Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Tougher feet?


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stephen wark
(coldworlder) - F

Locale: Green Mountains
Tougher feet? on 11/20/2010 19:45:08 MST Print View

I like hiking boots because of their support - I have really bad ankles, so they do help. My problem is I get blisters or sore spots on the balls of my feet and sometimes on my heels. I recently switched to the superfeet orange and it seemed to make it worse. Any suggestions?

Thanks
Steve

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Tougher feet? on 11/20/2010 20:27:59 MST Print View

Do you already air out your feet once an hour? I take off my boots for 5-10 minutes every hour when I'm wearing boots.

Craig Burton
(MissingUtah)

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Tougher feet? on 11/20/2010 21:29:07 MST Print View

Not a doctor/specialist, but I wouldn't expect the balls of your feet pain to be shoe-specific unless you just plain have the wrong shoes for your feet. Heel blisters are likely specific to footwear selection or looseness in that area.

However, if you are using heavy-duty boots with a very firm sole, you may not be getting enough foot-flex on non-level surfaces - causing some muscle pain in the bottoms of your feet.

(Thankfully) I don't have ankle pains so I can't comment on the necessity of boots; but I think lighter and better-fitting footwear are generally good solutions to foot pain. Experimenting with different socks and mesh-uppers may help with the blisters.

More info on pronation, boot type, and daily miles may also help. I've only been satisfied with inserts during everyday/standing/non-hiking situations, so I'm not sold on insole improvement unless you go custom ($$$).

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Tougher feet?" on 11/20/2010 21:34:33 MST Print View

Hiking boots do not inherently provide more "support". I recommend you read the chapter on Footwear in this book:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lightweight_backpacking_camping_book_jordan.html

That particular chapter and the whole book is brilliant.

James Winstead
(James_W) - M

Locale: CA
amature answer on 11/20/2010 23:19:50 MST Print View

I don't know how much this will actually help as I don't know about any specific ankle condition you have, however...

I've got some problems with ankle fatigue (blame it on a youth spent on a skateboard) Typically, I know my body is done walking when I start turning my ankle every dozen steps or so if the trail is anything but level.

However, recently I've become a total convert to trail runners. I used to hu\ike in a pair of Donner GTX boots which i convinced myself were for my ankles. With them, my ankles were trashed after 8-10 miles or so. However, recently I've been doing 15+ mile shake down hikes for my current setup with a 25lb ish load on trail runners(salomon xt pro 3d's) and haven't had a single problem.

I'm not vouching specifically for the salomons. Everyone has a different preference based on fit. But I've noticed a huge difference between the shoes and my old boots. No blisters or hot spots either!!! Blisters were almost a guarantee in my previous footware. (and most recent trail runner hike was a 16 mile dayhike in the sunol wilderness with 90-95 degree temps...not a single complaint)

Anyways... thats my 2cents

tkkn c
(tkknc) - MLife

Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest
Tougher Feet on 11/21/2010 10:39:45 MST Print View

There is a book called Fixing Your Feet , I recommend.
Basic idea is to try a lot of ideas until you find one that works for you. What works for someone else, might or might not work for you.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/fixing_your_feet_book_review.html

Superfeet worked for me, but not my wife.

Edited by tkknc on 11/21/2010 14:25:12 MST.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Tougher feet? on 11/21/2010 10:49:49 MST Print View

I used to have similar problems with my heels, so i started putting a little body glide on them and haven't had problems since.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Tougher feet? on 11/22/2010 09:50:00 MST Print View

I sometimes get blisters on the balls of my feet because my foot is slipping forward. This has happened to me in any kind of shoe that allows slipping. I've also had pain or discomfort or a feeling of bones crunching or dirt accumultating right beneath the bones in the ball of my foot. I think this was caused by shoes that tip up too far in the toes, too much toespring. Many heavy duty boots and even some trail runners will point your toes up in a state of perpetual hyperflexion. For me the solution was shoes that were a little more flexible, no motion control or stiffness.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M
Re: Tougher feet? on 11/22/2010 09:53:02 MST Print View

Maybe your footwear isn't laced tight enough, or you need a different size (length or width).

Try a liner sock of thin polyester.

Try different materials and thicknesses of socks.

Wash socks inside out and double-rinse to make sure all dirt and detergent is being removed.

Make sure the feet are clean. It's easy to pick up lots of fine, abrasive dirt just walking around the house, yard, or camp barefoot for a short time.

Edit:
Also, using minimal footwear which allows your feet some feel of the ground and with a less elevated sole along with trekking poles might help with the weak ankle issue.

Edited by AndyF on 11/22/2010 09:56:54 MST.

T kawa
(kitsune) - F
ankle issues on 11/22/2010 13:53:35 MST Print View

I too have ankle and knee problems. I have begun to run and walk around barefooted and hike in the thinnest shoes I can find with the least support. this has strengthened both my ankles and my feet. with less shoe I turn my ankles a lot less (like never since I lost the hiking boots) and while i get the occasional blister on long hikes, they aren't inevitable. Like another post said, everyone's solution will be different, but strenthinging your feet and ankles, by not using any support in controled conditions (not hiking but casaul walks) have gone a long way to easing my joint issues.

good luck.

patrick walsh
(apbt1976) - F
Less is more imop. on 11/25/2010 07:33:27 MST Print View

I also have trashed ankles due to a youth spent on a skateboard!! I must roll one of my ankles i would say 10 times a year. I also have bad knees not terrible but not great. I started wearing the Vibram 5 Fingers and i have yet to roll one ankle in 6 months. I have done up to 15 miles a day this way a week at a time with a 25-30 lb pack and have no problems. You have to watch where you are going but you get used to that and it actually makes for safer walking long term as you dont just step anymore.

As of late i moved to a new pair of La Sportiva Nepals i am breaking in for winter trips and ice climbing and i have rolled a ankle 3 times in less than two months. Those boots are very sturdy so i feel it comes down to center of gravity? Blisters though usually mean poor fit?!!!!

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
heels on 11/25/2010 08:32:17 MST Print View

Alas, time wounds all heels.
My daughter had a lot of problems with blisters on the heel or back of the foot because her heel is narrower than the front of her foot. She used to put on duct tape before she started hiking. Now she likes Leuko tape (sp???), but what solves the problem entirely is hiking in low cuts.
Rough liners in boots can cause chaffing.
I have also had worn out foot beds cause blisters just behind the spot where the toes join the foot.
A quote I remember form FIx Your Feet said it is not if you get blisters, but when....ie. most get blisters at some point.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/leukotape_p.html

Edited by rambler on 11/25/2010 08:34:35 MST.

will sawyer
(wjsawyer) - F

Locale: Connecticut
Re: Tougher feet? on 11/25/2010 08:45:50 MST Print View

Steve, for blisters or sore spots on the ball of your foot, I would check out what insole you are using, specifically the material of it. I do a lot of my running in shoes without any insole, and usually without socks too, and i notice the balls of my feet get very wet, and then turn white are sore. I attribute this no water/sweat not being absorbed and distributed by socks or insoles. When I add socks the problem lessens, and with insoles it disappears.
Maybe the superset orange have a very plasticy, nonabsorbent top surface?

Lisa Frugoli
(alfresco) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
"Tougher feet?" on 11/25/2010 09:25:21 MST Print View

Superfeet "Berry" has some extra padding on the ball of the
foot. This has really helped me with ball of the foot pain. Also, be sure that the callus that developes there is shaved down otherwise it can compress the nerves. Use a Ped Egg for this. A trip to a podiatrist may help -that's where I got the above info.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: heels on 11/25/2010 13:46:04 MST Print View

> Fix Your Feet said it is not if you get blisters, but when

Which is obviously wrong as many walkers never get blisters. But they have worked out what size shoes they really need - and what width, and even what sort of last suits their feet.

The rest suffer - some might say needlessly.

Cheers

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
heel lock lacing on 12/03/2010 11:02:29 MST Print View

if your getting blisters that is from friction. the friction is the result of movement of your foot within the boot while walking.

have you tried some of the alternative lacing methods? i used to have problems with my heels moving up and down until i started to use a locking lacing technique.

check out this pdf - it might have a method that offers you relief.

http://bsa344.com/Troop344/Hiking%20Boot%20Lacing%20Techniques.pdf