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Help keep my feet from turning into hamburger!
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Rick Burtt
(rburtt) - MLife
Help keep my feet from turning into hamburger! on 08/01/2013 20:51:17 MDT Print View

Hi everyone!

This July I attempted a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail. I was well equipped, lightweight (TPW 22 lbs for ~4 days, including 3L of water) and I was well trained. I trained in the shoes I hiked with and yet, about 60 miles outside Durango - I was heading eastbound - what started as a couple annoying yet manageable blisters quickly turned into a nightmare. Blisters under the ball of each foot, under toes, between toes, on the sides... Compensating just made more form. After 30 more miles I had to make the tough choice to get off the trail. It was totally unexpected because, as I said, I'd been training in these shoes with my full pack weight and never had any problems.

I took about a week and a half off to let me feet heal and went back out. Same pack weight but different shoes. I had also done some training in these ones and never had any problem. I did my full planned trip for this outing - 72 miles - but still had awful blisters. Worse was that they were in completely different places! This time they were all over the backs of my heals. I was able to loosen the shoes and drive through the hike, but still...

Now, the reveal:
1st attempt: Inov-8 RocLite 295 (2013 version)
2nd attempt: Inov-8 RocLite 295 (2012 version)

Same shoe, different years, blisters both times but in totally different places!

Clearly, this shoe and I were not meant to be BFFs. I think what I need is a shoe with better rigidity. The CT, especially in SW Colorado, is extremely rugged. Lots of scree and rock, heavy ups and downs and these shoes have almost no torsional rigidity. I think maybe my feet were getting tired and I was flexing more than I planned.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a different shoe?

Update: I was wearing Darn Tough CoolMax mesh socks. They are thin socks, but also the ones I was training in.


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Help keep my feet from turning into hamburger! on 08/01/2013 21:00:42 MDT Print View

In my opinion, there was too much extra room in your shoe. Your training may not have been enough to bring out the friction after prolonged, multiday hiking. You could try the shoes again but with thicker socks or a double sock. Another thing is if the lacing was also contributory (too loose). And still another issue is letting feet dry (along with possble sock change) at least once per day around midday. Andrew Skurka has some good info on foot care, esp if hiking in wet conditions.

Edited by jshann on 08/01/2013 21:26:59 MDT.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Help my feet.... on 08/01/2013 21:11:42 MDT Print View

It's hard to give advice on this not having seen the shoes on you but if you felt you needed more rigidity then you probably did. And that sock might not have done well for you in those conditions also. I use the darn tough brand too but I also coat my feet every morning with the body glide liquid powder cream. It sounds like you had a lot of abrasion going on, you might also consider the Wright sock brand that is double layered, I like the wool ones. I can soak them in water crossings and they are still comfortable and dry quickly. Never had a blister with these.

At Amazon ....Wrightsock Men's coolmesh II double layer sock.

Edited by Drusilla on 08/01/2013 21:14:35 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Help my feet.... on 08/01/2013 21:34:46 MDT Print View

Just for an experiment, why don't you try some thicker socks around your home neighborhood for training? Just see how that works.

I've seen people who would never get a foot blister while training. Then they went on a backpacking trip and got blisters every day. The difference is that the weight of the backpack causes your feet to fit differently in the boots. Or, sometimes it is a temperature factor, and maybe your feet are sweating more.


Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
Different last? on 08/02/2013 06:53:06 MDT Print View

I had much the same problem 3 years ago--had hiked extensively in Keen's on overnights and 2-3 day hikes, then when hiking for multiple days, especially in heat, blister city--my left foot was encased in Leukotape from toe to heel during our 10 day hike. My left foot is smaller than my right foot, and it was slopping around in my boot much more. Also got blisters between my toes. The first 3 days of our hike were really hot compared to the conditions I had been training in--more heat and moisture generated in the boot.

2 things helped me: I moved to the Inov-8 line, because I could customize the fit with their different insoles. I use a 3 mm insole in my right boot and a 6 mm in my left. I generally use their Precision fit last, because it molds my feet more closely. The Roclite 295's are made on their Endurance last, which has the most generously wide foot box. Either change the insoles (you can stack 3mm on 6mm if need be), or try the Precision fit last. Inov-8's website allows you to search by fit.

The other thing that helped was changing to toe socks--no more abrasion between my toes.

If it's really hot, I may carry an extra pair of socks, and change to dry socks mid-day. Washington is generally not very dry, and just removing my shoes at lunch may not guarantee drying of my socks on my feet.

Last year, hiked successfully for 6 days, with no blisters.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Help keep my feet from turning into hamburger! on 08/02/2013 07:47:39 MDT Print View

" Blisters under the ball of each foot, under toes, between toes, on the sides "

sounds like fungus. we can call it athletes foot if you want to.
the thing can propagate in a matter of Hours on some people. if your feet were red at night, and running warm/hot while you're trying to sleep, that confirms the diagnosis.
i wash my feets often (is less an issue the colder things get) using soap, then sometimes i use alcohol, and if i am on a trip that's important, i may use comet scouring powder (for the beach).

a blister or two on the little toes is the shoe. a blister (large hole actually) on the side of an instep is probably the shoe. lower bunnion blisters "may" be the shoe ...
heel blisters can be dealt with special tape.
but when you start to pick up damage at weirdo places like underneath and Behind the toes, between multiple toes, anyplace it runs hot, and such .. that is fungus killing the flesh, and then it's rotting.
you get home your feet smell ?

the issue of just how fast this stuff can destroy a foot has not really been appreciated at large by the group. i think this is because it does not happen universally to all of our feet. not will it happen each and every time.

that is just my op, and there's a nice picture of my bandaged feet bleeding from every pore to base it on. fungus can wreck a trip pronto, and you get credit for it what so ever. none.


Joshua B
(leukos) - F

Locale: Chicagoland
Have your dr check it out on 08/04/2013 16:07:48 MDT Print View

Yes I was thinking something similar based on the description, it could be cellulitis as well.