New Boots - Terrible Heel Blisters....

9:48 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I finally sprung for a new pair of boots. Purchased the Asolo PW Matic 250NBK from REI. http://www.rei.com/webservices/rei/DisplayStyle/780797?source=19113&cm_mmc=aff_cj-_-datafeed-_-product-_-na&mr:trackingCode=58C7FE5D-0319-DE11-B4E3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA&siteId=cjIsd2x-it3792&URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rei.com%2FOM%2Fstyle%2F780797%3Fcm_mmc%3Daff_cj-_-datafeed-_-product-_-na%26mr%3AtrackingCode%3D58C7FE5D-0319-DE11-B4E3-0019B9C043EB%26mr%3AreferralID%3DNA&PID=1070188&AID=10456937&cm_mmc=CJ-_-Aff-_-1070188-_-10456937 They felt good at the store and I felt like I had sufficiently broken them in going on various 10 to 30 minute walks/hikes and wearing for a couple weeks at work. Well not but a mile into hiking Pikes Peak I was feeling a hot spot on my right heel. It was the incline (not ”the incline” for you locals – but the steep grade of the trail) that was creating the friction. I immediately stopped and dressed it with moleskin, dried my mid-weight smartwool socks and continued. It only got worse and about 3 miles into my hike the left side started doing the same thing. I wear a size 14 and a 13 is just too small. Half sizes stop after 12. So if the issue is a size problem I'm screwed. After camping at Barr camp I decided to double up my socks to two mid-weight smartwools. The hotspot on my left heel soon went away. I think I did too much damage to the right though – as the pain continued and by that morning already had a small blister. Should I take them back to REI or keep trying with different socks/liners? Or should I be having this discussion with a saleperson at REI? Any suggestions would be much appreciated… Do you think I just have the wrong boot – as I have read on some of these blister threads?

Thanks, Will

10:14 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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Question about your socks - are you wearing layered socks - lightweight, thin wicking inner socks with Smartwool outers? This is what you should be wearing. Do you use a fitted footbed or orthotic? This helps tremendously with the volume problem (which you will have by wearing a half-size larger), and will help with holding your heel in place How are you lacing your boots? Different lacing patterns (discussed in a lengthy earlier thread here on Trailspace) will make a difference in preventing your heel from lifting (the heel blisters indicates this is happening, so a footbed like Superfeet which has a heel cup can reduce heel movement). The fact that your doubling the midweight socks helped also indicates you should be wearing a heavier sock with a thin wicking liner.

10:30 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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With new boot I always start out with two pair of socks I ware 2 pair of socks until the boot start to show wear. And when I go fit a new pair of boot I do it after I have been on my feet all day so my feet are swelled for the day. Also if the leather on the boots is stiff I some time spray them down with silicone and ware them while there wet (know it stinks but it helps)

If you have worn them as much as you say you have I doubt that they will take them back

I did use to know an old timer that would soak a new pair of boots in water and then ware them until they dried but I have never tried that method but he swore by it.

I haven't had any problems breaking in boot since I started buying Wolverine brand boots.

1:05 a.m. on June 19, 2009 (EDT)
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Question about your socks - are you wearing layered socks - lightweight, thin wicking inner socks with Smartwool outers? This is what you should be wearing. Do you use a fitted footbed or orthotic? This helps tremendously with the volume problem (which you will have by wearing a half-size larger), and will help with holding your heel in place How are you lacing your boots? Different lacing patterns (discussed in a lengthy earlier thread here on Trailspace) will make a difference in preventing your heel from lifting (the heel blisters indicates this is happening, so a footbed like Superfeet which has a heel cup can reduce heel movement). The fact that your doubling the midweight socks helped also indicates you should be wearing a heavier sock with a thin wicking liner.

Thanks. With regards to my socks, I was not wearing a lightweight thin wicking sock, which after doing research earlier today I have learned this removes moisture from the foot and also removes friction from the skin and transfers it between the inner and outer socks. It's good to hear you confirm this. I do not use a fitted footbed or orthotic. I did fail to mention that I did add a sof sol insole that may have raised my heels too high, or some such. I will stop by REI this weekend, purchase a pair of superfeet insoles, wicking socks and a pair of heavy socks. I will research said lacing patterns as well. Is there a particular thin wicking sock you folks think is best? I liked the smartwools, will stick to that brand for the heavyweight sock.

Aside from this problem the boots performed well with the load I was carrying. I'd prefer not to return them...

Thanks again for the help Bill, will let you know how it goes.

Will

1:13 a.m. on June 19, 2009 (EDT)
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With new boot I always start out with two pair of socks I ware 2 pair of socks until the boot start to show wear. And when I go fit a new pair of boot I do it after I have been on my feet all day so my feet are swelled for the day. Also if the leather on the boots is stiff I some time spray them down with silicone and ware them while there wet (know it stinks but it helps)

If you have worn them as much as you say you have I doubt that they will take them back

I did use to know an old timer that would soak a new pair of boots in water and then ware them until they dried but I have never tried that method but he swore by it.

I haven't had any problems breaking in boot since I started buying Wolverine brand boots.

REI is pretty good when it comes to customer satisfaction, one of the reasons I purchased from them at my local store as opposed to online, etc. Quite sure they wouldn't want to lose me as a customer once they pulled my account up and have seen how much I've spent there!

I have heard of the soak the boot in water technique but don't think I'd take that route with these, as I was recommended (and have done so) to waterproof with nikwax.

Thanks for the feedback Mike,

Will

1:21 a.m. on June 19, 2009 (EDT)
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My local REI shop can provide custom green superfeet insoles. Is this the best approach? http://www.superfeet.com/activity/hiking/Custom_Green.aspx

1:22 a.m. on June 19, 2009 (EDT)
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Will

I wish there was a real outdoors store around here like REI of something similar I would probably have a large rapport with them as well. But all we have around here is a small EMS store and its at the dreaded mall. So for me its EMS or the meany web stores :-(

I don't think I will ever try the water trick either.

7:31 p.m. on June 19, 2009 (EDT)
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as goofy as it sounds the water trick should only be used on all leather boots. as the wet leather is drying, it conforms to the shape of your foot. if you have a synthetic or nylon boot, they won't conform. (ok, they do somewhat. but not near as well)

after that, there is nothing better than a boot that "fits-right". if you are having to add extra padding, or insoles or wear multiple layers of socks, than the boots are the wrong size. as an old shoe salesman, i'd have to recommend trying to return the boots that you have and keep trying until you find some that fit better.

11:20 p.m. on June 28, 2009 (EDT)
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I have had the privilge of climbing Pikes Peak and it is a never ending grade the first day and you can never seem to get to the top of the switchbacks! Anyways... on my latest day hike, my fiancee had the back of the heel blister going. He boots are broken in puurfectly and she has climbed many steep hills and hasn't had the problem before. It may have been the socks, may have been the way she was plodding through the rocks, or just her feet weren't with it yesterday.

 

In your case I would say socks was your problem. Good advice above.

Just think if you would have gone up "the incline" your feet wouldn't have made it to Barr Camp. :)

2:55 p.m. on June 30, 2009 (EDT)
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I'd definetly back up what Bill said. Having a lightweight liner sock between my foot and my midweight Wigwams has saved me time and time again - five days backpacking with no blisters (soaking wet the whole time too).

I'm not sure which brand I got but spending 10 or so bucks on a pair was a great idea.

12:41 p.m. on July 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the help guys. I went back to REI a few weeks ago and purchased a pair of smartwool light wicking socks and a thicker sock. Also a pair of green superfeet insoles. This helped significantly and was able to successfully summit Pikes Peak last Sunday. After the 25.2 mile hike I did have some small blisters on my heel though. The boots otherwise performed well with all the support and protection I felt I needed. Great boots. Will continue to mess around with sock combination as I think a bit of volume could still stand to be filled. I have narrow feet... A half sock covering the half foot and heel would seem to be a nifty idea. I don’t think they make those though…

1:29 p.m. on July 10, 2009 (EDT)
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An anti-friction product like FootGlide might help until you get the boots dialed in: http://tinyurl.com/6gn3oo

 

Also -- venturing off-topic here, but TinyURL is a great way to manage monster links like the one in your original post: http://tinyurl.com/

5:23 p.m. on July 10, 2009 (EDT)
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An anti-friction product like FootGlide might help until you get the boots dialed in: http://tinyurl.com/6gn3oo

 

Also -- venturing off-topic here, but TinyURL is a great way to manage monster links like the one in your original post: http://tinyurl.com/

Thanks for the tip and about the link. Was wondering why it was so huge!!!

5:58 p.m. on July 10, 2009 (EDT)
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For some reason those links don't work for me.

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