Blisters are one of the most painful debbie downers to have while hiking.
The trip starts off good, the views are great, but after few miles you start getting that nagging feeling.
That something isn’t right in your boots (or trail runners).
And this is where trouble crops up.
If you don’t stop, take off your boots and air out your feet, then tape up, you will pay for it even worse in a few more miles.
So what do you do? It’s often to easy to ignore it, until you cannot.
And this was my reality, every single trip. My feet would be covered in blisters. My heels, my pinky toes, between my big and second toes, across the top, the balls of my feet. Even if I stopped and changed socks, taped, etc, I still had mangled feet. I thought it was normal to limp in pain. Once the first blister showed up, it was all downhill. And there is nothing quite like the pain of shoving your feet into boots the next morning, with tape and bandaids sticking together, combined with dirt. Because no matter what I did, I was going to have blisters.
(And this was a good day. Really.)
Until a fateful day in 2008 when I paid an outrageous $16.00 for a single pair of socks. The hot claim on hiking forums online was they would stop blisters. I am was highly skeptical but I thought that if it cut down on blisters, that had to worth it to try. So that first pair of Injinji Socks came home with me.
(Thankfully the computer and monitors have been updated over the years as well….)
And in the past TEN YEARS I have had less than 10 blisters. I walk on around 4 to 5 miles a day. That first year I went from 3 to 4 blister on a typical dayhike to zero. I couldn’t believe it.
How could a simple sock do what tape, specialized bandaids, ointments, etc promised to do and never did? I often had $40 worth of “blister care” in the first aid kit.
But it worked. Kirk and our oldest son started wearing them as well.
The Kool-Aid was strongly drunk in this home.
In my sock drawer I own around 30 pairs of toed socks currently. It is all I wear. I have thin ones for around town casual shoes. Lightweight for walking and hiking. Medium weight for colder tempatures and in snow boots. I have low-cut, mid cut and high ones.
- Are they hard to put on? Only the first few times. Then you figure out how to do it quickly. The only downside is you have tiny pinky toes, like my husband. You may need help to get it on right then.
- Do they wear out? Not any faster than normal socks, however with one caveat: cut your toe nails and keep them smooth with a nail file. That can wear out the socks prematurely. That’s right Dragon Claws, do a pedicure often.
- Do they feel “funny”? They do for a few minutes, but you get over it quickly.
- Will I feel weird? We can keep it a secret. Just remember to not take your shoes off at the office if you wearing a festive pair. Oh you mean, will you feel like a weirdo? An enlightened weirdo maybe, but your feet will feel awesome. I’d say that is a decent payout.
- What’s your theory on why they work? First off, your toes don’t rub against each other. The friction is removed. If you get dirt, sand or dust in your shoes (especially bad with trail runners in summer), the grit can’t rub between the toes. And no sweaty toes rubbing. But a big one is the socks fit tightly. There is no slopping around your feet, hence you don’t have thick sock material rubbing back and forth against your heels, causing hot spots. Tip: I also found that my feet stay cleaner as very little dirt gets into my socks.