How to Protect your Toes When Hiking?

Update 2020!

Do you love hiking? Are you currently planning a hike requiring you to exert a lot of effort descending rough and mountainous terrains? If your answer is yes, then you have to arm yourself with relevant information on how to protect your toes when hiking.

Remember that while hiking is an exciting and fun activity, it can also put a significant amount of pressure on your knees, feet, and toes. It can result in swollen toenails, painful and uncomfortable feet, and soreness. Many thanks to guest blogger – Steve Owen from for sharing useful tips with us to resolve above mentioned issues.


Tip #1 – Wear the right shoes that fit

Your shoes play a vital role in having an excellent and unforgettable hiking experience. In this case, you need a shoe that does not only fit but is also known for being breathable and lightweight. The best types of shoes for hiking actually include cross trainers, trail runners, and lightweight yet sturdy boots.

According to Mark Cole, the guru behind, “In your search for a hiking shoe, make sure that you go for one, which is not only lightweight but is also breathable, fits your feet well, and is flexible”. The traditional heavy boots made of leather are not often good options as these are stiff. In addition, they are known for being too abrasive to one’s feet.

Also, another tip is to look for a shoe, which is one full size larger than your normal size. Such will provide more room just in case your foot swells, which usually happens if you take longer than usual hikes. Your goal is to give your toes enough room to breathe and wiggle.

The heels should also securely fit in the heel cups. In addition, make sure that your chosen shoe does not cause you to slide around within, especially if you walk up and down an incline. Before wearing the shoe, spend time breaking it in properly as such also aids in protecting your toes.

Tip #2 – Pair up a quality hiking shoe with the right socks

Wearing a pair of high-quality socks under your shoes is a huge help in protecting your toes and feet from blisters. Look for socks that are capable of providing more than enough cushion to your feet. Avoid extremely thick ones, though, as they tend to overheat your toes and feet.

Your goal is to find a pair of hiking socks with the right combination of breathability and cushion. Avoid extremely thin ones as such may be incapable of protecting you from impact and abrasion. Too thick socks, on the other hand, might cause your feet to sweat too much due to overheating.

A wise tip is to go for lightweight running or hiking socks made of merino wool. Those manufactured using synthetic materials, such as Coolmax, blends, or nylon, are also effective in offering toe and foot protection.

Tip #3 – Use high-quality insoles

One of the most common problems linked to hiking shoes is that they have cheap foam insoles that are incapable of providing adequate arch support and shock absorption feature. If the insole of your hiking shoe is the same, then you’ll have to replace it. You may need to spend another $30 or so to get a high-quality insole but it’s worth it.

Your goal is to find an insole capable of offering more support. Note that proper arch support aids in maintaining your balance while hiking and minimizing muscle strain. A good insole is one, which can provide a high arch as such can help hold your heel at the right place.

Tip #4 – Tie your shoe tightly

By ensuring that your shoe is tightly fitted, you have an assurance that your toes and feet will be locked in place. Such is a big help in reducing the risk of your shoe rubbing in a wrong manner.

While it is important for your toes to have some room so they can spread out conveniently, you still have to make sure that they don’t come in contact with the front part of the footwear. Also, it is crucial to tightly ensconce your ankle, heel, arch, and any other parts of your feet as a means of preventing wear and tear.

Tip #5 – Stay dry

Avoid getting your feet wet when you are hiking. If you notice that your feet are already moist or overheated during your hiking adventure, it would be best to remove your shoes and socks for a while and take a break. Also, do not forget to bring another pair of socks so you can change in the middle of your hiking session.


Apart from the tips on how to protect your toes when hiking mentioned above, you also have to remember how important it is to carry a lightweight backpacking gear so you won’t end up adding too much pressure on your toes and feet.

Also, do not forget to take frequent breaks. When taking breaks, make it a point to remove your shoe then elevate your feet. This tip is helpful, especially if you’re hiking on uneven terrains or long distances during a hot weather. Please visit Steve’s blog at for more shoe hacks, tips and tricks.

Cindy Herrera

I’m Cindy, a free-spirited outdoor enthusiast. Since childhood, I was very much exposed to the outdoor environment. Our family frequently goes on weekend camps and my father, who was a skilled hunter, used to teach me and my siblings valuable things about wildlife survival. Now that I’m a married woman with two wonderful kids, it’s hard to keep up with outdoor activities while parenting at the same time… so I made this blog to share the best of my knowledge, experiences, and tips from other bloggers to you, my fellow outdoor enthusiast because merely talking about the outdoors makes me feel closer to it.

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