… and if necessary I trim them and file off any roughness. Then I rub plenty of Prantal talc (expensive but the best I have found so far) into my feet, even into the heels and especially between the toes and under the ball of the foot. This puts a kind of dry slippery surface on the skin, and the talc absorbs sweat once you are walking. Then I put a Dr Scholls toe separator between the pinky toe and the neighbouring toe on the left and right foot (my pinky toes have a tendency to go under the neighbouring toe and chafe a bit). By the way, if you want to use toe separators, don’t choose the rubbery “gel” ones – they distintegrate fast. Sponge separators last forever.
Then I attach a blister plaster (Compeed is the brand name I use) over the slightly protruding joint at the base of my big toe left and right. This protrusion has the potential to become a bunion, I think, and I once had a biggish blister on the left one. So I put anti-blister patches over each of them as a precaution. (By the way, the Compeed patches stay on for at least a week, sometimes longer, so they are good for several walks and they won’t come off in the shower.)
Then I put an inner/liner sock on each foot. This sock is an Icebreaker brand merino wool sock from New Zealand that wicks moisture away from the skin of the foot. I scrunch the sock up first so that the toes go straight into the end of the sock, then I unroll the sock over the instep and heel, and up over the ankle. I then powder the exterior of this sock and put another liner sock over the top of it. So I’m wearing two socks. In theory any chafing should happen between the inner and outer sock, and not between skin and sock. Recently I have been trying Injinji toe socks. They’re slightly finicky to put on because you have to fit each toe into each “finger” of the sock. But once they’re on they feel nice, and they keep toes separated. As usual, I put a second “tube” sock over the first sock so that I am wearing two thinnish socks rather than one thick sock.
Then I put on my walking boots. I wear Keans Targhee half-height hiking boots, or Keans Targhee hiking shoes (I have a pair of each). These have a big wide toe box that allows for a bit of swelling in the toes and foot as your walk progresses. The lacing system allows you to relax the tightness of the boot across the mid-section of the foot and also tie the laces quite tightly above the ankle on the half-height boot.
Now I’m ready to stand up… and my feet are ready to walk.