Having thought it was a great idea to wear lightweight trail running shoes for walking the Cotswold Way in September, I have changed my mind. I got them soaking wet on a day hike, and they were smelly, damp and uncomfortable to walk in for three days afterwards. Considering the grass is often wet with dew even if it hasn’t rained, I didn’t think this would work too well in our temperate British climate.
After months of trial and error I found the right combo for my feet with Lowa Renegade GTX walking boots, and Karrimor light hiking socks. I tried wearing various different socks and sock liner combinations but preferred Karrimor as they are cooler than Bridgedales, and dry out faster. At £2.50 a pair they are a bargain! They are a bit tight on the ankle, but should give with wear. It’s true that Goretex is never very breathable in footwear, but I remove my boots at rest stops to let everything dry out a bit.
I’ve also been experimenting with foot care. To keep the skin on my feet in good, supple condition I use Burt’s Bees Miracle Salve – works a treat. To help avoid blisters I keep my toenails nicely trimmed, and rub Vaseline on my toes and the backs of my heels.
However, lately my preferred boots and socks haven’t been working so well. On the last two 10 mile walks I developed areas of swollen red patches on the backs of my legs. I’m not too sure what is causing it. I have never noticed the ankles of my boots rubbing before. Are the socks too tight? Is it the ankle of the boot rubbing? Have I laced them too loosely or too tightly? Is it the hotter weather? Should I try applying Vaseline!? I don’t really know.
Suzy is really lucky with her feet and rarely has a problem, other than cold toes in winter. She opted for Merrell Moab hiking boots, with the same Karrimor light hiking socks. I tried her Moabs on, but didn’t find the slightly forward sloping angle of the ankle comfortable.
As a last resort with only 6 weeks to go I have just bought a pair of Merrell Azura GTX hiking shoes. There isn’t much time to wear them in now, but Merrells are usually pretty good straight out of the box, so I hope they’ll be ok. Otherwise I’m not sure if walking the Cotswold Way is going to be much fun. I may just stop bothering with all this and wear my Crocs 😉