Blisters are one of the biggest problems that can arise from hiking long distance. However, they are something that can be avoided. Buy good quality hiking boots from a company that has a research and development team made up of real hikers. You can find these types of boots in an outdoor or camping shop such as REI or the Arizona Hiking Shack. There are different types of boots to suit your personal needs. Some are light weight made for light hiking, such as Piestewa Peak. Others are heavier but more durable and very supportive to the feet and ankles. It is important to try the shoes on and to make sure they are of correct width and length. They should be about a 1/2 size bigger than your normal shoe size to allow some room for the toes to slide when going downhill, so you can avoid loosing a toenail. If they don’t feel comfortable or if you’re unsure, don’t buy them. Another important consideration at this point is your socks. A good pair of thick socks is recommended. Socks need to be considered at the same time as buying the shoes, this is because thick socks will increase your shoe size. If you don’t take this into account you may find that your shoes are too tight and you may develop blisters! Thick socks are important for three reasons. Firstly and most obviously they create extra padding for your feet, secondly they reduce the friction between the feet and the hiking boots and thirdly they wick away sweat from the feet. These characteristics are very important when it comes to blister prevention.
Now that you have your hiking boots and high quality thick socks you need to wear the boots in. You should not buy a new pair of boots and go hiking in them for any distance the next day. Expect to wear them in over one or possibly two months of short hikes. This gives the boot time to shape to your feet.
When you are hiking it is important to carry a small first aid kit with you. The kit should include blister pads, Band-Aids or Duct tape. These should be applied to the foot as soon as you start to notice some rubbing. This will stop blisters from forming.