Foot care and foot wear - Get on the right foot to look after your feet for your Adventures.



From putting baby powder or tape on your feet to the types of footwear we can wear, having the skills and knowledge to look after your feet so you can keep going when your on your Adventures.

Just for a moment, I wonder if you can imagine what it would be like to be on an Adventure, enjoying amazing experiences and exploring some awesome places.

You have a little hot spot your right foot.

Its nothing major so you continue on your journey.

Later you feel a pain in your foot, the hotspot has become a blister and now it’s the only thing you can think about.

The experiences are no longer amazing because of the pain in your foot. The awesome places are no longer awesome, because all your focus is on your foot... it’s a struggle to continue on your journey and you begin to limp, you want to end your day as soon as possible.

Why is foot care important?

As the saying goes ‘avoidance is better than a cure’.

As a former Royal Marine I can tell you, first hand, that if your feet are your mode of travel for your Adventure then having the knowledge and skills to look after that mode of travel can go a very long way to ensuring your comfortable and you can enjoy your Adventure.

Everybody is different and this is not a definitive list of skills and knowledge. Foot care is something which can be very personal and individual and so it is a good suggestion to play around with the things we suggest and find out what works best for you.

So where do I start?

Lets take this one step at a time, pun intended, and start from the inside and work out.

Let’s start with your bare foot and work out to the footwear you use for your Adventure.

In this blog we are going to take a look at how to prepare your feet before you go on your Adventure (or in general) to the types of boot available to us with some little bits of advice in between.

Know your feet.

Take time to get to know your feet. Get them measured properly in an outdoor store.

Most of us have one foot bigger then the other; know what your foot sizes actually are.

Find out how your feet react in warm weather and cold weather, do they sweat a lot or are they always cold?

Do you have a toe which rubs another, do you have hard spots skin spots on your heals or toes, are your arches in good condition, are you flat footed?

There are a huge range of things you can find out about your feet and knowing many of the answers to these questions are useful but it is not the end of the word if you do not know, just be prepared to learn from the feedback you get from your own experiences.

Clean, dry feet.

It is important to keep your feet as clean and as dry as possible.

After a day full of Adventures it’s easy to go home, or return to campsite and wash and change.

On longer Adventures however, You will need to do a little bit of foot admin.

Your feet will sweat during the day so get your boots (or shoes) and socks off and

wash your feet as best you can.

How you do this will be dependant on your environment, location and set up as well as the kit you are carrying.

Once washed dry them well and let your feet air if you can. This will allow your feet to fully dry and the skin, made soft by the moisture and warmth from being in boots and socks all day, harden.

It will also aid in avoiding issues like fungal infection and odour.

Tent boots are a fantastic investment. These allow you to keep something on your feet while in your tent so they stay warm and protected but negate you having to put your socks back on.

It allows your feet to breath a bit more than if they were back in your socks.

These come in a range of sizes from boots to shoe types and a range of fills from down to synthetic. I’ve used tent boots in many cold places including Norway and Antarctica and they always kept my feet warm and comfortable but allowed my feet to breath and dry ready for the next day.

Alternatively many people wear flip-flops around camp, this is fine in the respect that it allows air to circulate around your feet but it can lead to people getting injured.

Flip-flops do not protect against tent pegs (or other objects from going through your foot and are not stable to walk around a remote wild campsite. If you want to wear something around camp carry a set of something more substantial, something like a pair of crocs or a light pair of trainers.

Hard skin is better than soft skin.

Having hard skin on your feet to make them less prone to blisters has some truth to it, but the cause of blisters, when walking, is nearly always due to friction.

Having hard skin is only a part of avoiding blisters and it’s a combination of a number of things that will aid in preventing blisters and keeping your feet in good condition throughout your Adventures.

If the skin on your feet is hard it can aid in prolonging a blister from forming but you can still get a blister eventually.

There are many theories and methods around how to make the skin on your feet harder, however this will happen naturally in time if you spend time in the footwear you are going to use for your Adventure.

A good piece of advice to help build up your skin’s resilience is to spend time in the footwear you are going to use. Start small and build up.

Go out for short walks and in your local park or around the street. Change in to them when in the office, wear them around the house, make sure the footwear you are planning on using is well ‘broken in’ as brand new boots or shoes will often have hard spots that will create a friction point.

The more time you spend in the footwear you’ll use for your Adventures will allow your feet to develop and the skin will begin to harden itself.

As a Royal Marines recruit we spend time of time in boots and this really made the difference later in training on long yomp exercises (Long walks carrying heavy rucksacks). None of use used any alternative methods to harden the skin on our feet but many of us did tape them, a subject I will cover later in the article.

Cut your Toenails correctly.

Keeping your toe nails a suitable length has many benefits and it is a good suggestion to cut your toenails before you go out on your Adventures to make sure they are a suitable length and are not going to give you any trouble.

Cut your toenails straight across rather than following the contour of the toe. This allows your toenail to grow correctly and will avoid the possibility of ingrowing nails, especially if you spend a lot of time in your boots. Keep them short, but not to short, and use a nail file to file them so that there are no burrs or lose bits to them. Do this by using the file to gently file in the direction away from the foot. You will certainly notice the difference between having long toenails and short, well-kept toenails if you come down steep slopes, but they will just be one less thing to worry about in general. A top tip is to have a small set of nail clippers in your wash kit when away so you can maintain the length of your nails but also to cut off any snags you find if your nails catch your socks.

Photo credit to; https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Foot-health-What-to-do-about-an-ingrown-toenail

Talc’ or tape.

This is a personal preference and its best to go and play around with using Talcum powder and tape.

There is nothing stopping you from using both however.

Talcum / Baby / foo-foo powder.

Talcum powder (also know as foo-foo powder in the Royal Marines) is used to for a number of reasons. It keeps your feet dry as the talc’ absorbs moisture, it keeps your skin soft and also help to reduce odour.

Using foot powder like talc’ or baby powder will help to reduce friction especially between toes.

However, many people find that some powders can, once absorbed the sweat from your feet, it balls up and becomes like sand inside your socks. This increases friction and is like walking on sand paper. It can cause more issues than it solves but it is worth a try to see how you get on with it.

Foot powder is applied on the foot and many people will put some in their socks before they put them on. It is applied as a preventative measure before you go on your Adventure.

Creams and balms.

There are lots of different lubricants for your feet on the market. These are commonly used by long distance sport participants such as marathon or fell runners, but are very common within the outdoor activities community too. The idea is to reduce any friction by using a lubricant on your foot and in your socks. Some people swear by it and others will do not like the slippery feeling around their feet.

Again a lubricant is applied as a preventative measure.

Tape.

Again there is a range of tapes available on the market and a couple of variations to th