My father used to say "take care of your feet and they will take care of you." Which is why, presumably, he bought us expensive hiking boots and made us break them in around town before heading off for our first back packing trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We packed wool socks and plenty of mole skin and off we went. It was 1976 and our Vasque hiking boots had cost over $100 a pair; a lot of money in those days. So while we had good, waterproof boots, we still got blisters, hot spots, and plain old-fashion sore feet.
What we didn't have, was an anti-friction product like HIKE to prep our feet before putting on our packs and leaving the trail head. And I could have used it to prevent blisters on my hips from the backpack belts rubbing the brass on my 501s.
Even with the innovaof more forgiving boots, I still get sore feet, hot spots
and dreaded blisters. Any of which can take me off the trail or more often, make the remaining hours of a hike miserable.
Just like one needs to stop friction, chafing, and chapping between the thighs while running, stoping chafing on the feet is essential for keeping you moving and protected.
We created HIKE to bring the anti-friction goodness of CHAFE to walkers and hikers. Not only is it great for feet, HIKE also provides a barrier for skin-on-skin chafing, and for the hot spots that come from shoulder straps, and seams on shirts.
INGREDIENTS THAT KEEP YOU HIKING
Our formulation uses Beeswax and Castor Seed Oil to create an effective barrier from skin rubbing on fabric. We added Shea Butter, Macadamia Nut Oil, Vitamin E, Avocado Oil, and Allantoin to soothe, protect, and hydrate your skin.
Allantoin naturally occurs in comfrey, beets, chamomile, and wheat, although most of us use a synthesized Allantoin that is nature-identical to that produced in plants. Often found in baby products like diaper rash cream, Allantoin is a powerful ingredient to aid skin health.
HOW TO USE HIKE
First clean and dry your feet, paying particular attention to that area between the toes. Then apply HIKE to heels, toes, or any place where you might get hot spots or blisters on your feet. Follow with absorbent socks and shoes. You can reapply as necessary. Can also be used to prevent chafing and chapping between your thighs, under your pack straps, under your bra band — anywhere skin is affected by chafing. Rinse off with warm water.
5 BEST PRACTICES FOR TAKING CARE OF YOUR FEET
I'll be the first to tell you that just applying HIKE isn't enough to care for your feet. You'll want to consider these best practices as you plan your hike, whether you're going for an hour or a week. My father-in-law hiked the Pacific Crest Trail at the age of 70 and passed 'youngsters' on the trail because they, the youngsters, didn't take care of their feet. So here are some best practices, for your to consider.
- BOOTS, SHOES, OR SANDALS
Work with a professional to get fit for footwear, just like you do for running shoes or climbing shoes. Whether you're going to need waterproof boots, breathable shoes or hiking sandals depends on the type of terrain, length of your hike, and how much weight you'll carry.
Put some miles on your shoes before heading out for a long day or multi-day trip. Be aware of where hot spots show up -- like the balls of your feet, heels or toes.
Technical socks like those with Cool-Max are good, but I personally like Merino wool socks, like those from SmartWool. Merino wool helps regulate body temperature, wicks sweat, and deodorizes, too. Many people prefer to use a thinner sock to allow for more breathability.
General foot care is important, too. Keep your nails trimmed, watching for sharp edges that can gouge into a neighboring toe. Keep your feet moisturized and address any athletes feet as soon as you can. Keeping heels soft and caring for cracks is essential, too.
PREP FOR YOUR HIKE
If you know you have hot spots that routinely come up, applying HIKE, tape, or moleskin can help. Strengthen your feet with heel raises, towel grabs, circles, and flexes. Make sure the skin on your feet is in good condition before you head out.
ON THE TRAIL
Air your feet during breaks. This will help cool them off, but also give your shoes and socks a chance to dry out. Change into fresh dry socks if need be. You can take this chance to knock out any debris that got into your shoes.
At night, put on dry, fresh socks after applying a foot moisturizer or cream. Try using a tennis ball to roll out any tension in your feet if you can't talk your hiking buddy into a foot massage.
I'm not a medical professional so I'm not going to comment on how to treat any blisters that do come up. Talk with your medical care provider about what to do. And carry moleskin, antiseptic, tape, and bandages in your first aid kit.
I hope you get out on the trail and put some miles on your feet and some wind in your hair.
|Growing up in Southern California, Val played competitive softball (coached by her father), was a gymnast, swimmer, ran cross country, fished, hiked, kayaked, and as an adult, experimented in rock climbing and golf. In 2010 she was diagnosed with a rare cancer; a liposarcoma was growing on her sciatic nerve. Once this tumor was removed, she has been cancer-free!
Left with significant nerve damage, she now has limited mobility. Yet still moves and engages in the world around her. She snorkels, walks, travels, and practices yoga to combat chronic pain and to maximize her ability to keep moving. She works with a personal trainer, acupuncturist, physical therapist, and massage therapist to maximize her mobility.
She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and her dog and gets her fins on so she can swim with the fish any time she can. And with her new ebike, she’s back to cycling!