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#200700 - 04/09/18 01:51 PM Hot spots on foot after long hike...
AdamWang Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/09/18
Posts: 7
hi,

I'm new to hiking/backpacking, and have been breaking in the Salomon hi-top boots I got at REI by going on one hour walks, including some steep neighborhood hills, with progressively heavier backpack that is now up to 35 lbs. (I'm 6 foot 1, 195 lbs, athletic build) I had gone on probably 15 of such one-hour backpacking "walks", about 4 miles each time, without any foot problems. I thought I had broken them in pretty well.

This past weekend I went on my first real hiking trip, a 15 hour / 18 mile , round trip hike up to San Gorgonio Summit, carrying about 30 lbs, and after about 10 hours into the walk, I started having some hot spots - symmetrical in both feet - at the foot arch, and to a lesser extent, over the 5th toes on both sides.

It's been two days, and thankfully no blisters or skin breakdown developed, just red tender spots that are getting better.

QUESTION:

Should I take the boots back to REI and get ones that are wider in the middle, where they were rubbing my feet? As you know, REI has a great return policy so I can do that if needed.

Or should I work with my current boots, e.g. keep breaking them in and getting my feet used to them, and do all the recommended things like tape, or cream, or double layer socks, etc ?

thanks,
Adam


Edited by AdamWang (04/09/18 01:52 PM)

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#200702 - 04/09/18 07:40 PM Re: Hot spots on foot after long hike... [Re: AdamWang]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6601
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I'd take the boots back and get a pair of supportive trail runners instead. (You may need to visit a good running shoe store.) It's far easier to get them to fit your feet. Since I switched from boots to trail runners (10 years ago now), I've never had a blister or a hot spot! One of the reasons is far better fit; the other is no GoreTex liner, which turns the footwear into a sauna, thus promoting blisters. Having lighter weight footwear means more comfort on the trail, too (1 lb. on the feet is the equivalent of 5 lbs. on your back, according to the US Army).

Even if you really want ankle-top footwear, look for something that contours to your feet, not the other way around. There are lots of comfortable hiking boots these days. I gave up on boots because it's impossible to find women's hiking boots that do not have the GoreTex lining, which really did a number on my feet. Also,when the Goretex lined boots got wet inside, they took several days to dry. My trail runners can be walked dry in a couple of hours. Merino wool socks (which feel dry even if damp) help, too. I found that trail runners with pronation control supported my ankles better than any boots--at the start I tried deliberately to turn my ankles but couldn't!

Footwear should not need to be broken in! It should fit right from the start. The "breaking in" process is really trying to break your foot to the shoe, which is very bad for your feet and absolutely unnecessary.

As a beginner, you have obviously become the victim of old-time folklore regarding hiking footwear! Please get rid of the boots (and the idea that footwear needs to be "broken in") and get something comfortable!


Edited by OregonMouse (04/09/18 07:49 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#200703 - 04/09/18 08:08 PM Re: Hot spots on foot after long hike... [Re: AdamWang]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 922
Loc: Torrance, CA
I agree with OM. This seems to be an issue with everyone who hike with big stiff (sometime waterproof) hiking boots. Feet just don't seem to like them. I often wonder if the break-in period is talking about your feet or the boots. Get some trail runners and let your feet breath.

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#200704 - 04/09/18 10:12 PM Re: Hot spots on foot after long hike... [Re: BZH]
AdamWang Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/09/18
Posts: 7
Thank you both.

Question: The hike I went on, it went up to 11,500 ft and at the top is looked like Everest. Completely covered in snow, places where you'd be knee high in snow. A bit lower, where the snow was melting, the trail was a stream of melting ice and water.

With my Saloman high-tops, I didn't twice about stepping right into anything wet, slushy, or cold.

If I get trailrunner's, I wouldn't be able to do this sort of hiking, right?

P.S.: What do you think about the Keen Targhee III ? I don't think it's a train runner,but it's supposed to be very roomy and comfortable.


Edited by AdamWang (04/09/18 10:34 PM)

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#200705 - 04/09/18 11:47 PM Re: Hot spots on foot after long hike... [Re: AdamWang]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2990
Loc: Portland, OR
Hot spots on your feet tend to come from two basic sources: friction heat from the rubbing of your foot against the shoe/boot, or retained heat.

Friction can be caused by a) heel-lift from a too stiff shoe/boot, or b) the shoe/boot is too loose, allowing your foot to "slosh" forward and back or side to side, or c) a too tight shoe/boot that presses too much against your foot at some points.

Retained heat comes from the calories you burned from exertion which cannot escape the shoe/boot. Hands and feet tend to be the places where the body wants to rid itself of excess heat. We evolved that way. But that strategy doesn't work when your footwear traps the heat your body is trying to throw away.

Leather boots are unfortunately much more prone to all these causes of hot spots and blisters than fabric-upper trail shoes are. If you must wear a leather boot, the only remedy is a near perfect fit and the correct socks that help to minimize heat and friction. Plus, it helps a lot if the weather isn't too hot.

The selection of leather hiking boots is getting smaller all the time, and the knowledge of what designs work best is being lost, in favor of cost-cutting and marketing gimmicks. I wish I could tell you what to do, but your best option is to keep looking and looking until you find a boot that feels like a glove on your foot, then use a slick, thin nylon liner sock and a lightweight wool sock over it.

Good luck.

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#200706 - 04/10/18 02:47 AM Re: Hot spots on foot after long hike... [Re: AdamWang]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 146
Loc: Portland, Oregon
For the conditions you describe, boots may be more appropriate than trail runners, especially if there's a need to kick steps in the snow.

Remember, you did 18 miles, which is a long hike, especially if you aren't used to walking that far, and if much uphill/downhill is involved.

Irritation on the top of your toes might mean that the boot doesn't have enough vertical room, or maybe that the insole is too thick. Also, if the irritation happened on the downhill leg of your hike, the boot could be a bit short, causing your toes to hit the front of the boot. Another thing to check is the possibility that the forefoot of the boot is a little narrow, pushing your toes together. You should be able to wiggle your toes inside the boots.

Irritation of the arch is less common...do you have a rather low arch? Many insoles (maybe most) have a pretty sizeable "support" under the arch.

I'd have to disagree with OregonMouse about the need for a break-in period. It's true that they should fit right from the start, but traditional, stiff, all-leather boots do require breaking in. I'm talking about top grain outers, leather lining, leather insole (not too common now), and leather and rubber midsoles, and Vibram outsole. Salomon makes lots of different boots, so not sure if your are similar.

I gather that most everyone on this board has moved to either light, flexible boots that don't require breaking in, or trail runners. Me too.

I have the Keen Targhees. Not sure what the difference is in the Targhee III. They've been comfortable and durable, and I like the wide forefoot. Too flexible for kicking steps, most of the time, for me at least.


Edited by Bill Kennedy (04/10/18 02:59 AM)
_________________________
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

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#200707 - 04/10/18 11:05 AM Re: Hot spots on foot after long hike... [Re: AdamWang]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 922
Loc: Torrance, CA
Originally Posted By AdamWang
Thank you both.

Question: The hike I went on, it went up to 11,500 ft and at the top is looked like Everest. Completely covered in snow, places where you'd be knee high in snow. A bit lower, where the snow was melting, the trail was a stream of melting ice and water.

With my Saloman high-tops, I didn't twice about stepping right into anything wet, slushy, or cold.

If I get trailrunner's, I wouldn't be able to do this sort of hiking, right?

P.S.: What do you think about the Keen Targhee III ? I don't think it's a train runner,but it's supposed to be very roomy and comfortable.


There is a very small window of water depth where waterproof boots are helpful. If the water flow is below the grips, then it doesn't matter. If it is higher than a couple inches usually a little bit of the water will get up over the top of the boot and soak your foot. If you had mesh uppers your feet would dry pretty quickly. With waterproof boots it holds the moisture in and keeps your feet wet for the rest of the trip. I haven't found boots particularly helpful for knee high snow. Some of the snow always gets in over the top of the boot unless you have gaiters. You can use gaiters with trail runners too.

What I find is with boots you are always trying to hop around so you don't put your foot in water any more than toe deep and you get your feet wet anyway. With trail runners you know your feet are going to get wet so you just walk through it and in an hour or so your feet have dried off.

For roomy trail runners with a rock plate, I really like my New Balance Leadville's... but alas it looks like they stopped making them frown Of course what fits my foot may not fit your foot.

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#200708 - 04/10/18 02:23 PM Re: Hot spots on foot after long hike... [Re: AdamWang]
JustWalking Offline
member

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 203
Loc: PNW
I'll agree with a number of others about trail runners instead of boots. I've done many hikes where I was in snow well above my ankles - in trail runners. If I know I'll be in snow for a good portion of the trip, I wear gaiters and Rocky goretex socks. This combo has not failed me yet.

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#200709 - 04/10/18 03:50 PM Re: Hot spots on foot after long hike... [Re: JustWalking]
AdamWang Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/09/18
Posts: 7
Thank you, this is all really helpful advice. Trail runners it is!

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