Foot pain and blisters ran rampant during The Long Walk, 2010. The walk coincided with some of the hottest days of the year (95+ degrees), feet were sweaty and swollen,  and in some cases, shoe choice ranged from the obviously questionable to the downright perplexing. By the last day many of us resembled the walking wounded. We were lucky to have Mr. Blister, aka, Jed Dunkerely, on hand with his arsenal of salves, moleskins, and foot lubes but, with our minds immersed in our feet, it was sometimes difficult to consider higher points of interest .

For this iteration of TLW, participants should consider their feet earlier in the process. Choosing a good shoe and breaking it in well in advance is the first step in preventing blisters later on. Googling “ultra-walking foot care” will lead you to much needed advice for happy, healthy feet. Some things to consider are shoe fit – “Too snug or too loose is always a problem. Ensure that there is ½ inch space between your longest toe and the end of your shoe. Be sure that you have enough room to wiggle your toes inside the toe box, and your heel does not slip when you walk”, sock choice – “NO cotton”, and proper hydration  -“Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Among other things, staying well hydrated will help prevent chafing by allowing you to perspire freely. When you stop perspiring your sweat will form salt crystals on your body increasing friction.”

Photos top to bottom: Susan Robb, Jen Graves