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  1. #1
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    Default Back of heels torn up

    I have tried different socks and shoes and no matter what I do, the back of my heels get torn up. What is the best remedy for this?

  2. #2

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    What socks and shoes have you been trying? I was wearing leather above ankle boots, sock liners and heavy socks. My feet stayed torn up, it wasn't a matter of if it was how soon I was going to get blistered feet. I thought for a few years of backpacking that it was just part of hiking. I have since then changed a few things with awesome results.

    I changed from Boots to a series of trail runners and continued to have issues until I landed on the Altra Lonepeak series. I am on my 3rd-4th pair of those now. I ditched the liners, I think they area gimmick. And I use a medium weight Smartwool PhD sock. I carry 2 pair of socks with me on trips no matter what distance I am going. About a 2 weeks before my 240 mile hike this October, I would take a rubbing alcohol damp wash cloth and rub my feet with it. I did this maybe 4-5 times prior to my trip. I don't know if it had anything o do with it, but after 240 miles my feet still looked brand new. I have not done the alcohol rub before long trips prior to that one, and My feet still held up but not as good as after the alc rub.

    Air your feet at night, if you are taping your feet, remove all bandages in the evening as soon after walking as possible. I have become a HUGE fan of soaking the feet, and swimming whenever possible on the trail. I did this daily on my last 16 day trip and it worked wonders.
    Trail Miles: 4,317.5 - AT Trips: 72
    AT Map 1: 2193.1 Complete 2013-2021
    AT Map 2: 270.2
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 148.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 31.5

  3. #3
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    Default

    Torn up as in blisters? If your heel is blistering then it's most likely sliding around too much as you hike. It could be that you are not lacing your shoes up tight enough or your shoes are too big or just not a good fit for your specific foot and stride. I switched to zero drop shoes and (after a bit of practice to get used to a different stride) I have found that helped me a lot. Socks can also cause chafing but I am assuming that you tried a high quality pair of wool socks (Darn Tough or Smartwool) and still had the same issue. Putting some athletic tape on the areas that are chafing before you hike can also work wonders.

  4. #4
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    Try putting moleskin on the inside of the shoe where it rubs. Also, consider whether your fit can be better.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  5. #5
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    Default

    Are your heels eating into your shoes and your shoes eating into your heels? I had that problem, discussed here: https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/100193/

    Long story short, I changed hiking shoes and that seemed to solve the problem. However, I have began to notice that my nicer leather dress shoes are starting to show wear on the inside of the heel.

  6. #6

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    You could also try leukotape - holds better than moleskin although less cushiony.

  7. #7
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    My heel is moving up and down in the shoe as I hike. I guess that it is a fit issue, but when I had a smaller size, then my toes were getting smashed. Ugh... I use a med weight merino wool sock.

  8. #8
    Garlic
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    Agree on trying new shoes. If you must hike in what you have, my favorite friction reducer is cloth sports tape, the kind used to tape sprains. It comes off easy and breathes, and it's inexpensive. I tried moleskin years ago but it seemed to cause as many problems as it solved, at least for my feet in the footwear I was using.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  9. #9
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    In my most recent problem (too far, too fast, poor overall fit) the problem was too much cushion in the socks. I was comparing different socks and discovered "Extra Cushion" doesn't work for me at all - my heels were chewed worse than anything I've ever done. "Regular" with a heel-lock lacing pattern on good hiking shoes (Moabs in this case) eliminates about 95% of my problems. The other 5% are just being pig-headed and *just* missing the hot-spot warning signs until it's too late. (But even then, a piece of Leukotape over the affected area keeps me in good shape.)

    In my previous life it was all about sock thickness (which goes back to when I was 10 years old, hiking at summer camp.) Since I've circled back to the outdoors, not only is my gear lighter my socks are amazing. Farm To Feet are my preference, my wife is a fan of SmartWool, and I've got a couple pair of Darn Tough that are nice, but don't fit me quite the same.

    As far as "treatment" I'll put ointment on the wound (and mine were not blisters, they were wounds) and cover with a non-stick pad. Then a piece of leukotape wraps around the back of the heel, holding the pad in place. Another piece of leukotape runs from under the heel up the back (along the achilles) to keep the edges of the "wrap tape" from rolling.

    Sorry if I've rehashed things you've already tried, your description is a bit open-ended so I covered a bit of everything.

  10. #10
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    [This space intentionally left blank]
    Last edited by KCNC; 12-28-2017 at 18:56. Reason: Duplicate - Content deleted

  11. #11

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    When you try on hiking shoes, making sure your heel is tight is a must. Pull on them, test them inside for awhile, etc
    If they feel good, your heel stays put, and your toes aren't near the end, then you're probably good to go

  12. #12

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    If I start to get a bit of rubbing on my heel, I just use my same old method of a bit of gauze and then some basic athletic tape. Never comes off, does the trick

  13. #13

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    You can give this a try if you aren't already.https://www.outdoors.org/articles/am...-the-heel-lock

  14. #14
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    Thank you!

  15. #15
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    This sounds way too much like what I experienced on the AT as a teen (decades ago), in a pair of hand-me-down waffle stompers (not my idea). I nearly wore through my Achilles tendon as a result. Doc said it was frayed badly, like a frayed rope, and I spent the next 6 weeks in a cast.

    I'd strongly urge you to reconsider your footwear. If your heel is coming out, the footwear is probably too big and/or stiff in the sole.

  16. #16
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    I have put duct tape on my heel and had good success with that. The feet have to be dry and clean(ish).

    But trying different shoes seems like the best long term solution. When I wore big heavy leather boots I always got heel blisters. With trail runners my heels have been fine, with the notable exception of one of the popular New Balance shoes, I forget the exact model -- that thing tore up my heels something awful.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  17. #17
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    Some good tips have been given to consider. If you must rock the shoes you currently have and a different narrow heel lacing technique or tape doesn't alleviate the heel issue perhaps wrap your entire heel in a thin self adhering just long enough ACE bandage. It has worked for me when healing cracked heels or bad Achilles blisters because of improperly fitting or laced shoes.

  18. #18
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    Make sure you sock stays up as well. Don't let them droop into your shoe.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burrhead View Post
    You can give this a try if you aren't already.https://www.outdoors.org/articles/am...-the-heel-lock
    +1 - It does sound like the heel(s) are moving in the footwear, which can be prevented or greatly reduced with lacing techniques as opposed to just tying the laces so tight circulation is affected.

    If the above site is not what you are looking for, google "lacing techniques to prevent heel movement" several good sites come up. One of them will likely address the type of footwear you are using.

  20. #20

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    My short Rant: This thread IMO is reflecting a pretty accurate disposition to foot issues as I have mostly seen on the trail..."lets not get to the root cause of the foot damage, Lets just start out with a band aid at the trailhead because we know its gunna happen eventually"...Find what the issue is, and resolve it so that the band aid never has to be put on!...

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