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Happy feet

Image of the February 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
February 2018 Issue

Take care of your feet to ensure every day on the trail is as good as the last

Our feet are without a doubt the powerhouse behind a successful tramp, yet we often ignore caring for them – to our peril. The following tips will ensure you have happy feet on every tramp.

Develop the winning combination

Everyone’s feet are different, so take the time to work out which combination of socks and boots work best for your feet. Some people swear by wearing two pairs of socks, others prefer one well-fitting pair. Once you’ve got it sorted, keep your tramping socks for just that – tramping – and find a different pair to wear in the garden.

Keep toenails trimmed and filed

Toenails that are overly long can get pushed into the nail bed, making for painful descents and the looming spectre of an ingrown nail. Get into the habit of trimming toenails before each trip, and filing the edges so they’re smooth.

Air them out

Damp feet provide a fertile breeding ground for painful blisters and fungal infections. By airing them throughout the day, and changing into clean socks or open-toe sandals at the end of the day, you’ll reduce the risk of an unwanted souvenir.

Match footwear to the terrain

Footwear is often designed for specific conditions underfoot, so try and match your boots to the expected terrain. A shoe or lightweight boot is ideal for tracks on well-formed surfaces. Likewise, your feet will appreciate stiffer footwear on rugged terrain.

Listen to your feet

Aside from the general tenderness that comes from a day’s tramping, mentally assess your feet for any pain or discomfort. If your feet are decidedly unhappy, it may be worth visiting a podiatrist to have your foot movement checked. Issues such as under or over-pronation can often be remedied with orthotics or a change in footwear.