You might be tempted to believe that all socks are created equal but sadly you would wrong. There are a large number of types of socks and it is worth looking around to see which is best for your needs. The wrong socks are as likely to cause blisters as almost anything.
A note for Dads: Too often I come across children who have been forced to wear their Dad’s old socks; I’ve seen old work socks, old army socks and old hiking socks. Dad’s you need to do better and stop punishing your children with your old socks. Just because you managed to yomp across Dartmoor in your socks does not mean that your children’s feet will be fine in them. I am the one left trying to patch up your children’s feet so they can complete a walk in your old socks – stop it. This also applies to big brother socks. Thank you.
Here are some things to bear in mind:
- Get the correct size of sock for you. A sock that is too big will wrinkle and wrinkles can cause blisters. A sock that is too small will squash your toes and that can cause blisters.
- Look for dedicated walking socks. They may cost a little more but they will be designed to help support the foot during a long walk.
- Think about how hot your feet will get but do not compromise on comfort for the sake of thinner socks. I always wear thick socks because my feet need the extra padding. I would rather have hot feet than shredded feet.
Do you double sock?
If you suffer with blisters then I urge you to seriously consider wearing two pairs of socks. A thinner inner pair (you can buy dedicated inner/liner socks) and a thicker outer pair. This will seriously reduce your chances of getting a blister. You can even buy socks with two layers built in.
I sometimes come across those who scoff at wearing two pairs as though there is something weak and pathetic about someone who can’t cope with wearing only one pair of socks – they are very wrong and ought to be ashamed of themselves. It is nonsense to make someone else suffer blistered feet just because you only wear one pair and have never had a problem. There is nothing macho about socks – one or two.
Look after your feet
Before you go walking I recommend making sure you have cared for your feet. Always cut your toenails because toenails are a major source of blisters. Also keep your feet soft and smooth. For years I did all I could to keep my feet as hard as nails. I made sure, through various treatments and bear foot walking, that I always had thick skin on my feet – after all everyone knows that thick skin stops blisters. I was shocked to discover a couple of years ago that thick skin does not stop blisters and can actually create a problem if you get a blister under thick skin. Since discovering this I keep my feet soft and smooth. The smoothness helps prevent blisters and the softness means blisters are easier to manage if they do come. Of course I’m not talking about think skin but I mean it is worth rubbing off the thick hard skin that develops. This also means not cracked heals which have caused me no end of suffering in the past. Of course this is all up to you and if you insist on hard skin then at least try to keep it smooth so socks can move around on your foot.
There are three things that cause blisters
1. Friction – caused by stones in shoes, seams in socks, rough skin, etc. Often caused by pressure from swelling feet. A double sock helps reduce friction.
2. Heat – feet get hot when walked on. This needs managing in some way but it is better to have hot feet that are comfortable than cool feet that rub.
3. Moisture – water gets into boots sometime as well as perspiration causing trouble. Give your feet time to dry out when you get to camp and never ever under any circumstances go to bed in wet socks.