Best Foot Forward: How to Take Care of Your Feet Outdoors

The most important piece of equipment you have when you spend time outdoors is actually your own feet. They propel you from here to there and help you get from place to place. Treat your feet right and your entire outdoor experience will more than likely be enjoyable. Treat them wrong and blisters and bruises will develop, causing great discomfort and pain.

One of the absolute best ways to take care of your feet outdoors is to invest in the proper footwear. Because different types of footwear are needed for different outdoor activities, the best footwear for running, hiking, and climbing are discussed independently below. Select outdoor gear with these traits and characteristics and you – and your feet – are sure to be happy on your next adventure.



Running footwear is perhaps the simplest of these three types. Though many running shoes are straightforward in design, selecting your own pair shouldn’t come without much deliberation.

The best way to go about buying running shoes is to select a pair based on your weight and running experience. Visiting a local running store is a great idea as they’ll be sure to have an expert fitter on staff to help you find the best pair possible.

A fitter will not only be able to help you choose a solid pair of running shoes based on your weight and experience but will also be able to factor type (trail or road), frequency (how many times you run per week), foot type (height of arch), and pace (how fast your normally run) into their selection.


The footwear that you use for hiking is going to be a lot different than your running shoes. As with running shoes, however, the type of activity and the frequency that you take part in it are going to be major factors.

You want a completely different hiking boot if your main use will be day hikes as opposed to week-long overnight backpacking trips. Hiking boots for day hiking often look more like shoes than boots and are not very bulky. Backpacking boots, on the other hand, are thicker, more padded, and almost always extend above your ankle.

Though there are hundreds of different hiking boots on the market, the specific brand or model isn’t a very important factor. What matters the most is that you find a pair of hiking boots that fits right. A well-fitting pair of hiking boots will ensure that your feet don’t blister, rub, or bruise during the course of a long hike. That’s especially important if you’ve chosen a long and difficult mountain route like the Appalachian trail where you’ll need the best hiking boots on the market. Only when you find a pair of boots that fit well should you begin to look at other features such as support, waterproofing, and breathability.


Footwear made specifically for climbing is perhaps the most diverse of all. This is not because it is more complex but rather because there are more individual types of climbing than there are running or hiking. And they are all very different.

Rock climbers, for instance, will want shoes designed specifically for rock climbing. These shoes often feature very low profiles and are extremely flexible. Rock climbers will need to further narrow down their options between indoor climbing shoes and outdoor climbing shoes.

Those attempting to climb hills, mountains, or other large natural objects will need different footwear altogether. The type of footwear used here will vary as well. If you are mountain climbing in the winter or on a permanently snowcapped mountain, your climbing boots should be completely waterproof, warmly insulated, incredibly durable, and have an extremely grippy sole. Crampons are a good bet as well.

If you plan on climbing mountains during the later part of the summer or early fall, then your boots don’t have to be quite as rugged. You will probably prefer a climbing boot that is a bit lighter and more breathable.

Selecting the best footwear for your outdoor activity of choice isn’t a walk in the park. It is, however, one of the most important things that you can do. Before taking a step outside, it is essential to invest in an awesome pair of boots or shoes specifically tailored to the activity. Do this and your feet will be happy. Keep your feet happy and your trip will more than likely be a success.

Dan Howell spends his life outdoors. He enjoys blogging about how to be prepared and take care of yourself during outdoor activities.




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21 thoughts on “Best Foot Forward: How to Take Care of Your Feet Outdoors

  1. Yes, we really need to take care of our feet because they are very important. I learned that lesson the hard way (and my feet suffered really bad for it) so now I am taking care of it more. Massage, spa and picking the right footwear 😀

  2. its really true that we need to take care of our feet by investing in good shoes, a foot massage every now and then

  3. We really need to always take care of our feet. I remember way back in college, I used shoes that weren’t fit for our PE class. I ended up having swollen toefingers. :<

  4. I agree that footwear must be considered when doing the above mentioned activities. I once jogged using a tennis shoes and my feet ended up swollen. Since then, I always use running shoes when I run.

  5. Before I thought that all kinds of rubber shoes are the same. It’s just in the matter of aesthetic design then I learned about the ones that are fitted only for running, those that are made for badminton, basketball, etc.

  6. Agree with you sis, choose footwear best for you. Comfy and a bit of style in it (just don’t forget fashion).

  7. Apt and proper footwear to wear on specific outdoor activities will definitely hasten the wear-and-tear effect on one’s feet.

  8. For running, hiking and climbing, your foot gear must be light, comfortable and branded to prolong its lifespan.

  9. Comfortable footwear is important to take of your feet. Of course we shouldn’t also abuse it with walking and running. My favorite would be foot massage in terms of foot care hehe.

  10. I remember making a post similar to this. Our feet is so precious to not take care of. Nice share, sis!

  11. I admit, when I got here in Canada, my feet, especially my toenails have been so battered from wearing shoes, boots all the time! So when Summer came, I had to paint my toenails which I am not used to to cover up the nails that have turned “dead” already! huhuhuhu…

  12. I haven’t really taken good care of my feet until lately…bought a homespa kit and once in a while get them treated in salons, they are the most battered part of our body so they deserve the best rest after all….I run and wall climb and yes, it’s important which shoes one uses for these activities…great tips, thanks!

  13. wow, I could relate to these very much since I do both running and hiking, and they both demand different shoes. and hiking also demands different shoe for day hikes and backpacking, however, for me, even for day hikes, as long as it is strenuous (steep uphill climbing), I prefer to wear the backpacking type of hiking shoes since I find that the most comfortable because of the hard sole, I guess because I always carry a very heavy camera backpack even just day hiking. Sometimes, I laugh, because I probably carry more weight in day hikes than the backpackers for their backpacking trip, all because of my gadgets 🙂 but i love my day hike shoes, since i could wear them in city streets, and they are the most comfortable type of shoes.

    I can’t walk long with my running shoes, since I find it lacking arch support and firmness, but somehow, running shoes helps me run a lot better when am running.

    1. nice to know about it sis! i love running too and would love to try hiking as well! hopefully one day I can find sometime to hike with my hubby and explore more.

  14. I’m an amateur wallclimber and I must say you do need a special kind of shoes for that activity. It’s painful most of the time since your climbing shoes should fit like gloves, otherwise they could fall off.

  15. I never really paid attention to the different kinds of footwear, I thought they only differ in designs/aesthetic. Thanks for sharing, now I know how to choose the right footwear.

  16. Yes, a refreshing feeling when your feet are pamper by taking the best care ever when doing an outdoor activities.

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