It is a real comfort to have equipment that is perfectly broken in: a baseball glove, a saddle, a pair of levis or, in my case, a pair of hiking boots. In each case the owner knows s/he can trust said glove, saddle, levis or boots. I had such a pair of boots and then I quit wearing them. I wasn’t walking about much with a new hip replacement, but I knew that if I wanted to hike, the boots were there. The boots waited while my feet spread out and arthritis took over the ball of one foot. I sprang into problem solving mode.
So I bought some cushy inserts that were like walking on clouds – big fat clouds. One walk left me with blisters on eight toes and one heel. Back to the old inserts – and a new partial insert that fit just under the ball of my right foot. Problem: how to glue it in place? Answer: duct tape! So far, that’s working.
My friend Les Lloyd, alumni of 23 expeditions on Danali, had a better answer than playing with inserts. He wrote, “blisters are easy to take care of. just don’t get them in the first place. my trick is to just assume the worst. you know you are going to get the blister, you know where the blister will be. so, just tape up before you even start. i use athletic tape. the white cloth stuff. i have a pair of boots that i know give me grief. tape up first and i have never had a blister since. pro-active rather than re-active.” I’m also using his solution.
Thirteen days to go and I set off into the wilderness.