Footwear

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The type of shoes you need differs from one trip to the next. For a short day hike out on the fells a ‘gortex’ trainer/boot can be wonderful but anything beyond a day and gortex can become your worst nightmare. As your foot perspires ‘gortex’ allows that moisture to pass out of the boot keeping you dry, Brilliant!! But, if you stand in a deep puddle or walk through a river which overcomes the boot, the gortex does a equally brilliant job of holding the water in. Over a few days this is damaging to your feet. So counter intuitively you need shoes that is not waterproof but breathes well and as a result dry fast. Above is a classic thru hike shoe (moab Ventilator)  with great ventilation. My favourite type of shoe is a running trainer with mesh upper, this is cold if its windy, but drys within a few hours of being in water. Your feet will thank you for it the next day when your friends are pulling on soaking wet heavy leather boots and you slightly more happily put on your light dry trainers. There are a lot of brilliant trail shoes out there. For light weight i like my Brooks glycerin running shoes,  i also like the the Salomon xa pro 3d which has a more aggressive sole. I’m not recommending these to you though.  Every ones foot is different, I have just found I get a brilliant fit from both. When you find the perfect shoe than never hurts, never causes blisters and gives the right amount of support for you, keep it and buy a spare before you cant. You usually get what you pay for. I don’t however recomend buying the cheapest in the store, this approach has never worked well for me and i have had a slow learning curve accepting this.

To go with trainers you need socks. A spare pair that can be dried out on your pack is wonderful. With socks its a false economy to buy cheap, they fall apart and become holey fast. I recommend spend good money on a sock designed to last ( a few reasonable brands are ‘darn tough’, ‘1000mile sock’ or similiar). You get what you pay for.

Tips

A good fitting shoe gives your toes space to spread out, if its neat fitting in the store, it will be a painful fit after a day hike.

Keep your toe nails trimmed so you dont rip them off.

If you get the slightest bit of grit in your shoe get it out. If you leave it you will soon have a blister

If your out hiking for a few days or more, make sure when you stop for a break you kick your shoes off and let your feet air out, it helps harden them and dry both feet and shoes.

At the end of every day, tend to your feet. Dry them.

If you have blisters, the fluid is protecting your foot so don’t remove it if your finished hiking. If you need to hike, drain it with a sterile needle, that same fluid makes it very painful to hike on. If you are getting hot point/blisters, you may find taping over the area with sports tape can stop the friction being against your skin and end the discomfort.

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