|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – September 2004
You think thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is a long walk?
This Mailman Delivers Hard-Won Advice.
You think thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is a long walk? Postal carrier Mike Stemmler has hiked upwards of 47,000 miles over 30 years in hilly Flagstaff, AZ. Along the way, he's developed a few techniques for going postal on blisters and other foot woes.
Break In Your Boots
Even with today's lighter, more flexible boots, stave off hot spots by softening the stiff edges that put pressure on your feet.
Buy Better Socks
Moisture trapped in your socks can lead to blisters. Invest in socks that wick moisture away, like those made of a high-quality merino wool blend. And consider liners.
Choose The Right Shoes
When carrying big loads, pick heavy boots even though they increase the odds of blisters. In wet conditions, wear waterproof hikers even though they make your feet hot. On dry days, opt for breathable boots.
Good tread and midsole cushion are essential to avoiding injuries. Once your soles have worn down by 20 percent, resole or replace them.
If you have flat feet, high arches, sore knees, or hip problems, molded inserts like Superfeet provide support and stability.
Let The Dogs Out
Take off your shoes and socks at breaks to let those puppies dry out.
Keep The Calluses
You've earned those rough spots. Trimming them may result in blisters. Skip the pedicure; go for the foot massage instead.