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  1. #1
    Registered User Michele's Avatar
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    Default Shoes vs Boots Blister Problem

    Hello ladies,

    I'm planning a thru-hike of the AT next March. I've always had tremendous problems w/blisters. I've been wearing Merrel Montrail Gortex boots, but get blisters everytime I hike even 2 miles. I think I may need to consider hiking shoes.

    Does anyone have any experiences w/shoes vs boots or have any advice? I've tried everything I can think of to prevent blisters (including duct taping mole skin to all of the sensitive places BEFORE I left....and then I got blisters right next to the protected areas!).

    Is there a waterproof/breathable hiking shoe out there? Thanks!

    --Michele

  2. #2
    El Sordo
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    have you tried a sock liner? or even something like a 'footie' that you can wear when you try on shoes? it sounds like you have poorly fitting shoes, but if that's not the case and you have unusually sensitive skin on your feet then a tightly fitting thin sock liner of some sort with a thick wool sock over that might be of some help. loose shoes might seem comfortable, but i've found that if my feet slop around too much inside my boots i'll get a blister so i need to make sure that i've got thick enough socks to keep my foot pretty well immobilized inside my boot.

    i realize that this was directed towards the ladies, but i kinda think that feet tend to be gender neutral.

  3. #3
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    Have you considered ditching the gore-tex? I've never had blister problems until I tried a set of gore-tex boots out. Blisters on top of blisters. Leather boots were good, but heavy. Had the least issues in sandals; the tread on the sole was another issue.

    Sorry ladies, my first post on your forum and probably my last for a good long while. Happy Trails!
    Me no care, me here free beer. Tap keg, please?

  4. #4
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    Opps got here by new posts but I don't think boot & blisters are a gender issue. Do you use a liner sock? If you are prone to blisters they are a big help. More important is a good fit. When you try on a new boot you should have little heel slip & toes should not touch when you tap your toe on the floor, bent knee, other foot lightly kicking toe first. I also reccomend insoles. The ones that come with most boot are lousy. Throw them out after a few weeks. I personally prefer Spenco insoles but find a good one that works for you. Cheap Dr Scholl don't cut it. I found goog ones coul increase my milage a good 8% or there about. This is just a ruff figure on how much a day I could hike more before my feet protested.
    Other thing to consider is how heavy a boot you need. My think is the lighter your pack, the lighter footware. A lot of lightweight hikers now use sneakers. On the AT I prefer lightweight leathers with goretex liners

  5. #5

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    Michelle,

    I used to get blisters all the time on my heels. Things I have tried:
    liner socks w/hikng socks
    2 pr liner socks, no regular hiking socks
    just hiking socks
    cloth tape
    duck tape
    mole form
    moleskin
    anti-perspirant spray weeks before on feet
    vaseline
    superfeet
    professional fitting 2x
    3 prs boots

    The only thing that helped me were trail runners. This is not to say that any of the above don't work, just that they didn't work for me. Good luck.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
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  6. #6
    Registered User Sassafras's Avatar
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    I have had blister after blister in goretex boots, leather boots and hiking shoes. I have also tried moleskin, liners, etc...

    I switched to running shoes/trail runners and haven't had a blister since.

    Good luck finding a solution that works for you. =)

  7. #7
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    Default no blisters

    I always get hotspots and blisters with boots. I never have with low rise shoes/boots ( like Merrel reflex low rise ). Goretex makes my feet really sweat and I don't like it in footwear.

    I get better results with 1 sock instead of a sock and a liner. Also I think a wool sock esp. merino wool works better for me than synthetic fibers.

    I have yet to suffer ankle problems wearing shoes instead of boots.

  8. #8
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    I have to agree: switch to trail runners! I was using expensive Vasque boots when I started hiking the AT back in 03. (I had worn them all over Texas without problems....) My very first day I got blisters in spite of liners and had to put on moleskin and duct tape. Warren Doyle told me that my boots "weren't very forgiving" and that I should use trail runners. I switched to NB and haven't had a blister since! I use Smartwool socks and shoes at least one size larger than I would normally wear.

  9. #9
    Registered User Michele's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Hat
    I have to agree: switch to trail runners! I was using expensive Vasque boots when I started hiking the AT back in 03. (I had worn them all over Texas without problems....) My very first day I got blisters in spite of liners and had to put on moleskin and duct tape. Warren Doyle told me that my boots "weren't very forgiving" and that I should use trail runners. I switched to NB and haven't had a blister since! I use Smartwool socks and shoes at least one size larger than I would normally wear.
    What brand of trail runners did you buy, what about waterproofing, and how long did they last on the AT? Thanks so much for your info....I was getting really discouraged.

    --Michele

  10. #10
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    Default NB = New Balance

    I use New Balance 800 series (whatever I can find on sale at Sierra Trading Post). How long they last depends upon the amount of rain I encounter. In 03, that was a lot! I think the longest a pair lasted was about 500 miles. Be sure to get a larger size than you think you need. I am now wearing 9s for hiking although I usually wear a 7.5 or 8 shoe.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    I'm joining the chorus--trail runners. They are not all created equal, of course. Brooks seem to fit my foot shape the best. A good shoe fitter at a well-stocked running shoe store should be able to help you find the right shoe for you.

    I don't try to get waterproof shoes at all. I go for shoes that are just the opposite--as meshy and breathable as possible. My favorite trail shoes (Brooks Cascadia, now discontinued, alas) are so airy and non-absorbant that they will dry overnight in my tent, even if they are soaking wet when I go to bed, and even if there's very high humidity in the air.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  12. #12
    I'm worth a million in prizes astrogirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marta
    I'm joining the chorus--trail runners. They are not all created equal, of course. Brooks seem to fit my foot shape the best. A good shoe fitter at a well-stocked running shoe store should be able to help you find the right shoe for you.

    I don't try to get waterproof shoes at all. I go for shoes that are just the opposite--as meshy and breathable as possible. My favorite trail shoes (Brooks Cascadia, now discontinued, alas) are so airy and non-absorbant that they will dry overnight in my tent, even if they are soaking wet when I go to bed, and even if there's very high humidity in the air.
    I've also gone the mesh route. I love them. You can actually hike them dry in a reasonable amount of time!

    There's something else you need to watch out for -- socks. Make sure you're using new socks when you start a long distance hike. Make sure you really get them clean after they've been muddy. Your feet will thank you.

    How do you set up your shoes overnight to maximize drying, Marta?
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  13. #13
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrogirl
    How do you set up your shoes overnight to maximize drying, Marta?
    I take the insoles out and tip them on their sides so they get air on top and bottom. I loosen the laces to the max and pull the tongue out as far as possible. If there's mud or debris inside, I rinse the shoes. If they get stinky, I wash them in a washing machine with detergent.

    So far this has worked well on section hikes. I'll see how it works on the Long Hike this summer...
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

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  14. #14
    Registered User ToeJam's Avatar
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    I have never had much blister problems knock on wood (I use a liner sock with a regular and have Monarch Goretex), but I think after hearing all the praises I may just try some trail runners after this pair fo boots I have wear out, probably after this section hike or shortly thereafter.

    BUT - I am also giving consideration to my new Keen Boulders I just splurged on. I had read how comfy and light and easy to dry they were - I have thus far been wearing them just for day to day running to wear them in a bit, but I think I'm going to weigh them and possibly replace my Crocs with thse for the trail. Essentially as a water/camp/trail shoe but I am starting to think I could comfortably hike in them too! I LOVE these shoes!!!

  15. #15
    Registered User baseballswthrt's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Proper Boot Fitting

    The best treatment for a blister is prevention! I tried several pair of boots fitted at various outfitters. I could wear the boots to work, ball games, and around town for months, and then go hiking and both heels would be raw and bloody with blisters! We even had to cut some hikes short due to my feet. I tried liner socks, duct taping my heels before we started, lotions and oils...you name it, we tried it to no avail.
    I started a post on here about it. Orangebug answered and suggested attending a Phill Oren boot fitting.
    I looked on line and found one at Hudson Trail Outfitters in Washington, D.C. We drove 4 hours to get there. Gabe, a manager from another store, and the Merrill representative spent 3 hours trying to find the right fit for me that didn't rub anywhere. I have very narrow heels. I was frustrated and wanted to give up! Gabe would not. He ended up fitting me with a pair of Vasque Ions.
    These boots are incredible! They are heavier than I thought I wanted. I was hoping for trail runners, but these boots are perfect! I have not had the first hot spot since getting them. I have hiked over 100 miles in them and yes, uphill without a blister or hot spot!
    Please go and get your boots fit properly! Your feet are different on the trail than off so your shoes should be too!
    Anita
    kncats other half

  16. #16
    Formerly thickredhair Gaiter's Avatar
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    I've been breaking in a new pair of Dunham (New Balance) Waffle Stompers. I choose them because I knew New Balance's wide shoes are a perfect fit for me (i've got a very wide forefoot and narrow heel in comparison to my forefoot), but I still got blisters. The boots fit me perfectly around my forefoot, so I put in a pair of arch supports, it raised just the back of my foot up a little and haven't had a problem w/ blisters since.

  17. #17
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Joining the chorus to sing the praises of trail-runners for comfort. Unfortuantely, I've had to switch back to boots due to injuries. Even without gore-tex, I'm having some issues.

  18. #18
    Christian, Wife, Mamma, Granola Baker, AT dreamer Granola Mamma's Avatar
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    ok ya'all. I'm having boot hunting challenges too. Wide toe box needed (flat feet with wide toe bridge), size 9-10W. I am overweight and have weak ankles (both broken at least 1x in past, not at same time, from skiing, etc). I've been doing my short hikes in (sit down for this one) my professional chefs no-slip rubber clogs with backs! They feel great and the gone structurein my feet doesn't scream out in pain all day like if I wear my sandles all day. So, what best to do? Any ideas?

  19. #19
    Registered User Nate's Avatar
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    Wear Sandals... It never hurt me...
    Nate

  20. #20

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    I switchted to trail runners and won't go back to boots unless its snowing. Did my feet get wet? Sure--it hailed--and rained. But they dried out within an hour of stomping around in them. No blisters for the hike. I felt like I had wings on...I had Adidas Response Trails. Adidas fits me well, and I stumbled onto them, on sale for $30...bought a couple more pairs

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