If you are active outdoors then you are abusing your feet, no doubt about it. Walking, running, climbing, cycling, skiing and anything else are activities that not only use the feet but rely on them more than anything and they are the easiest to neglect.
Personally, I think my feet hate me, really hate me. I never got the whole foot care thing right and my feet also are the weirdest of shapes – they look like flippers, or at least that is what Mika says – great for swimming and barefoot running, not good for footwear. I will go over footwear and how to’s and what to choose in future posts, but for now I can tell you that my feet are wide and the only solution I found that is the least damaging is using trail running shoes for pretty much everything – from runs in the park to epic treks.
Not only am I a trail shoes guy, I also follow Andrew Skurka’s method of going for non-waterproof shoes all the time – yes, even when it snows or is wet or frozen. Going for the “wet feet” approach means that your feet will end up, well, mine are always wet. So they need extra care (read Andrew’s post about it). But even in serious mountain boots, or ski boots or even mountaineering boots, there is a good chance your feet will get slightly wet, or very wet, and at the end of the day it just not nice.
My advice for an extra luxury and to give your feet some TLC at the end of the day is a well kept (in a dry bag) pair of thick wool socks, something soft and fluffy. My preference is the Smartwool Mountaineering Socks – I’m a UK8.5 (US9.5) – so I can use the medium or the large, and they are so great.
I’ll give an example – last week I went on my 100 miles attempt, and the trail was a nightmare: muddy, wet, with parts of the trail actually water coming to mid-shin: my feet were miserable (but I was fine…). But I had packed my extra socks, and the ride back home became divine. You can see the process on the right (yes, those are my feet, told you!).
So next time you are packing for a wet or muddy day outside, get that extra pair of socks and spoil your feet – they deserve it after carrying you all day!
Do you have some nifty trick for an end of the day luxury or for some lovely foot care?