Winter Climbing Blister Prevention and Footcare

Hiking Foot care Products

I am going the additional mile to keep away from blisters when winter day climbing and backpacking as a result of I don’t wish to sit on the bench for 2-3 weeks whereas they heal.  Everybody has a distinct system for winter blister prevention as a result of everybody has totally different toes and footwear, however I assumed I’d describe my system and the way I keep my toes to offer you some perception into the choices out there.

Foot Taping

I at all times tape my heels earlier than winter hikes with a sticky fabric tape known as Leukotape, which I apply the evening earlier than a hike as a result of physique warmth helps to extend the adhesive grip. I generally overlook to do it at evening, so this isn’t a must-do sort of factor, however it does work higher than making use of it within the morning. I additionally put on Leukotape on my heels after I put on path runners the remainder of the 12 months. This tape stays on when it will get moist and it’ll keep on for a number of days at a time after I go backpacking. I additionally carry pre-cut strips of it in my first help package. I sometimes undergo two rolls a 12 months.

Pores and skin Lubrication

I lubricate parts of my toes with vaseline earlier than I placed on my socks, specifically the ball of my left foot and in between the toes of my proper. The ball of my left foot experiences some friction, which is mitigated by the vaseline. I additionally cowl the issue space on my insoles with a chunk of slick (low friction) Engo Blister Prevention Tape to make the floor tremendous slippery. That is very slippery tape you apply to your footwear, not your toes. It’s highly regarded within the Extremely-running neighborhood the place repetitive friction can result in actual issues on lengthy runs.

I additionally apply vaseline between the toes of my proper foot in order that they don’t rub in opposition to one another after I’m climbing. That friction tends to annoy the nerves of my proper foot, a situation known as Morton’s Neuroma, which appears like your sock is bunched up round your toes, even when it isn’t. Morton’s Neuroma is an overuse damage and one skilled by many hikers as they become old. I stumbled onto utilizing vaseline this fashion final summer time and haven’t had a recurrence of Morton’s since. It’s that easy. I’m stunned my podiatrist didn’t suggest it.


The heels on my toes and parts of the underside of my toes are callused and dried out. This may trigger blistering, notably when the outer layer strikes, however the internal doesn’t, one thing known as “pores and skin sheer” which is the mechanism that causes blisters. To assist forestall this, I rub an ointment known as Dr. Scholl’s Extreme Cracked Heel Balm on my heels and the balls of my toes at evening and canopy them with a skinny sock. It solely takes a number of purposes to see a marked enchancment in pores and skin elasticity. I do that each couple of weeks and it retains the pores and skin on the underside of my toes supple.

Toenail Upkeep

I preserve the toenails on my toes fairly brief in order that they don’t bang up in opposition to my boots and footwear, flip black, and fall off. This simply includes trimming them periodically with nail clippers. I additionally file my toenails once they get thick. In the event you hike lots, your toes are sure to expertise nail trauma which leads to thick toes nails that stack up as an alternative of rising longer. It might probably have the looks as toenail fungus which is usually misdiagnosed by your loved ones doctor in the event that they don’t perceive what it means to be a severe hiker. It’s lots like a scab that retains getting thicker on prime. I take advantage of a heavy file to sand the nails down in order that they don’t stick out and get irritated. I’ve climbing pals who do the identical factor.

Issues I don’t do

Once I began critically winter climbing, I used to put on skinny polyester liner socks underneath heavy wool socks. I don’t try this anymore as a result of fashionable 400g insulated winter climbing boots are very heat by themselves, with out the necessity for additional augmentation (at the least for me).

Whereas double socking can be utilized to stop blisters…it really works by wicking moisture away out of your pores and skin into the outer sock layer your toes may very well really feel colder as a result of it may inhibit blood movement if it makes your boots match extra tightly. Air can be the most effective insulator, so give your toes loads of wiggle room and so they’ll keep hotter.

SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently analysis, check, and fee the most effective merchandise. We solely earn money if you buy a product by way of our affiliate hyperlinks. Assist us proceed to check and write unsponsored and impartial gear opinions, newbie FAQs, and free climbing guides.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles