Equipment – before you blame your boots……..

Three tips to solving your boot problems

Blisters while hiking can turn a great outing into a nightmare.

All too often, we blame our boots when we get blisters or get black toenails.

Many problems with “badly fitting” boots can be solved by these 3 very simple, yet overlooked ways of making your hikes more comfortable:

  1. Cut your toe-nails really short
  2. Use the 2-sock system
  3. Use a different lacing system


Toe-nails should be clipped so that no nail is protruding beyond the actual toe. This applies to all your nails, but especially your big toe.

When you have long toenails that go past the edge of your toe, they’ll receive more pressure and put you at higher risk for blood buildup under the nail. It’s important that you cut your nails before your hike. Do so by trimming the nail back to meet the tip of the toe, cutting straight across to avoid other problems, such as ingrown toenails. Make toenail clipping part of your pre-hike ritual to help avoid pain and pressure when hiking on a decline.


2-sock comfort never ever ever wear cotton socks for hiking. They absorb the sweat which causes the friction that causes blisters. Use a thin liner made of some sort of synthetic seamless material, and a thicker outer sock made of merino wool.

The theory is that the liner wicks away the moisture, and that the friction takes place between the 2 layers of sock – not your foot.

Take your boots off when you have a break, and air your feet and socks.

{note – not all hikers are in favour of this double sock, but if you’re having blister problems, it’s worth a try}


Lacing systems tying hiking boots has come a long way since we learned to tie the laces on our school-shoes.

We all too often view tying our laces as the method to stop our boots falling off. Not so. This has become quite an art, and can mean the difference between heel blisters, black toes etc. Using this lace-tying system, combined with the double sock system, I walked 1000km in Spain, without getting a single blister.

Essentially, to prevent the boot from slipping back and forward, or your heel lifting out, or your toes slamming into the front of your boot, you need to tie the boot in such a way as to make it more stable and snug fitting. Different versions of the knot are referred to as Surgeon’s knot | Lock knot | double overhand knot. Watch this youtube video for an excellent lace tying instruction



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