If you plan on going on a hiking trip, you’ve probably made some of the preparations: you have an idea of where you’re going and how long you’ll be there. But when it comes to the “crunch time” of really packing up and being totally prepared to head out, many people find that they’ve put off too much until the last minute.
That’s why you’ll want to start getting your feet ready today. With these five tips, you’ll build up both foot muscle and skin strength so that you can enjoy the hiking trip for the fresh air and views without thinking about your feet.
1. Walk barefoot as much as possible going into the trip.
Many of us walk around with socks and sandals, even around the house, and while this makes us more comfortable, it doesn’t exactly put a lot of stress on the feet. Why is this a bad thing? You want to put a little stress on them to get them stronger and work them up to a toughness that you’ll need once you finally hit the outdoors.
2. Trim your nails and check for possible ingrown nails.
Toenails grow slowly, so it’s sometimes tempting to ignore them. But before you go hiking, trimming your nails will help you to avoid jamming them and breaking them. Check for ingrown nails as well – if your toes look clear and are pain-free, chances are you don’t have any. Get your toenails round and short.
3. Exercise with your feet.
Even a little bit of walking every day will help you get your feet used to the activity. For the more ambitious, you could try small hikes and jogs, but as long as you’re working out and using those feet muscles, you should be pretty good.
4. Wear comfortable, thick socks.
This can go without saying, but it’s worth the reminder: socks are crucial to keeping your feet comfortable. Test out a few before going and make sure they don’t hole up easily. You might even test them by going outside and using them – just make sure to wash them again!
5. Make sure your shoes are comfortable.
This will depend on your feet type and the type of terrain you plan on tackling, but if you have a pair of shoes or boots that you’ve taken hiking before and don’t put unnecessary strain on your feet, you’re off to a good start. Don’t bring a brand new pair of shoes on your hiking trip, as these sometimes need “breaking in” time and can give your feet blisters.