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August 2015 Issue
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Avoid blisters, buy the right boots

Getting the perfect fit can reduce your chances of blisters. Photo: Nick Monteith

Nick Monteith’s eight tips for blister-free boot buying

A good pair of boots is one of the most important investments you can make to ensure comfortable and enjoyable tramping. The right pair, properly cared for will give you years of use. A rushed purchasing decision may result in painful blisters, black toenails and, worse of all, a ruined tramping trip. Here’s how to buy a pair to reduce the chances of blisters on the trail

  • Buy your boots early so you have time to wear them in
  • Get a professional fit – allow time in the store to be fitted properly and to try several models on. Afternoon is best as your feet tend to swell during the day
  • A good boot-fitter will need to look at your feet and consider length, width, volume and shape relative to the boots they stock
  • Fit is key. Brand, style and colour come a distant second
  • As a boot-fitter, the most valuable tool is a ramp that allows us to check there is enough length to avoid bruising your toes on downhills but not so long that the heel is slipping on uphills
  • Some stores will allow you to take boots home so you can try a pair on your feet for much longer. Arrange this first and only wear the boots inside
  • Don’t underestimate socks. You want a pair that wicks moisture and the thickness completes the boot fit, taking up excess space, but not creating pressure
  • If you blister easily, a pair of close fitting liner socks inside your tramping socks are an option. Any blister-causing friction will occur between the two layers of socks, not your skin

Nick Monteith is Bivouac Outdoor’s Newmarket manager