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mzamp

Heel Blisters

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Help!

I am fairly new to mountaineering - started 2 years ago. I have an issue with getting severe blisters on my heels when wearing my boots.

 

First Boot

- La Sportiva Nepals, used these on Rainier and blistered before I hit the glacier. Sold these and went with plastics

Second Boot

- Koflach plastic, used these on Athabasca. These seem to work better as the inner boot moves with the foot. But still got blisters.

Third Boot

- Scarpa Summits, used these last weekend doing a winter summit in CO. Same results as the Nepals.

 

One thing I noticed is my socks are soaked from sweat. I am using smart wool type socks.

 

All the boots I have tried have been used boots purchased on CC. Living in AZ and having limited use for a alpine boot I went the cheaper used route.

 

I have not tried a dual sock.

I am wondering if a smaller boot will prevent the heel from slipping, but I am worried about the toes being cramped. I thought about a larger boot the caould move the heel away from rubbing on the boot.

I am ready to purchase new boots if this would fix the problem, but now I am worried that I will drop $500 and still have blister issues.

 

Suggestions? Tips? Anyone else have this issue????

 

 

Thanks

Edited by mzamp

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i use dual socks in climbing and hiking boots.

thin liner that fits well (not bunched up at all) and a midweight sock atop that.

 

Consider using athletic tape or some other burly type to tape your ankle well so that the friction is going the tap, not the skin. Not saying put a tiny piece of moleskin or a single strip of tape, but tape all the way around your ankle where you get the blister so that even with friction the tap isn't going to get pulled off.

my wife does this on her heavier boots if she is planning on doing a long uphill day (like mt adams in the summer).

 

also can use bodyglide or some waxy substance on your heel to reduce friction. I like the double sock and or tape idea, pretty cheap to try

 

but you may need a better fitting boot.. you can get heel slip in many good fitting boots, depending on how they are laced and what type of motion.

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I also use two layers of socks and always have for climbing and hiking. This will help pull moisture away from your foot and keep you dry. Your feet should not be constantly soaked in the boots. A little moisture is normal, but maybe try thinner socks or a warmer weather boot depending on what you are doing. Moisture will make your skin weaker and more susceptible to blisters

 

As far as tape, a single layer of duct tape on the back of my heels does wonders for any problems that come up. Prevention and good fitting boots are key. Once a blister is forming it is almost always too late to prevent it.

 

Consider getting your boots from a store that allows unlimited returns like REI, Sierra Trading Post or backcountry.com. That way you are covered if they are the wrong fit. That being said, I would try to go into a store and try on a bunch to see how they feel.

 

You want your heels locked down in the boot and not moving around. If your toes feel crunched from the sides in a smaller boot, take a look at the Scarpa's which have a wider toe box usually.

Edited by Devin27

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Liner sock.

Fiddle with how you lace/tie them to increase heal retention...I use a single overhand knot to keep the ankle tight before I run the laces through the upper hooks.

Hydropel (applied the night before or two smaller hot spots) and Leukotape (sticker and more durable then duct or athletic tape).

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Thanks - all suggestions will be tried and any others are welcome.

 

Trying several on at a store: That's the problem with living in AZ. Even REI only caries hiking boots not mountaineering boots. But that will be on my "to do" list the next time I visit CO, OR, or WA

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+1 on a thin liner sock. i've tried a lot of them, i like smartwool's the best.

 

Not sure if your moisture issue is caused by sweat or water somehow seeping into the boot, but that's got to be contributing to the issue.

 

If it's coming in from the top; gaiters.

If it's coming in through the material; nikwax.

If it's coming from your foot - gold bond powder (pour it in your socks before putting them on - it will keep your feet dry and fresh)

 

 

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For heel blisters I use Band-Aid blister cushions, using benzoin to prep the area. For other areas I use Leukotape (sticks well and does not foul up those $20 Merino socks).

Fitting boots is very personal. I fit my mid-weight leather mountaineering boots rather snug, and wear only one pair of relatively thin wool socks. For winter conditions I wear plastic boots which have room for very thick socks.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Band-Aid-Adhesive-Bandages-Multi-Day-Protection/dp/B005CPGN1S/ref=pd_sim_hpc_4

 

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All of these are great suggestions (esp. the Leukotape), but the main issue may be one of not getting out enough to toughen your heels/break in your boots. Once you find a good fitting boot, stick with it and do as much hiking in them as you can locally, so when you do your big mountaineering trips they aren't trashing your feet.

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my feet sweat a lot too.

 

some suggestions: Use foot powder and see what that does to stop the sweating and the blisters.

Many times I will use duct tape for heel blisters. First you gotta shave the hair off your feet, and around the ankle. then wrap the duct tape lightly, not tightly around your ankle to make sure the heel is covered...sometimes the duct tape goes underneath the foot....just like the athletic trainers wrap ankles for football. Why so much? So the duct tape does not move while your foot is in the boot. I have found no other way to stop the movement of any kind of tape. Why shave your foot of hair? So when you take the duct tape off, it does not hurt.

 

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All of these are great suggestions (esp. the Leukotape), but the main issue may be one of not getting out enough to toughen your heels/break in your boots. Once you find a good fitting boot, stick with it and do as much hiking in them as you can locally, so when you do your big mountaineering trips they aren't trashing your feet.

 

I totally agree with Jason on this, I've gone so far as wearing mountaineering boots for yard work. Trail running is great for working the muscles on your feet and toughening the skin as well.

 

Here's another deskjockey after a 30+ mile weekend -

 

1017.JPG

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Duct tape! Seriously, its outside slides well reducing friction while adding a layer of fake skin. Make fun of it all you want, it works! Plus a little roll of duct tape can be used for so many other things too, and is part of lots of climbers kits. It won't breath so take it off each night in camp.

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Thanks and keep it coming. I have lots of stuff to try now.

 

My skin on the feet is plenty tough enough...at least until the sweat softens them. I trail run and hike on a regular basis for great distances. I only have a problem with the steel shanked boots that don't flex.

 

Athletic tape and duct tape are part of my aresenal, but in the past I have waited until the pain starts before applying and like someone posted...it's too late.

 

I definately have too much heel slippage so getting the boots fitted with pads will be my first objective to eliminate the slip.

 

 

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Do you sweat an unusual amount? Have you tried antiperspirant on your feet? This may not help with the blisters but it may keep your socks drier.

 

+1 to eliminating the heel slip in the first place. I used to have heel slippage, but I was able to fix it with a different lacing pattern. Google it

 

Also, +1 to the band-aid blister pads -- those things are CLUTCH. I always keep some in my bag.

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I only have a problem with the steel shanked boots that don't flex.

 

.

 

 

Maybe try a half shank boot that will still flex a bit for trail. I also really like my Scarpa Mount Blanc's because they have a series of plates instead of a shank which still flexes on trail but stiff as a full shank for ascents.

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+1 for duct tape and finding boots that fit. I also know a lot of people that use liner socks, but I can never get them to stay up and they always end up bunched up under my foot.

 

I had a similar problem when I was first starting. I used a pair of boots for months on just snow and never had a problem, but as soon as I did Rainier and had some trail to start the climb, this happened less than 2 miles into the trip:

2666326391_21ea158321.jpg

 

What made the difference for me was realizing that walking in stiff shank boots on a trail was different than softer hiking boots. I had to change my walk a bit to lift my foot a little more and roll up onto my toe less. My walk ended up being a little more flat footed than I normally would. Another option is if you know you're going to be on trail for a good chunk at the beginning of the climb, wear a pair of light running shoes until you get to the snow and swap into your boots there.

 

Also, a good place to look for different ways to tie your shoes to prevent heel slip is running websites. Runners have a ton of different lacing patterns to do different things.

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Cool! Are we doing blister pics now?

 

kendall4.JPG

 

I popped a band-aid blister pad on this baby and skied for another 12 hours, no big. Those things are magic

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Ouch, ouch!! What I've found has help on long ski tours and uphill tromps with a pack and stiff boots is - don't laugh -knee high nylons next to my foot, then liner sock, then medium sock. The nylon is very friction free. They do not last long so you need a few on a long trip, but they are not heavy.

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I BLAME THE MANUFACTURERS AND THEIR DAMN HEEL BAIL COVERUP. THEY CAUSE BLISTERS AS WELL AS BREAKING.

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I have struggled with the same problem. I tried all of the above remedies and then some. Nothing really worked to my satisfaction until I discovered these little gems!

 

BungaPads

 

I wore them on many shorter trips, but the big test was a 6 Day trip on Rainier last year. I carried a 2nd pair to swap out everyday. No blisters and no hotspots the entire trip!

 

I won't put on my mountaineering boots without them now.

 

 

 

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I have similar problems with sweaty feet and blisters. Every boot still gives blisters.

 

Tape works well if you wrap the entire heel and around the bottom of the foot as others suggest. The downside is that it still sometimes moves on sweaty feet AND it hurts when you pull it off, even if you shave your ankles.

 

A better solution is to use the self adhesive style bandage tape that you can get in any drugstore or pharmacy section of the grocery store. It's cushiony, doesn't move, and doesn't hurt when you pull it off. Bonus points for not having to shave your ankles. The downside? It's expensive. ($3-$4/roll).

 

What I do now, and what seems to work the best is to use a Dr. Scholls body glide specifically for feet and change my socks at every major rest stop. This usually equates to changing my sweaty ass socks about 3-4 times per day, but I no longer get blisters and I don't have to mess with duct tape or the expense of the self adhesive tape.

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