You never know what you’re going to run into when hiking; a sudden downpour or coming upon a stream or creek that cuts across your trail. Most likely you prepared for an unexpected change in the weather by bringing a rain jacket or poncho to keep your head and body dry. But what about your feet? Here are some ways of how to keep your feet dry while hiking as suggested by Mom Goes Camping:
1. Waterproof Boots – The first course of action is to wear waterproof or water-resistant boots. True waterproof boots are made of rubber but will quickly make your feet sweat. There are a variety of waterproof boots like rubber, treated leather, or membrane linings such as Gore-Tex and eVent. Here’s a breakdown:
- Gore-Tex – This is a membrane lining that prevents water penetration while breathable, so your feet won’t sweat.
- eVent – Similar to Gore-Tex, it is a waterproof membrane that vents perspiration and moisture, keeping feet comfortable and dry.
- Rubber boots – Solid rubber is completely waterproof. While this is great for keeping out the water, it doesn’t allow perspiration or heat to escape. Sweat will soon build on your feet and will make you uncomfortable.
- Leather – Leather is breathable, flexible, conforms to your feet, and is naturally water-resistant – to a point. You wouldn’t want to submerge them, but they will brush off a moderate or light rain. If leather boots are not lined with Gore-Tex, eVent, or a similar waterproof membrane, they will allow water in during a heavy rain or walking through a creek or deep puddles.
- Treated leather – Leather can be treated with silicone, Nikwax, or Otter that will prevent water penetration. You can also use Neatsfoot Oil, mink oil, or mineral oil. When applying these oils, do not saturate the leather. Other options are lanolin and wax. The latter two should be heated before applying.
- Synthetic boots – Fabric or synthetic materials can be waterproofed by spraying Scotchgard, Kiwi Boot Waterproofing, Nikwax Fabric and Leather Proof. Also, if your boot has eVent or Gore-Tex, you can use Gear Aid ReviveX Nubuck Suede and Fabric Waterproofing.
2. Socks – Another way of how to keep your feet dry while hiking is wearing waterproof seamless socks. However, since they are not breathable, these will make your feet sweat. The best solution here is to wear the waterproof socks over a pair of hiking socks. Waterproof socks should not be worn against your skin.
When it comes to socks, stay clear of all cotton. Wear quality hiking socks. As Avnture explains, cotton socks are like a sponge; they absorb moisture. So, when your feet perspire, those cotton socks are going to become soggy. Hiking socks are made from Merlino wool or a blend of wool and synthetic fabrics. These wick moisture, essentially pulling the sweat right off your feet reducing friction. They are comfortable and dry quickly if they get wet.
One quality hiking sock is made by Flipsockz. Its unique design features a flap on the ankle portion that you can stretch over the top of your boot. This helps keep dirt and stones from entering your boot; an added protection to keep your feet comfortable. These socks have a cushioned sole and fit any boot.
3. Gaiters – These go over your lower leg and ankle and cover most of your boot, even the laces. Water will run off the gaiters and not enter your boots. Make sure you choose gaiters that are multi-layered and have Velcro closures. If you’re wearing rain pants, make sure the gaiters are worn under the rain pants. Otherwise, the rain will seep in through the top of the gaiter.
Keeping your feet dry while hiking will prevent blisters and even foot fungus. When wet feet dry out, skin can become cracked and bleed. If your feet stay wet for too long, you could even develop trench foot that can result in pain and swelling.
Following our tips of how to keep your feet dry while hiking will keep you – and your feet – comfortable and make for an enjoyable hike!