Challenge Preparation: Looking After Feet

Last night I was sitting in a hotel room reading Andrew Skurka’s blog. I saw a post he had written about foot care and it reminded me that I haven’t made my annual post about this yet.

Some new Challengers will be hiking in trail shoes and taking the advice that it is best to let you feet get wet while wearing shoes that dry out easily – and that usually means no Gore Tex lining. Anyhow, some key pointers!

  • Wear good, light and breathable socks. Smart wool and Teko are good for merino wool (with Teko having the edge I think) and X-Socks which are my preferred socks for coping it’s wet.
  • Always carry a spare pair or two. Dry socks at the end of the day is a real luxury.
  • If the weather permits give your feet a rest during the day, take off you shoes and give your feet access to some air.
  • Use barrier foot creams. I use Gerwol creams which you can get from or from some High Street shops. There are two to condiser. The Extra cream is used as a barrier at the beginning of the day. I helps protect the feet and – I swear – my feet feel colder without it. The refreshing balm is applied at night in camp, is heavy on lanolin, and really pampers your feet.
  • If you can rinse your socks out at it do so, it’s not necessary but is more pleasant.
  • Don’t worry about putting on wet socks in the morning – you soon get over the shock!
  • Carry a small tube of athlete’s foot cream. You might not need it but I find a good application at the first signs of itching keeps any problem away. This can also be used to treat the beginnings of other fungal infections: this may seem odd but if you need it you will be grateful of it!

I would put foot care in the essential category rather than the optional extra category.



  1. Good advice Andy.
    Making sure your feet stay in good condition during a long walk is essential, nothing worse than sore feet at the start of a long days walk.

  2. romney says:

    Don’t forget the plasters!

    I vote for Peppermint Foot Lotion from the Body Shop. It is a good general cream for feet (or anywhere else you want an oily moisturiser). The smell is delightful. Also, it does for athletes foot as well as any fungicide I’ve had prescribed. Highly recommended.

  3. Alan Callow says:

    One thing that worked for me on the TGO this year I picked up from one of the Outdoors Station’s TGO podcasts namely to apply micropore tape at the 1st sign of a hot spot on your feet. I did this and used micropore throughout this year with not a single blister. In 2011 I was a compeed freak and feet were badly blistered; to be fair compeed protected the blisters well but this year’s early application of micropore produced a much better outcome

  4. All good tips for a man about to take the fork labelled ‘Trail Runners this way’, leaving my big old boots behind. Thanks for sharing the lore.

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