of a blister?

    Do you ever lose your toe nails after a hunt? What do you do to take care of them if you do lose your toe nails?
    Lurker.

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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    Insoles like Super Feet will nearly always take up more volume in your boots than the original insoles. There are also insoles designed specifically to take up volume to give your boots a better fit. With this in mind don't be affraid to go up a half or full size in your next boots to give your toes more room. Then take up any slop in the heal and around the foot by replacing the original insoles with aftermarkets. Try a couple different insoles right there in the store until you get a good fit.

    I've used this technique on my last two pairs of boots to give me a little more toe room. I found a pair of Meindl's in the bargain cave at Cabela's over Christmas that I was concerned were to big. Bought them anyway and replaced the insoles with some green Super Feet. Now they fit great and I have a little extra room in the toes for those steep downhill decents.

  17. #17

    Default Morton's Toe?

    It sounds like we may have a few foot experts here? I have a severe case of Morton's Toe with my 2nd toe about 1/4" longer than my big toe. I have been putting some serious miles on my feet lately and the pads of my feet have been on fire (even w/superfeet + great hiking boots). I was wondering if there is anything I can wear or do to prevent this?

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