Nothing spoils the feeling of health a hike can give than to have blisters form on your feet while on the trail. Blisters do not have to be a normal part of hiking if you take a few preventative measures beforehand.
Avoiding blisters while hiking actually starts before you set one foot on the trail. Blister prevention begins in the shoe store when you are purchasing a hiking shoe or boot. Your hiking footwear should fit well without creating chafing points. If the boot or shoe hurts your foot or is too tight, no amount of wear before your hike will break it in. Avoid problems by shopping for hiking footwear in the late afternoon, when your feet have swelled to their biggest size.
Your footwear should be made from quality materials like leather, which allows your foot to breathe but also keeps moisture out. Moisture and heat caused by friction are the main causes of blistering. There should be no places around the tongue area of the footwear which will allow grit or sand in. Grit and sand between the footwear and your skin will also cause blisters during your hike.
After purchasing your hiking shoes or boots, break them in before going for a daylong hike. Take short, five mile walks in your new footwear at least ten days ahead of your long hike.
You can avoid blisters on your hike by selecting socks to wear inside your footwear which will keep your feet cool and wick moisture away from your skin. Cotton tends to soak up sweat, while polypropylene socks wick moisture.
If you are on a long hike, you should carry one or two extra pairs of socks to change into should your feet get wet or sweaty. You should also carry moleskin with you while hiking in case your shoe or boot causes friction and the beginning of a blister.
While on the hike, you can avoid getting blisters by paying attention to how your feet feel at all times. If your feet are becoming sweaty, if some sand or grit has managed to get in your footwear, or if your socks have bunched up inside your boots or shoes, you must immediately stop and rest. Take your shoes or boots and socks off and allow your feet and socks to dry off.
This is a good time during the hike to change into dry socks.
Each time you stop for a rest break, you should remove your footwear and socks to allow everything to dry out and cool down.
You can avoid getting blisters while on a hike if you prepare ahead of time and listen to the signals your feet are sending you.