Hiking can be a fun and rigorous activity, providing plenty of fresh air, beautiful scenery and healthy exercise. As well as being a pleasant activity, hiking can also be strenuous, especially on your feet.
Uneven terrain, rocky and debris-strewn paths, and the overall length of the hike can wreak untold havoc on your unsuspecting feet.
It is critical, therefore, to take every opportunity to properly prepare your feet each and every time you go hiking.
This article will present several easy to follow tips on how to prepare your feet properly, and thus avoid potential strain and injury commonly associated with hiking.
Tip 1: Wear lightweight shoes
Wearing the wrong type of footwear often causes the strain of hiking on your feet.
Lightweight shoes will reduce the strain on your feet that comes from having to lug heavy boots over a long, treacherous hike.
The less effort your feet have to make performing each step is the further they will be able to go.
Additionally, wearing breathable shoes will help to keep your feet cooler and dryer, thus reducing even more strain.
Tip 2: Wear supportive footwear
Common foot injuries from hiking can be attributed to poor arch support.
When you wear shoes that provide solid, comfortable support to your arches and heels, then your feet will be able to better withstand the rigors of a long hike.
This will help prevent cramping, plantar fasciitis, and even injury to your Achilles tendon. Insoles designed for hiking are available to provide perfect support with any shoe you wear.
Tip 3: Wear good socks
Socks that are too thin won’t provide enough cushion for your feet, whilst socks that are too thick will smother your feet, making them hot and sweaty.
The trick is to find a pair of socks that are both supportive and light, providing your feet with the best comfort and protection possible. Good socks can also help prevent blisters, which can ruin even the best of hikes.
Tip 4: Take frequent breaks
A mistake many people make while hiking is to walk long distances without stopping to rest.
For people who are regularly active, long periods of walking might be fine, but for those people who have a fairly sedentary lifestyle, the long, hard walk of a hike can take a toll on your feet.
Even though walking seems natural enough, the amount of walking required on a hike is more than your feet are prepared to handle, without regular breaks which allow them to rest and recover.
Elevating your feet regularly will also help them to recover, and thus prevent injury.
Tip 5: Avoid carrying heavy loads
If you are simply taking a day hike, then this shouldn’t be a problem. For those who are camping, this can be more of an issue.
The amount of walking involved in a hike will put untold strain on your feet as it is.
Carrying heavy loads in addition to the extra walking will make that strain 10 times worse.
If you have to transport large quantities of gear, try making more trips. The less weight your feet have to carry is the less strain they will have to endure.
Taking care of your feet while hiking is really a matter of common sense. Wearing shoes that are comfortable, while providing the necessary support, is priority one.
Creating a soft, cool and dry environment for your feet is priority two. Finally, reducing the strain that your feet have to endure is priority three.
As long as you follow the tips in this article, you will ensure that your feet are protected from avoidable strain and injury while hiking.