In a previous post I talked in detail about my foot care strategy. This strategy works perfectly for me and hasn’t needed much refining. I did think, though, that it would be useful to outline the exact kit that I use during a race or challenge. This kit weighs just a couple of ounces and is worth its weight in diamonds. I used this at the 66hr Death Race a few weeks ago, and finished with almost zero feet issues.
EDC here means “Every Day Carry” – so this post describes concisely the contents of the kit I carry to every event and race I do. It weighs very little and is superbly useful.
Foot care isn’t just a “what do I do when things go wrong?” thing though, and an ounce of prevention with foot issues is worth many pounds of cure.
This boils down to preventing blisters, and preventing maceration. Wear the best socks you can find, wear properly fitting shoes/boots, and use the correct lacing pattern on the boots for your feet. The latter prevents your footwear moving around and therefore reduces blisters caused by friction.
Additionally prepare your feet to reduce the friction and moisture impact on your feet. Again, check out my more detailed post.
For me this boils down to
- Boots : Rocky C4T
These have great ankle support, are super light, and are very durable and comfortable. I’ve done many 100s of miles in these and had minimal issues.
- Insoles : Superfeet Green
Improve on an already great boot by upgrading the default insole for a better fit. Green is a solid insole – for greater comfort try Superfeet Orange. Additionally these absorb almost no water, reducing the risk of maceration and blisters when compared to the insoles that come with your footwear.
- Socks : DryMax and Prosok. Personally DryMax have the edge if you expect your feet to be submersed, and ProSok are a little more comfortable when you expect less submersion. If your feet are soaked to the point of skin softening, Prosok are also great at helping them try out.
- Foot Cream : Trail Toes : This anti-friction foot cream is amazing. It has turned my feet from disaster areas to unbeatable. I don’t only use this thoroughly on my feet but also as anti-chafing on my shoulders, armpits, butt and groin. I apply this liberally before an event and re-apply every 6-12 hours.
There are additional items in the kit for maintenance. For example if I start to feel hot spots, the beginning of a blister formation, or if I am doing a wet and hilly course, where maceration becomes a concern, I need a way to mitigate the problems before they happen.
For me this starts my kit off with the following
- Trail Toes
The gold standard cream for blister and maceration prevention. Since I started using this my foot problems all but disappeared. I cannot speak highly enough of Trail Toes – its a phenomenal product. I will apply this on the skin and over tape regularly to protect the skin from moisture penetration and to reduce the friction that causes blisters. Basically if you don’t use Trail Toes you are wrong, which is why it is mentioned twice.
- Gold Bond powder.
I use a small 1oz travel size container. When I have an opportunity to stop, I will remove boots and socks on one foot, apply foot powder over the foot, ensure full coverage and then blow and wipe off excess before wringing out my socks and replacing them and the boots.
If I pre-tape my feet I will use Leukotape. However a new roll of Leukotape is too bulky for my small kit so I usually use a small roll of athletic tape. The purpose of the tape in my kit is to provide a barrier if hot spots develop. If my boots are rubbing, they will now rub across the tape instead of skin and delay the onset of a blister.
- Small scissors (not shown)
Always useful, but mostly used for cutting tape.
Even with all the preventative maintenance, long events will inevitably introduce problems. To resolve these, I will use the following items in the kit
- Lancing needles
I use this to pop and drain blisters. They are sterile, and so remove the risk of infection that might come with the use of safety pins. If you cannot get lancing needles, safety pins are a good fallback – just wipe with alcohol wipes before using them to penetrate the skin.
I carry LOTS of these, mostly because I end up fixing other peoples feet and these are the safest way I have found to pop blisters.
- New Skin
This product gets applied into a large burst blister and over lacerations to seal the skin and prevent infections or worsening of the problem. It dries fairly quickly but is still only used when I have a few minutes to let it air dry (with the help of some gentle blowing)
- GORUCK Foot Care kit
This product is sealed, contains duplicates of the above items as well as other useful paraphernalia.
- Moleskin patches (not shown)
For more severe blisters, moleskin can be placed around the blister to reduce the pressure on it. Given that my approach is usually to pop a blister, this is a “worst case scenario” and usually the patch only lasts an hour or so before falling off or moving around anyway.
The Full Kit
The full kit is shown below (missing scissors and moleskin). All of this goes into a small dry bag.
It is optimized to have everything I need, only what I need, and is broken into individual ziplocks to group them by function. You notice that the top-right contains “preventative maintenance” items, top-left shows “problem resolution” items, and the bottom is the emergency foot care kit.
That’s it! That is my full foot care kit that goes with me on every event. Usually the application of Trail Toes ahead of time prevents the need to use any of it on myself and I am more often treating the feet of others at a GORUCK Heavy.
How do you feel about injini’s? I had great success with them during selection. Also, I think it would eliminate some of the need for trail toes?
I talk about Injinji in another earlier post. https://overld.me/2014/03/30/feet-keeping-your-wheels-turning/
Personally I don’t like them, and their design only improves the “between the toes” blistering.
Trail Toes cream is just as critical for Injinji given how horrible they are at preventing maceration, and how poorly they perform at moisture removal.
Did you do SFAS? If GORUCK Selection, how far did you make it through? The distance covered makes a huge difference.
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