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March 2008 Boots Review: Start Smart Boot Tips

6 Fast Fixes
These simple tricks can keep your feet happy–and your hike going.

1 Swollen feet Hot days and hard miles can make your feet blow up. First try loosening the laces. No relief? Remove the insoles.

2 Laces won’t stay tied Slippery laces, especially those with Kevlar, can loosen easily. Cross the laces twice instead of once at the boot top, then tie a double bow-tie knot.

3 Shin pain High, stiff boots will hammer your shins on long climbs. Leave the upper laces loose, or skip one or two eyelets at the top, to allow your ankle more freedom to flex naturally.

4 Toe bang Prevent your foot from slipping forward when you’re going downhill. At the start of a long descent, retie laces tightly. Remember to clip your toenails, too.

5 Cold feet Chilly mornings and cold boots can leave your toes numb. Warm your boots by tucking them inside your sleeping bag about 30 minutes before you plan to get up (use a stuff sack or plastic bag if boots are wet).

6 River crossing A stream ahead, and you forgot to pack sandals? If the water isn’t too fast, you’re better off crossing in an old pair wool socks. They’ll provide some traction while sparing your boots a soaking.

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