Protect Your Feet
Improve your boot-break-in and foot-care techniques.
>> Focus on fit
Shop in the afternoon (when feet are swollen), get your foot measured every time you browse shoes (it expands with age), and ask a fit expert to suggest brands that match your foot shape (Keen shoes often have a wide toebox, for example). Wear the socks you plan to hike in; you should have toe wiggle room and no heel movement. Trekking for months? Don’t buy multiple pairs: Conditions (and your feet) will change during your trip, so buy locally midhike.
>> Break in boots
Put in at least 20 hours of dayhiking (with a weighted pack) on new, stiff footwear, beginning at least a month before your trip. If burly, full-grain boots won’t give, dab a little mink oil on the leather at the problem spot. Prevent and treat blisters The best way to treat blisters is to avoid them. Always carry Leukotape (first defense) and moleskin (for problem areas), and patch any hot spots immediately. For blister-care tips, visit backpacker.com/blisters.