2. Foot pre-conditioning
While there is some debate as to whether it is best to pamper your feet with lotions to make the skin more supple and moisturised versus the old school of "toughen those plates of meat", Diane of Hiking-For-Her makes the good point, that in addition to having tidy nails, especially for the ladies, try to avoid wearing high heels in your non-trail life. Her logic is that your feet will be molded into the shape of your daily shoes much more so than your hiking boots, simply because of the amount of contact time. When you plunge your foot into your hiking boot on Saturday, after wearing heels Monday through Friday, the contact points will be vastly different, which sets you up for rubbed skin, and the creation of a blister. 3. Training
This is a much bigger topic than we'll address here, but from the point of view of blister prevention sound training can only be a benefit. Especially if preparing for a major long distance or multi-day hike firstly research the terrain you'll be facing, what surfaces you'll be travelling on and what inclines you will be tackling.As a general rule use the footwear, boots and socks you wil be hiking in during your training to help achieve optimum comfort.Allocate at least a 6-8 weeks to prepare your legs, back and cardio stamina.Good legs for hiking are built up steadily. These are large muscle groups that only respond to hard road work and lots of repetition. Remember to start every workout with a stretching and warming up routine. Start with short walks and slowly build the distances. A couple of weeks into the training get the quads & hamstrings used to providing more uphill power by tackling small hills. Always take rest breaks when needed. In time, increase the length and slope of your uphill climbs. This strengthens your legs and increases your cardio performance as well.If you are planning a long hike then a few weeks in, train with your backpack suitably loaded to reflect what you expect to be carrying. The best pack can be strapped around your chest and abdomen so the weight is consistently held as close to your spine as possible. The extra weight brings critical conditioning to your legs and can be built by adding more weight to achieve greater intensity.Although you may not need the cardio performance of a runner to enjoy your hike you should still include jogging or running (eg sets of 30-40 m sprints) to improve your breathing / lung capacity to take in the extra oxygen you’ll need to handle steep hills. You won’t build that from walking on the flat.As you will on your hike, drink plenty of water to keep your muscles strong. To help you decide on the training you need to undertake for your particular adventure, we consider an excellent resource are the many #hiking #Training posts included in Pinterest 4. Choice of socks
ArmaSkin considers itself to be an integral part of the successful blister prevention strategy. Linersocks are consistently cited as the solution for those who suffer from blisters. Nevertheless the selection of the outside sock can have an important impact on comfort and overall blister protection. The broad rules for sock selection are to avoid cotton and choose socks with merino wool blend of 60-80%. Consider the likely terrain and temperature challenges you'll be facing to help influence your choice of sock thickness. Ideally you'd be wearing ArmaSkin and your outer sock of choice when purchasing your boots . 5. Lacing strategies
Ed has highlighted the importance of appropriate lacing of your footwear. Learn to tie your shoes correctly to protect your feet as you go up and down steep areas. There are numerous Youtubes on this topic worthy of viewing and testing out prior to your big trips. John recommended a loosening of laces at about the 10km mark to compensate for foot swelling.6. Mid hike foot management
Mary has covered hundreds of km on the Camino de Santiago without blisters. "I think it's the very long days walking ( in the heat mostly!!) and day after day ..... and it's very mixed terrain and the coming down sharply on steep sections wrecks your toes! But going up a shoe / boot size and using Armaskin works for me! I change my outer socks every 10 km and let my feet have some air. and put them up. On really long days ( over 28km) I swap from hiking boots to trail shoes after about 20km.Andreas popped in the thought that it is important to keep well hydrated while hiking for many reasons, but including that being dehydrated can result in extra fluid being stored outside the cells resulting in swelling which would of course translate to foot discomfort
Olivia suggested that for multiday hikes it is handy to have a couple a pairs of ArmaSkin to allow them to be regularly freshened with a wash (where possible)7. Post hikeWe encourage your input to firstname.lastname@example.org who will curate this article.