Save Your Feet: How to Prevent Foot Problems

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.

Have Sole

Good tread and midsole cushion are essential to avoiding injuries. Once your soles have worn down by 20 percent, resole or replace them.

Try Insoles

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.