Selecting and Breaking In Proper Footwear for Hiking and Biking North County San Diego
It’s always a sad day when your trusted pair of hiking or biking shoes finally meet their demise. If you are like us, you value a pair of perfectly molded boots or shoes. If you are due for a new pair of footwear here’s some tips you can use to make the process a bit more enjoyable.
First things first, every pair of boots or shoes fits differently. Why? Because footwear molds or a “last” are designed by each brand to be different. Some brands pay for true half size molds, other brands don’t. This is why it’s best to get your feet measured and sized by a pro at a specialty retail shop. Once you have your foot size, you can start trying on different pairs. A quality retailer will only carry good brands of footwear so don’t worry about brand at this point. The key is fit!
Some tips on sizing: If you are going on long hikes, you may need to account for layers of socks (we will get into this later) as well as swelling of your feet. This usually means going a half size up. But be careful here, too loose and you will get heal lift and that’s a guaranteed blister… Why layers of socks? Some people like using 2 pairs for hiking, this moves the friction points off your feet to your sock liner and can help prevent blisters. This method is not for everyone so some testing may be in order.
Now that you have made the shoe salesperson bring out 20 or so pairs of new shoes, it’s time to narrow it down to your favorite. While it’s tempting to get a cheap pair, we suggest spending the money on a good quality pair of shoes or boots. Why? They last a long time if you take care of them, and you don’t want to go through this whole process for a while…
Congratulations! You have made your purchase… You are ready… WRONG! Most companies put in cheap quality footbeds. If you have never had a problem with foot pain you can probably use these, but they will break down really fast. We suggest getting custom molded footbeds to accommodate for your foot arch. How a person’s foot makes contact with the ground is unique to them. If you don’t want custom molded supports, check out Superfeet. Green is typically the most common color of this brand for maximum support, these are cut down to your foot size. Follow the directions closely and measure twice and cut once.
You are READY! Time to go on a hike or ride…. NOPE! First you need to break in your boots or shoes. Why? because new footwear is stiff and not yet ready for action. Breaking in a boot or shoe is a unique process and each person has their own method. It may be as simple as wearing your new footwear around for 3 - 4 days while you live your life. This will allow you to find possible hot spots on your feet that cause pain or discomfort. A hot spot will turn into a rub and that will end up with a blister. Try to solve this with adjusting your laces. We like to take our brand new shoes and get them wet with 100 degree water in a tub, then, put them on and go for a 45 min walk. Once done, stuff them with newspaper and let them dry without heat so they don’t shrink.
Boot or shoe break in is crucial and should not be skipped. We have seen some really destroyed feet from skipping this step… Don’t do it!
Once you have your shoes dialed, you are ready to set out on your adventure. Hopefully you are 100% foot pain free!
Enjoy the HIKE!