August 14, 2014 at 12:58 pm #21950
In a follow up to the thread about footwear, I’m thinking about socks, ie, the quality of them and whether some types are more effective than others at preventing blisters and other problems. I imagine hard boots or shoes need good socks to make them bearable. This isn’t my area so I hope those who have long walking experience can chime in and offer advice about which sort work best.
Bugs Bunny: "I speak softly, but I carry a big stick."
Yosemite Sam: "Oh yeah? Well I speak LOUD! and I carry a BIGGER stick! and I use it, too!" BAM!August 14, 2014 at 2:11 pm #21961
Good follow-up I’m curious too being there have been times when it was the socks that caused blisters and not the shoes/boots themselves. I haven’t found the perfect pair that I’d recommend though.August 14, 2014 at 4:31 pm #21979
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 28:1August 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm #21990
First, the name of this thread had me cracking up: The Joy of Socks. Brilliant.
My brother is in construction, and was experiencing a lot of issues with blisters, rashes, and various other gross things a sister really doesn’t want to hear about her brother’s feet. Our state road construction crews basically have the option to work as many hours as they can physically stand in the summer months, so he was on his feet 14-16 hours a day in every possible condition you could think of.
Malgus pretty much covered everything I could think of (he had to do a lot of trial and error to get the situation under control), and I only had these to add:
1) For the pair of thin cotton socks, make sure they are the right size for your foot. If you buy socks too small, the heel portion will slip under your heel and create terrible blisters. Too large and the foot portion will bunch up wherever it can ruin your day the best (usually around your toes. Tops, sides, bottom…ouch).
2) Make sure your toenails are clipped as short as comfortably possible. Don’t ask how I know this. Just… trust me.
3) There is no substitution for a good quality boot. I tend to take “Waterproof” with a grain of salt (especially in situations like he was in, where you might step in something you think is a puddle and turns out to be over two feet deep), but water resistance is definitely key.
I hope this helps, good luck with your search!August 14, 2014 at 6:57 pm #21996
Malgus summed it up pretty well. Keep your feet dry. Wet skin is soft skin and soft skin blisters easily. One thing I would add is duct tape. In a pinch you ccan put some padding overthe blister and then cover in duct tape. The duct tape will act like a tough layer of skin and will reduce friction since the outside is slippery. Maybe it is just psychological but if I am in the direct sun for long periods of time my feet feel hotter with dark colored socks. White cotton socks are all I wear.August 14, 2014 at 10:53 pm #22018
Blisters can be kept to a minimum when your boot fit right to start with, plus lace them up tight to prevent the boot from moving around on your foot. If your boot slips up and down or fore and aft it’s sure to wear a hole in your foot.August 15, 2014 at 3:16 am #22044August 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm #22202
Pretty darn slick Vadim. Thanks for the link!
I do what Malgus did but the tops of my feet are slathered in castor oil product to keep arthritis pain away andthey are never dry – just the soles and heel; and I wear knee high panty hose to prevent ticks from attaching themselves since I’m in tall grass a lot.I put nu-skin or superglue over blisters before they break open – to keep them from breaking open. People I know say they always open them up – why I don’t know. I do anything to avoid that. Get them on my hands constantly. REI makes some great hiking socks but they aren’t cheap. My 2 cents – stock up on socks – can never have enough.September 22, 2014 at 10:56 pm #25279
During my time of being homeless I have got to say that Socks Suck, they just do. Its one more article of clothing that you have to keep washed . . . they are hard to dry out . . . they’re highly prone to getting wet inside your shoes if there is any kind of precipitation.
And worst of all, you Cannot go without washing them. It sounds nasty but you can go without washing your shirt and pants for weeks. Just rotate between them. But you cant do that with Socks, they do not air out and they seem to perfectly retain whatever BS is growing on them (and worse, when they get damp from condensation, they secretly have mold growing in them now).
I developed a foot condition called Pitted Keratolysis, which is similar to trench foot, and is extremely hard to treat. Basically I would have to be able to live under a roof and have a huge pile of fresh socks to change between every day in order to vanquish it.
Because of that I wear Boots and Socks only during the winter and late fall, and I wear Sandals or Flip Flops or even walk Barefoot for all of the hot months.
I am reminded of this because even wearing flip flops it seems like its threatening to come back.
That unique vinegar/sulphur smell is there, even if theres only a little hint of it.
(Pitted Keratolysis causes your foot sweat to become a slimy black grime that can make your feet feel all slippery even in socks. It stinks to high heaven of vinegar/sulphur, and it can come back in less than 30 minutes even after you wash your feet 100%. It also causes little pits or round indentations to start appearing on the bottom of your feet, and it can make your feet feel a little bit raw on the bottom. Im certain that it would pose an infection risk in extreme cases on the bottom of the feet as the P-K Bacteria would eventually eat so deep that it could open up the inner layers of the skin. This isnt like flesh eating bacteria or trench foot, it takes a couple weeks to eat away)
(treatment for P-K is apparently using antibiotics from the doctor, soaking your feet in warm water and epsom salts 3 times a day, and changing your socks 3 times a day, for upwards of two months. All of which are impossible in a SHTF or Homeless scenario. Meanwhile any worn socks and shoes can cause reinfection).September 22, 2014 at 11:36 pm #25281
I have cottons socks for summer use, in winter i use mohair socks, they get softer each wash are super warm wick the sweat and are anti bacterial all naturally. Draw back a good thick set are $40 each for boot socks. If anyone wants more info pm me as not all manufacturers are the same.
I have had two pairs one drying one wearing and was in them hiking each day for 6 months in rough terrain… i still had descent socks when i came home, no foot fungus no rot no blisters. In past i had to do all the things malgus has said and still did not do so well, nothing worst than not being able to walk.September 23, 2014 at 12:20 am #25289
I am, and continue to be, a sock diva. It is terribly hard to find the right kind, thickness and fit. I like cotton – cotton everything – cool – light…but alas not always the best ‘sock’ material. I, unlike RSSwizard, hate to go barefoot. I can not stand the rubbing of flip flops between my toes. I, ok, live in boots. I ride horses…everyday… I am outside doing chores…most of each and everyday…I need protection for the front of my foot (steel) for the work I do…everyday. I feel naked or weird…going barefoot…that’s how much I spend in bootsSeptember 23, 2014 at 1:36 pm #25332
namelus, I have never heard of $40 socks but having had my share of blisters I am intrigued and interested.September 23, 2014 at 7:27 pm #25354
I dont like normal flip flops. The kind I got surprisingly, from Wal-Mart for $5 have served me well and lasted much longer than the usual type. They have a woven connector between the toes instead of the usual plastic one and they have not rubbed me raw between my toe (but its possible ive built up a callous). The bottom is a stiff kind of foam padding, tougher than the normal $2 kind, and the connectors/bridge do not anchor to the bottom of the shoe (rather are embedded inside the shoe).
Between two pairs ive gotten a total of 8 months of use and neither of them are completely broken or damaged yet (I only got the second pair so that I wouldnt totally wear out the first, and be able to have a backup)
The problem I hate with them though is that when it gets down below 40F on a consistent basis im not going to be able to wear them anymore, and im going to be up **** creek.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.