View Full Version : Getting feet in shape

2003-01-31, 23:03
What are some methods you use to get soft feet into shape? I heard of alcohol rubs, anti-persperant morning and night, walking barefoot.
My feet get pretty wimpy after just a short time of not hiking. I need to toughen up the old dogs quick. Any suggestions?

2003-02-02, 10:42
Hi, I think that the best thing to do is to spend as much time as possiable in your bare feet. This will build up the caloses on the bottom.
When hiking keep your feet as dry as you can. Take your boots off, at breaks, and let them air. Change your sox when they become wet. It takes a while, hiking, to get your feet tough enough.

SGT Rock
2003-02-02, 11:34
Grampie has the correct solutions.

Walking bare feet as much as possible will toughen you up. Don't let your feet stay wet for long periods of time or your feet will fal apart, so again Grampie is right - air out your feet, change socks, and dry boots.

On the other hand, I would also add that you should do some hard walking in your footgear of choice so your feet and your footgear get used to each other.

2003-02-02, 15:55
I read a article the other day that said to put 20 marbles on the floor,and pick them up with your toes and put them in a bowel. This to make your muscles in your feet stronger.:confused: lol

2003-02-02, 23:56
In Earl Shaffers book Walking With Spring, it is mentioned that you can toughen your feet by wearing shoes with no socks.

I don't know if this would work or not. I would think that this would be a good way to cause blisters.

2003-02-03, 13:39
Originally posted by Whittler
.....put 20 marbles on the floor,and pick them up with your toes and put them in a bowel.


SGT Rock
2003-02-03, 13:43
Originally posted by PushingDaisies
In Earl Shaffers book Walking With Spring, it is mentioned that you can toughen your feet by wearing shoes with no socks.

When I hike in running shoes I sometimes do this. I just have to watch my ankles.

Tree Swinger
2003-02-03, 23:07
Coolmax liners and Smartwools are the way I go when its been awhile since the last hike. Barefoot is the best way to get tough but it's tough to go barefoot on ice these days.

p.s. Don't forget the moleskin or duct tape.

2003-02-18, 11:13
I have been following the "jardine" method for running shoes... walking a lot before hand to get the ankles used to the strain and to get the muscles stronger.

For wet and slush, I use Sealskinz.

I would advise against prolonged sandal use in drying/wetting cycles as this is a prescription for cracking. The advice of the dermatologist is wise: If it's wet, dry it. If it's dry, use moisture. However, each cycle from soaking wet skin to bone dry skin seems to take out some of the flexibility of the tough skin on the bottom of the foot and a cracked callus becomes more likely.

One follow-on: Jardine has something to say in his book about athlete's foot fungus being the natural way to rid yourself of excess calus... Hmm, I guess that is one way to approach an illness you can not be rid of. I developed fungus on the bottom of my feet 5 years ago when training for the AF marathon and had not been able to shake the stuff despite lots of creams, and etc.

This winter I discovered that a new bunch of prescription meds have come out that work against fungus, even the fungus that gets in toenails. I have been taking one brand for two one week cycles so far out of a planned 4 cycles... One cycle a month. The stuff is very expensive (maybe $200 for each week cycle??), but I have had what looks like a complete cure of all the skin. Getting rid of fungus before a long hike seems like a very good thing to try.

I'd advise you talk with your doc if you are in the foot fungus camp to check out the options.

Rick <><

SGT Rock
2003-02-18, 11:19
I've got a case on my left foot that comes and goes. It totally sucks and I don't see how it could help feet at all. Don't go get a dose just because RJ said.

2003-03-18, 00:14
You can "repair" a cracked callous with super glue.
You can do the same for those annoying splits you sometimes get in your fingers.

Lots of new antifungals out there. you can thank the AIDS epidemic for that. That is why we need them.


2003-03-18, 00:47
had my trip cut short today ..helped a guy out of the woods at whitley gap...hitched back to my car that was as neels gap then drove back to hog pen gap to pick up TENDERFOOT and have him here at home with me in atlanta now ..he is a 64 year old guy from greenwich CT...he was having a tough time with lots of blisters on his toes and heels and ball of his feet...got him out took him to my home in atlanta and my friend joan who is a RN cleaned his feet and applied antibiotic and we counted 14 blisters... his feet are hamburger..he's spending the night at the house..we got him cleaned up feed and warm and a little pain med..think he will be heading back hime to CT to heal up and do a little section hiking before his next attempt. what a trip I had ..I usually get a few of these guys like this every year
and haul'em out..it's what I do... I'm repacking and gonna jump backon at hogpen gap...since it was raining today i hope my payoff is better weather when I get back on..plan is to walk to franklin NC and then flip flop and walk back south to springer...

2003-03-18, 12:55
Eek. I have been very lucky to almost never have a blister, even in my superheavyweight days. It is not because I take good care of my feet either, it is just dumb luck. Of course I have a tendency to wear my boots ALOT off trail mainly because they are comfortable, so appropriate break-in is not really an issue with me. As I said lucky.


2003-03-18, 23:57
I've got a situation where the side of my great-toes are under the toes next to them. The sides of the second toes are pretty calloused, as a result of the configuration. Last year while traipsing the streets of London and Paris for two weeks, the sides of my great-toes were literally ground to pulp. I'm rather concerned about this condition now that I'm planning long backpacking treks, although my Vasque Boots fit much better than the shoes I was wearing then. I've been advised to wrap the toes in moleskin before extended hikes. Do you think this will be an effective measure?

2003-03-19, 00:25
I also wear vasque boots ..I hae rarely had blistering problems ...I do carry molefoam..If I start to get a 'hot spot " I take care of it THEN...clean it with some alky-hol and apply some mole foam and then change socks and slow down.

2003-03-19, 00:29
probably, either that or something like corn pads. I would wear your boots daily with whatever you choose and just see how it feels for a week or so.

Pre trail equipment trials are important before all trips. I think your boots and feet count for that pre hike test. 20 miles into the backcountry is not the best time to find a problem.