Sweaty feet on multi day hiking

7:54 a.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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I was wondering, when I hike (and I use smart wool socks) my feet are soaked by the end of  the day.  When I am out for multi-day hikes I usually have to carry 3 pair with one pair constantly pinned to my pack so I have dry feet.  Any suggestions? (my shoes have a gortex lining, but even with regular shoes..wet socks)  Thanks:)

8:09 a.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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I am in the same boat.  Alopecia is a nusance, but there are woorse things than this to deal with.  Of course you may want to confirm it is only alopecia, as sweaty hands and feet are also a teltale of diabetes.  I have found no better solution than what you do. 

Ed

9:57 a.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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I don't suffer from this issue, but I've heard of some people using an extra strong antiperspirant on their feet. Such things are kept behind the counter at the drug store, are unscented and quite strong. Worth talking to a Dr. about.

10:06 a.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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I don't drench my socks, but they get quite damp.  i more or less operate the same way that you do. 

sometimes, i'll go the uncomfortable step of putting the damp socks on at night, even wearing a pair of vapor barrier liners, so i 'wear them dry' at night. 

11:43 a.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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Ed said:

Alopecia is a nusance,

 

I am not sure which word you guys are trying for, but alopecia refers to hair loss not sweaty feet.

12:21 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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The harder you hike, the more your body will sweat, including your feet. The best advice I can give you is to wear a thing liner sock and a regular sock over it , and to only wear as thick asock as you need for conditions. Beyknd that the next best thing you can do is to air your feet out on rest breaks. When you stop, take your boots off for 10 mins or however long. Makes a big difference. Then of course again in camp. If you have a fire you can always dry them that way too.

This always works for me, and my feet love to sweat!

1:14 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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North1 said:

Ed said:

Alopecia is a nusance,

I am not sure which word you guys are trying for, but alopecia refers to hair loss not sweaty feet.

 Propensity for heavy sweating, especially of hands and feet, are also symptoms of Alopecia. 

1:19 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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I sweat. A lot. Always have, unfortunately. 

In temps above 40F I can only hike a 2-4  hours before I must change my socks or risk softened skin and subsequent blistering. I hate it, but the only thing I've found to do is air my feet and change socks frequently. Soaking them for a few minutes in a cold stream also helps. 

I haven't looked into anti perspirants, I will have to check on that.  

9:47 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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You may try and old climbers trick. Spray your feet with Arid Extra Dry every day for several days prior to your trip. Climbers did this to lessen foot persperation and avoid frostbite at altitude.Works for some and not for others. Worked somewhat for me. Worth a try!

10:39 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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Schlockmyr said:

You may try and old climbers trick. Spray your feet with Arid Extra Dry every day for several days prior to your trip. Climbers did this to lessen foot persperation and avoid frostbite at altitude.Works for some and not for others. Worked somewhat for me. Worth a try!

 I'll have to try that in preparation for my next trip. I sweat like crazy! Normally by the end of a full day's hiking my feet are pretty damp. I usually bring 3 pairs with me. Two to rotate while hiking and one to wear at camp and to bed. I try to dry my feet off by the fire and clean them with baby wipes. That seems to work for me. But wearing water proof hiking boots doesn't help me much either.

10:44 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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It my sound nuts guys... by I take a travel size thing of baby powder with cornstarch in it. I use the WallyWorld off brand. Always helps with the feet. And works wonders on the frank and beans. My wife got me into it after my showers when we first got together. Going on 17 yrs. Anyone I tell about it laughs, till they give it a shot. Then they say "Dude, I can't even shower with out the stuff". Its under $2 bucks if you give it a shot. Just make sure you get the one with cornstarch.

9:09 a.m. on March 1, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks everyone! I will try some of those tricks...never heard of Alopecia!

I also had read about a couple of the things, but had not tried an anti perspirant. I was hoping there was a magical cure that I was unaware of! I keep a pair of "night" socks too..just in case my socks are not dry. If I have any damp ones I throw them in the bottom of sleeping bag and they are dry in the morning.   At least it is dry in Colorado so when I pin them to my pack they dry quickly too...ahh yes I stop and soak in the streams too! That just sucks if you have blister stuff on your feet and you have to reapply! Especially, on a multi day backpack trip:)

10:33 a.m. on March 1, 2013 (EST)
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Alopecia is just an umbrella term for hair loss.

11:37 a.m. on March 1, 2013 (EST)
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You did not mention what type of boots you wear other than the gortex lining.  It is not the brand I am wondering about, but the height.  Are the high leather, or a low curt breathable mesh?  How effective is the gortex?  Gortex is a membrane and if it gets clogged with dirt, how can it breathe?  Is it just keeping your feet hot?  If your feet are wet from sweat, is the gortex just holding the moisture in?  

Have you tried low cuts?  When you stop to dry out your feet, take out the footbed, too.  There are anti-chafe lotions such as Hydropel, Body Glide, Lanolin, and all purpose Bag Balm  (It helps prevent frost nip on my face!)

Speaking of lanolin, some use bits of wool with lanolin between their toes.  I know a nurse who swears by it.

Powder like Gold Bond or Cornstarch help dry the feet after hiking, but watch for it lumping up, if you use it while hiking.

TheRambler mentioned liners.  They are supposed to wick moisture off your foot and wick it out through the outer sock that sticks out the top of your boot.

Have you ever tried just wearing two pair of liners? (the wicking ones, like Fox River "wick and dry", Helly-Hansen polypro, and Smart Wool makes one, too )

I like using Waldies, (The rubber clogs with the holes) around camp to help the feet dry and air out

BTW if you want your boots or sneakers to lose foot stink after your done hiking, fill them with coffee beans over-night!

8:50 p.m. on March 1, 2013 (EST)
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I was going to mention the same thing as rambler.  I live and hike in the desert.  My feet sweat a lot more in Gortex lined boots shoes.

9:16 p.m. on March 1, 2013 (EST)
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rambler said:

BTW if you want your boots or sneakers to lose foot stink after your done hiking, fill them with coffee beans over-night!

 Good Lord!  Not the coffee ! :-0

5:43 a.m. on March 2, 2013 (EST)
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North1 said:

Ed said:

Alopecia is a nusance,

 

I am not sure which word you guys are trying for, but alopecia refers to hair loss not sweaty feet.

Dang!  Not only did I get the terminology wrong, but I ain’t even on the right end of the body on this one.  Well I am bald too so there; and apparently well on my way to seniority as well – or is that senility?  Anyway the condition of sweaty hands and feet goes by an even fancier three dollar word: hyperhidrosis.

-----------

Tried the corn starch thing.  Didn't work for me, but the resulting toe jam made some fine tortiallas at the end of the day.  Quesadia flavor without having to pack the cheese... Someone also mentioned killing stink foot shoe odor with coffee beans.  Tried that too.  My shoes ended up with espresso strength stink that could keep you awake all night.  And the coffee brewed from those beans could wake the dead. Hmmm, cafe de patas rancio.  If Juan Valdez only knew what we did with the fruits of hs labor.

Ed

8:23 a.m. on March 2, 2013 (EST)
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I use a Merrell Moab GTX (mid).  I have tried low's, but I have a tendency to turn my ankle in low's:(   For heavy duty I have an old pair of leather Vasque (mid also) if I am going to be hiking in boulder fields I wear these to protect my feet.  

8:31 a.m. on March 2, 2013 (EST)
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Sorry did not read all the reply's before I answered.  Humm that is a good idea on the Gortex lining.  I have used Moab Ventilators it seems those feet sweat with or without Gortex.  It is just with the regular Moab's my feet get wet from stream crossings, etc. You all have given me some wonderful food for thought! Glad we figured out Alopecia vs hyperhidrosis!  I was reading about the medications and they close the sweat glands...eeek that would suck on the trail:)  Thank you all!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

10:42 a.m. on March 2, 2013 (EST)
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Alopecia or hyperhidrosis?

Glad you were able to clear that up, Ed. I too have not had to worry about Alopecia for about twenty years now.

5:59 p.m. on March 2, 2013 (EST)
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goretex can trap moisture if it's not clean. my feet don't sweat much, guess I'm lucky!

9:40 p.m. on March 6, 2013 (EST)
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Don't use straight cornstarch. Try the baby powder mix. Thats what it's used for to keep babies dry.

12:40 p.m. on March 7, 2013 (EST)
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Maybe lighter footwear, no Goretex, two pairs of socks.  Take your boots off at every opportunity.  Put your feet in a stream when you get a chance.  Go to pure wool socks.  Use alcohol gel to toughen up the feet.  Carry less and hike slower.  Try not to sweat so much.  Don't step on wet ground.

5:16 p.m. on March 7, 2013 (EST)
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ppine,

Never heard the alcohol gel thing. Does it really work? As I said on a few other threads, this far south the heat and humidity combo really make you work for it. So trying not to sweat never works. There are times in the summer you can walk outside to your car and be sweating before you start the engine. We try to avoid those times, or set up to paddle to one of the remote islands off the coast. Thats the few times I dont wear boots. The heat is one of the things you never really get used to down here, you just try to find ways to deal with it. I have been out to Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. My wife even has family out that way. We all agree the dry heat is way easier to take than the sticky heat in the south. I've hiked and worked regularly in 100 degree temps, with humidity kicking it up to an easy 105. It wears you out twice as hard. If anyone has been in enviroments like it... I'd love to hear some pointers. I've seen other sights advise shorts and saddles, but the landscape hardly ever allows that. Most of the land is very thick pine forrests, hardwoods, with all heavy under growth. Between that and the high volume of venomous snakes and wicked bugs, summer is the worst season for any outdoor venture.

11:35 a.m. on March 8, 2013 (EST)
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shenora, I never heard of the alcohol thing either. Be interesting to read .

Yeah heat gets to me and i really don't like either hot and muggy or dry heat either. In August 05 I was in South Dakota at 108 degrees F on my bike and out on the I-90 going west places in the wind just got hotter.

My bike has a trailer with a 18 cubic foot sear car topper and a cooler that faces backwards so wind won't blow the cooler up and break it off. So we had water.

By late Oct that that year we had been to Cal and were in your neck of the woods and still is was high 90's in day time and the weight of the muggies was oppressive to me.

NH doesn't get that western dry heat, but in summer for around 2 weeks you would be right at home. All hot and sticky unless you get above tree line

Apx 5,000'. We have just one dirt rd that goes that high.

I use leather trail boots in summer and just change socks when they get gooked up enough to bug me. If i can I will give them a quick rinse in a mt stream no soaps, and hang them on my pack to dry.

I am as fussy in summer almost about staying dry as i am in winter.

 Unless i am swimming on purpose and or the bugs are chompin hard i will be dry.

9:01 a.m. on March 9, 2013 (EST)
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Unfortunately, my feet just sweat no matter what I do, and I hike in a the dry Rocky Mountains.  It is not bothersome on a day hike, but doing a mult-day trip (and you are trying to keep your load light if not ultra light) it is bad. I do wear wool socks, wash them in a stream to get the sweat out, pin them to my pack to put on when the pair I am wearing get soaked. But if my feet are blistered that means ripping of the tape or what I use, and re bandaging my feet..losing valuable time if I am trying to make miles.  I really like the toughening my feet solution. I looked it up there is tincture of benzoin, and a product for mushing dogs called Tuf Feet, and the alcohol gel mentioned.  That is what I am going to do before I head out backpacking this summer..is toughen those babies:)

9:15 a.m. on March 9, 2013 (EST)
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Here is a bit of info on the whole alcohol thing:

http://www.caminoforums.com/medical-problems/922-yet-another-anti-blister-concept.html

I am am familiar with this technique for toughening up areas of the foot that is prone to blistering but this explains it a bit more than I could.

In general after regular use it will draw the moisture from the areas of skin where applied and promote the development of callouses. 

Benzoin is another option from what I have read but I have not personally tried this technique.

http://walking.about.com/cs/blisterschafing/a/aablisterprev.htm

1:04 p.m. on March 10, 2013 (EDT)
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I may try that Rick. My winter koflach boots are giving me fits. I have no callous on my feet.

I have been messing with foot bed liners and different socks. These boots are overly warm on me. They want only a single sock too, I have failed so far with single medium thick wool, dress weight business shoe polyester  and even single cotton which scares me but i carry more socks. I bought these boots new years ago but never got much chance to use them and i am not sure one can say break them in.

Incorrectly at the time I sold my SMC spikes that fit my leather boots, being somewhat over confident for NEW tech.

My feet are still hot from yesterdays hike.

I can't drive in koflach so I sat on the tailgate after dark and took off the boots and the socks and everything was dry. I even had cotton dust on the bottom of my feet.

I have a few more things to try with foot bed liners, but pretty soon if i don't get this right these boots are going to consignment with about 20 miles on them.

My leather boots are 2 pairs of Limmers, old tech, but they were never too hot and they never created any hot spots either.

If you and others have more tricks i can try I sure am game.

9:10 p.m. on March 10, 2013 (EDT)
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sounds like the limmers are the way to go for you. if you haven't got the other boots to work by now, you probably never will. sometimes the new technology just doesn't work. 

9:26 p.m. on March 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Lodge Pole said:

My leather boots are 2 pairs of Limmers, old tech, but they were never too hot and they never created any hot spots either

I'm with ya on the old tech. I wear Scarpa SL M3s....

Well at least until I had a recent sporadic growth spurt. 

11:26 a.m. on March 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Well if the koflach go I will miss my step in crampons.....

I am not totally out of tricks yet, but the snow is getting deeper anymore. Should be a few more hikes before the snow is gone.

I am from the day of leather tech though no doubt about it. If these boots fail me they will be the last plastic boots that do.

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