One of the best -- and easiest -- ways to take care of your feet while backpacking is simply to take off your shoes. Here are five reasons why taking off your shoes during backpacking breaks will help you and your feet feel better.
1. Rid Shoes of Rocks
Sometimes that pesky rock or clump of dirt in your shoe isn't worth breaking your stride to fix, but foregoing footwear on a break gives you the chance to get rid of any pieces of trail that made their way into your hiking shoes. This will make you that much more comfortable when it's time to start putting on the mileage again.
2. Dry Out Wet Shoes
Stream crossings and water fill-ups might have left you with wet shoes. While you probably won't be stopped long enough for your shoes to completely dry out, taking them off your feet and setting them in a sunny spot will help get the process started. Don't forget to remove your socks, as well! Aside from drying your socks and shoes, removing footwear will also help dry your feet and give your skin some breathing room.
3. Subtly Hint at a Long Break
If you're hiking with a partner who likes to stay on the move, taking off your shoes and socks can work as a hint that you'd like to take a longer break. Maybe you can convince your backpacking buddy to take a load off, as well. Lie down, put your feet up and give your body the break it deserves. Longer breaks also serve as a great time to refill water and eat a meal or a heartier snack.
4. Treat Your Feet
Let's be honest. Removing shoes and socks during backpacking breaks just feels good. It's one of those moments on your trip that makes you go "Ahhhh." So why not treat your feet by indulging in a shoe-less break? Dip your toes in a nearby water source for the ultimate backpacking spa treatment.
5. Prevent Blisters
One of the most important reasons to remove your shoes during backpacking breaks is blister prevention. Wet or sweaty feet trapped in shoes softens skin, which makes your skin more prone to blisters. Taking off shoes and socks could be the key to you completing your backpacking trip blister free.
Do you take your shoes off during backpacking breaks? What other blister prevention techniques do you use?