Fall is a great time of year in the state of Tennessee... Cooler temperatures, sunshine filled days, and beautiful changes in scenery. This allows a great opportunity for many to make their way to the Smoky mountains or other parks/trails for a day or weekend worth of hiking. However, one must carefully select their gear for such trips, and this certainly includes what to wear on your feet. Here are a few tips to ensure your hiking adventures are enjoyable and easy on your feet:
1. Proper shoe gear - For many of you, hiking may be an activity only enjoyed a few times a year. As a result, several people simply select tennis shoes/sneakers or cross trainers for their trip. However, these shoes are not made for that terrain. Select a good hiking boot with a stiff sole and good traction, and preferably one that extends and laces up past the ankle. This will provide more support and decrease your chances of a sprained ankle or tendinitis.
2. Know your feet - Address and/or plan for any problems you may have experienced in your feet in the past. For example, if you have a history of ingrown nails, be sure to trim them well prior to stepping onto the trail. If you have flat feet or pain with long walks/runs, make sure to wear your inserts/orthotics (or have an evaluation for these issues prior to departure).
3. Socks - All that hiking will undoubtedly cause sweating, and depending on the weather/trail, you may find yourself in wet socks/shoes. Be sure to bring extra socks with you and keep them dry in your pack. Change them if your current pair becomes wet/saturated. This will help prevent from developing any fungus and/or blisters. Powder for your shoes and feet will also help. Synthetic socks are good for warmer climates, and wool for hikes on cooler days. Also be sure your socks extend up your foot/ankle past the top of your shoes. This will help prevent blister formation on the back of your heels and ankle.
Hopefully these few simple tips will help make your hike enjoyable and easy on your feet. Stay safe and stay active!