The last thing you want to do when you’re hunting is to stop and take care of your newly acquired blisters. Ideally, a good pair of hunting boots isn’t going to give you blisters (especially if you break them in before going after your game), but you should be prepared just in case.
From selecting the right pair of boots to keeping your feet dry and cool at all time- there are many things to do for keeping blisters at bay!
Choose the right pair of hunting boots
Wearing the wrong type of boots is one of the main causes for developing blisters. Most of the time, the friction where your heels, soles and toes rub against your hunting boots is the one causing the blisters. No hunting boot is going to be the perfect match for all feet out there, therefore selecting the right one is essential.
Here are some things to take under consideration when it comes to your hunting boots:
- If the boots are cramped, the toes are going to rub against the sides/ends of the boots. This may also cause a blackening of your toenails and even loss of your toenails after a long hunting day. Your boots should have a finger’s width of length between the end of your toe and the end of your boots, which is going to let your foot expand when walking. Your boots have to have the right width so that your toes have enough space.
- A new pair of hunting boots is going to rub different areas than your previous pair of boots. Most hunting boots are going to cause blisters, which is why breaking them is a must. Have some short walks with your new pair, even if they’re similar or identical to your previous one. Take time until you take them hunting.
- When the and the edge of the insole rub against your toes or foot, you should get another style of boots or other insoles. You can seek for some heat-molded insoles that cradle nice and comfy the feet. You can also cover the area/lubricate it for reducing the rubbing.
- If your feet slide around in the boots, the risk for blisters is even higher. You want to have enough room to expand when walking, but you don’t want to slide around. put on some thicker socks or lace your boots so that you keep the heel in the heel cup. If this doesn’t work out, you should look for another pair of boots.
Put on the right socks
Gone are the days when cotton socks were the best choice for your boots. cotton retains sweat, which softens the skin and increases the risk for friction and, soon enough, blisters.
- Use double-layer socks that are great for moisture wicking and keeping your feet warm at the same time. Some socks come with no-blister guarantee.
- Look for the synthetic socks (polypropylene, acrylic or CoolMax fabric) which work better. Wool socks are great in the winter.
- Change your socks the second they get moist or wet.
- It’s a trial and error when it comes to socks so try different thicknesses and types until you get it right.
- Take a look at the sock seams and see where are they hitting the toes. Some socks are made so that there are no seams close to your feet.
Always have your feet dry
Along with the good pair of wicking socks, some tips are great for drying your feet:
- Use an antiperspirant for reducing the risk of blisters. Look for one that is odorless and use it on the night before you go hunting
- Use some cornstarch and sprinkle it in the socks and boots, for keeping your feet dry. You should repeat this any now and then. Talcum powder and baby powder may work too.
- Not being hydrated may raise your risk for blisters. Make sure you drink enough water and always keep your body fluids well-balanced.
Lubricate your feet
Friction (rubbing motion between your sock, foot and hunting boots) is going to result into heat and tearing forces, raising the risk for blistering. Once you reduce this friction, you also lower the risk for blisters.
Lubricating your feet is going to help too:
- AD ointment is a thick solutions and it’s really affordable
- Petroleum jelly is one cheap and effective way. It’s not going to come out of your socks that easy, and your socks are going to get dirtier. More grit in the boots is going to irritate the foot, leading to blisters.
- Some socks are made with Teflon for reducing the risk of blisters
Toughen your feet
The stronger your feet are, the lower the risk for developing blisters. There are ways for helping your feet stay tougher:
- It’s better that you don’t let the calluses get too dried as they may turn into sour cracks. It’s best that you moisturize your feet on a daily basis, using an effective moisturizing foot cream.
- The more you’re using your feet, the higher the risk to develop calluses. They’re a good way to protect in a natural way and reduce the risk for friction. It’s wiser to use them and not to shave them off right before you go hunting for a long time.
- 10% tannic acid or some tea soak (it contains tannins) for toughen your feet. Apply some tannic acid or soak your feet in a strong tea at least twice a week.
Stop and take care of the hot spots
If you know that you have a spot that is constantly posing problems and develops blisters really easy, you should cover and protect it the best way you can. Gel bandages, sports tape, patches and moleskin are solution to try. If duct tape works for you, go for it! As long as your hot spots are protected, you shouldn’t stress much about the solutions you use!
The big challenge is to make the pads/bandages stay in place for protecting the hot spots. It may take a bit of trial and error until you find the best solution. Nevertheless, not letting a blister develop is the best way to deal with it!
Whenever you feel that a hot spot is developing, is better that you take a time out and take care of it immediately. A dedicated hunter is going to push himself/herself and keep on walking, but it’s only a matter of time and you have to deal with a bigger problem: an unfortunate blister.
Here are some other tips to remember:
- Should you have a blister kit with you, it’s better that you cover it and place a blister bandage. Creating a protective circle around it is going to be a great idea too. The blister kits are easy to find and you should have one on you, especially if you’re taking your new hunting boots for the very first time. You can very well make a blister kit of your own with some athletic tape, gel bandages, small scissors and a bit of lubricant.
- Always change your socks the minute they get damp. There’s nothing worse for your feet than some moist socks that increase friction, leading to blisters.
- Take your boots off and try to seek the hot spots. Put your socks once again and see if they bunched up.
Can blisters become a more serious health condition?
Even if blisters aren’t life-threatening, you should never ignore them. Simply covering with a Band-Aid and forgetting all about them until you get back home isn’t going to do it, most of the time. Blisters can actually get infected and lead to other serious health conditions.
Not only that infected blisters cause burning sensation and specific pain, but they may also fill with pus which is even worse than it sounds. When an infected blister ruptures, the risk for a secondary impetigo (which is a bacterial infection that is highly contagious) gets really high. Not treating an infected blister may also lead to sepsis, which is a life-threatening bacterial infection in your body tissue or bloodstream.
Most blisters are going to heal in a couple of days and you should protect the area from friction or any rubbing for a week or so. Leave your skin as it is as blisters may actually work as a natural barrier that keeps the infection causing germs at distance. Here’s what you should do:
- Use a mild soap and water for cleaning the area. Let it dry.
- Get a bandage and protect the blister with it
- Make a donut-shaped area around the blister so that you protect it from further injuring.
- It’s better to wear another pair of boots that aren’t going to rub against the blister.
If you’re suffering of diabetes, you probably know by now that you are prone to develop foot blisters. You should be extra careful and seek to treat them immediately so that they don’t get infected.
Rangermade’s Hunting Equipment section
Rangermade’s Hunting Clothing Section