You wouldn’t think so humble a thing could be so important…
Back in The Before Time, when the world still didn’t know what an “Internet” was, we sort of solved this problem… well, we did as best we could anyways..
If you’re gonna be on your feet awhile – like, days – the following will at least minimize the blister problem.
1. Find you a GOOD athletic shoe insert for your boots. Make sure it fits properly and trim it if you have to. No bunching up or wrinkling allowed.
2. Powder your feet. A LOT. Just a little squirt of Gold Bond won’t do it. Use cornstarch if you have no access to proper, anti-fungal foot powder.
3. Put on a pair of thin cotton socks. They can be ankle length, but I like the way the higher ones feel. Just me. But make sure they’re cotton socks.
4. Get a pair of panty hose. Yep, panty hose. Chop them down and make a pair of “socks” out of them. Put them on over the cotton socks.
5. Put on a pair of woolen, issue socks. Green or black, it don’t matter.
6. Powder your boots properly, then put them on.
The powder on your feet will help keep your feet dry. When you finally start sweating, the cotton socks will wick away the moisture. The pantyhose will provide a slick layer between your boots and your feet. It will feel weird at first – a little “slidey”, but it works. The heavy woolen socks will provide a cushion for your feet and also protect the hose between your foot and the boot. The running shoe insert will provide good arch support and cushion for your feet as well.
I’ve marched up to 25 miles at a time with this setup and it works. It looks stupid, but it works. And if it’s stupid, but works, then it ain’t stupid. Only downside is that you might have to go another half-size larger on your boots to accommodate the extra layers.
Play around with it and see what works. Eventually, your feet will toughen up and you can do away with this setup. And as far as tough feet – I remember being young and being able to walk barefoot on hot asphalt – the calluses on my feet were so thick, I didn’t feel anything. And then there was the story of some guy who was a convict. Spent many days walking barefoot on gravel. Everyone thought he was crazy, but it toughened his feet up to the point where he didn’t have to wear shoes when he escaped… might want to take a lesson from that.
Edit: Almost forgot. MOLESKIN. They sell it at every pharmacy in the US. Buy some. When you get a blister, you take the moleskin and cut a “donut” out of it. Then you put it on over the blister, the blister being in the center of the ‘donut’… this takes the pressure off the blister and you can keep going without so much pain. If I were bugging out tomorrow, I would definitely want some in my ruck… don’t forget scissors…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1