Foot Care in the Outdoors

Taking care of our feet is extremely important. If we cannot walk comfortably then our trip can be cut short if not cancelled all together. Some injuries ie: frostbite can have lasting issues depending on the severity.

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Warmth the First Layer

  1. Socks. Never wear cotton as first layer. We advise nylon or rayon as a first layer followed by wool which will pull moisture away from your foot. I have put on nylon, then cotton and then wool and have done just fine. This is mostly for winter months and not much hiking. With hiking I try to keep the layers to two not three. In frigid temps when in a deer stand or waiting for a partner I always carry some plastic bags. These work great to put over socks and they will trap in heat, however they will also trap moisture. This will be an ice bag before too long. These plastic bags work great for about an hour or two then I would remove.
  2. Heat generated pads. In this day and age there are chemical heat pad they are activated with movement. They work well however they need air to get hot.
  3. Electric soaks. I have had good and bad experiences with these. You get what you pay for. Caution. Check out the reviews before purchase and even then save your receipt.

Shoes in the Outdoors


The bottom line on shoes.

  1. Do not skimp. If you can afford a good pair BUT THEM.
  2. Variability—Waterproof, Hiking, Climbing, Jogging, Snake Bite resistant etc.

Brands Survive has used with good results:

Blister Care and Prevention

Blisters are inevitable at some point. Especially when breaking in new shoes and/or not wearing soaks properly as discussed at the beginning of this article.

Blister tape works exceptionally well. There are many brands and all are fairly equal.

KT Tape, Nexcare and n and on. Place the tape on an area that you feel is getting hot. I always carry some in my pack.

Blister treatment

So, you do not have the tape and now a blister has formed. With every step it worsens and your limp has progressed to hopping on one leg and now you run the risk of tripping on the trail. Your risk of sprain and fracture have gone up all because of little damn blister.

Blisters that form

If possible leave the blister intact. Makes a nice barrier in the field. Practical wise this usually does not happen. They will often rupture. Bacitracin ointment, bandage with petroleum bandage and duct tape tightly till you return to your vehicle.

These frequency get infected due to moisture in your boot. Try to air out at night. It is not uncommon that when these come into the clinic they will get an antibiotic due to cellulitis ( skin infection)

Good Toenail Hygiene

To avoid ingrown nails which can be a huge pain on the trail good hygiene is imperative.

The three main reasons toenails become ingrown:

  1. Trauma to the toe
  2. Cutting your nails wrong. Too short or cutting them in a half moon shape
  3. Infections bacterial or fungal Onychymycosis.

When cutting your nails cut them straight across and not too short.