If you love walking or hiking but don’t love the pain you might get when your shoes or boots rub then we have some tips and hacks you can use to prevent the irritation. Learning how to stop walking boots from rubbing your ankles can be easy when you know what to do. We have a number of strategies that you can use to stop the problem so that you enjoy your walks instead of worrying about your feet.
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How Do I Stop My Hiking Boots From Hurting My Ankle?
So how exactly can you stop your walking boots from rubbing your ankles? Well, firstly there is no one solution that will work universally. The problem needs to be addressed by eliminating problem areas until you come up with a solution that will work for your hiking boots.
Remember that different hiking boots are made from different materials, fit into different shaped feet and each person who wears them looks after them in a unique way. The key to resolving the problem of rubbing boots is to address the problem areas you are experiencing and eliminate different solutions until you find one that works for you.
Let’s start with one of the most obvious areas to address and that is buying new boots.
Buy The Right Walking Boots
Walking and hiking boots come in all shapes, sizes and designs so it makes sense to spend time buying boots that are the proper fit and style for your needs. Whatever you do make sure you don’t rush this process and spend time considering the fit of your boots before spending your cash and getting the wrong boots.
Think about what you need your new pair of boots for to start as that will determine the designs that are more suitable for your needs. Are you planning to do gentle walks on country paths or do you expect to be hiking on more difficult terrain? Lightweight flexible boots make be fine for the former but for more challenging hiking you are going to need a higher boot with more ankle support.
Lightweight flexible boots are less likely to cause ankle pain whereas heavy-duty hiking boots are going to need more breaking in before you wear them.
The material you choose for a new pair of shoes or boots is also important to consider. Leather is likely to last longer and be more suitable for more difficult walks. Man-made materials tend to have a little more flexibility. However, it isn’t just the flexibility of the material that is important but also whether the boot material is breathable. Boots that don’t breathe can cause your feet to sweat which causes your foot to move around more which is more likely to cause heel blisters.
Also, think about your foot shape and where the boot hits your ankle bone. If when trying on the hiking shoes you find that the fit feels uncomfortable choose something else. Also, make sure that there is enough room or empty space in the toe box of the boot. New shoes need to have enough space as your feet swell the more you walk and stand on them.
Dedicate a good amount of time in a shop to getting the exact right pair for you as you don’t want to make an expensive mistake and be stuck with a pair of boots that leave your feet in agony.
Break-in Walking Boots
It can be tempting to wear new boots straight away and head out for a walk or a long hike to try them out. Whatever you do resist the temptation. If you want to know how to stop walking boots from rubbing your ankles then you need to understand that you need to break them in first.
The easiest way to do this is to start wearing them around the house so that your feet can get used to them and start to mould to your foot shape. Make sure that you wear thick socks when you are doing this to help.
When you have become used to wearing the boots indoors then do a number of shorter walks in the local area to get used to them. Note any areas that seem to have any discomfort and if they do use some of the solutions that we have below before taking them out on any long walks.
When you do go out on the initial walks or hikes make sure that you bring blister plasters or tape with you just in case you need it. There is nothing worse than being trapped in a pair of new boots that are killing your feet miles away from home.
Soften Walking Boots Around the Ankle
If you have bought a pair of new hiking boots that hurt, especially ones that are made of leather, then it may be necessary to find ways to soften the walking boots around the ankle area.
Dubbin wax is the perfect product for the job as it is known to soften the leather. Just work the wax into the leather ankle section and manipulate the material with your hands. Test this bit by bit to prevent the boots from becoming too soft.
Dubbin wax also helps to waterproof your new boots by adding a protective layer to prevent moisture from getting into your shoes. This means the product is a great solution if you are hoping to keep your feet dry on wetter walks.
Use Leather conditioner
A leather conditioner is another great product that can help when you are looking to soften your boots to prevent ankle pain.
This particular brand helps to not only soften the leather but also helps to keep them the same colour. Remember that certain products can have an impact on the colour of your boots so if you want to keep them looking as they were when you bought them then this might be a better option.
Another important aspect of this leather conditioner is that it keeps your boots breathable. As there is no wax in the product the leather pores are not going to be sealed which means they can still breathe. This is important if you suffer from sweaty feet. Sweat is a problem as it can cause your feet to move around in your shoes. Keeping your feet moisture-free means that you reduce friction and prevent your ankles from heel blisters.
Stop Walking Boots Rubbing By Thinking About Your Socks
Once you have broken in your boots and tried using wax or leather conditioner then the next thing we would suggest that you try are thick socks. Thick socks are a simple way of creating a barrier between your boots and the ankle section of the boot.
Wool socks work well as they are breathable and they also help to help your feet stay warm which is important if you are hiking outside. You can use merino wool socks or ordinary wool to help with the problem.
You can also try the old trick of wearing two pairs of socks at the same time. This obviously only works if you can fit them into your boots of course. When you wear two pairs of socks you’ll find that they will rub against each other but not necessarily your ankle which means it is a simple and cheap solution for preventing blisters.
Boots Rubbing Back of Heel? Try Shoe Inserts
As we have already discussed every person has a different shaped foot and this shape can impact the way that you walk and how your hiking boots fit you. If your foot is slightly out of alignment or sitting in the wrong place of your boot it can cause a problem with blisters.
There are plenty of shoe and heel inserts that you can place into your boots that can help put your foot back into the correct position so those pressure points don’t cause you a problem.
Shoe inserts can help to provide enough cushioning and height inside your boots and shoes to prevent rubbing. You can also think about using orthotics in your boots if you find that your feet suffer from pronation or foot abnormalities that might be causing your pain. A good podiatrist can help you to find ones that fit your particular feet or alternatively you could buy a pair online to try them out.
If Your Boots Hurt Your Ankle Bone Try Shoe Stretchers
It is also worth thinking about whether your hiking boot fits correctly when you have new shoes and if you have wide feet. You can end up with sore heels and ankles when your shoes are just that little bit too tight. That tightness can often be overcome when you break in your shoes but if you are still finding it isn’t enough then it might be worth investing in some shoe stretchers to stop shoes from creating blisters on your ankle.
There are lots of different types of shoe stretchers available for you to buy. We always recommend that you buy a four-way stretcher as that will offer you the most solutions for resolving your problem. This type of shoe stretcher will enable you to increase the size of the hiking boot as well as the width.
You can also use a shoe stretch spray to help tight spots around your boots and shoes. Shoe stretch spray can be used in conjunction with the shoe stretchers as well to really help your boots to fit.
Prevent Blisters with Ankle Protectors for Boots
If you want help preventing blisters then it is worth thinking about wearing achilles sleeves to help stop shoes or boots from rubbing the Achilles tendon and causing pain.
These are like socks without toes that you slip on to help provide support and reduce friction. They allow your toes to move freely but create a barrier that can help your heels and ankles.
These are a unisex pair and one size is usually suitable for every different size of feet.
Boot Chafing Pad or Wool to Increase Comfort
Another way to stop walking boots from rubbing your ankles is to buy a chafing pad or alternatively by using wool padding to help increase comfort.
Wuru wool is a little known product that is great for helping to prevent blisters. It is super soft and all your need to do is place some in the area where your boot is rubbing and it will help to provide cushioning.
Wool is a great product as it helps to not only reduce friction but it also helps to absorb moisture which is great if you have sweaty feet. As an added bonus it doesn’t make your feel get hot so you can wear it for long periods without it causing any problems.
Stop Moisture From Causing Friction in Your Boots
Knowing how to stop walking boots from rubbing your ankles involves learning how to stop moisture so your keep your boot or shoe dry.
When your feet become sweaty you will find that they tend to move around more in your boot and that can cause the dreaded blisters.
A simple way helping to prevent moisture is by wearing socks that wick moisture away from your foot and keep everything dry. Socks that draw moisture can make all the difference when you want to prevent blisters.
Carpe foot lotion can also make a difference. You only need to use a pea-size amount of the lotion and you get really good antiperspirant effects. This product can even help when you have hyperhidrosis so it is a powerful tool in helping keep your feet dry.
Shoe Glide to Prevent Friction
For some people, a really simple solution can be used and that is using anti-friction sticks to help form an invisible barrier on the back of the ankle.
Shoe Glide and similar products such as Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick works by spreading the product onto your ankle enabling your foot to glide easily in your boot without causing blisters. This product is useful as it doesn’t just work for boots but for your body as well.
The only downside is that you may need to carry it with you whilst you are walking and reapply it.
Micropore Tape and Moleskin
Micropore tape or using moleskin can also help to stop blisters and help keep your feet blister-free.
Both products are found in most chemists and can be cut to the exact size that you need. Just place the products on the areas of the foot and ankle that are experiencing the problem and you should find that your feet will feel better.
Learn How to Lace Your Hiking Boots
Finally last but not least. If you want to know how to stop walking boots from rubbing your ankles then make sure that you know how to lace them properly to prevent foot pain.
If you weren’t aware lacing your boots normally doesn’t necessarily prevent the movement in your boot which is the cause of many blisters. Instead, you should think about using different lacing techniques to help keep your foot and heel in place when you walk such as the lacing hook.
There are some great videos on YouTube you can watch to help you learn how to tie your hiking boots in different ways to help the problem. This one from the Hiking Lady gives some great tips on how to start lacing tight to prevent foot movement.
Learning to stop your hiking boots from rubbing your ankles doesn’t have to be difficult but you may need to be proactive to solve the problem. Obviously buying good boots in the first place is the easiest solution of all but all our other tips and strategies should help you to do long walks pain-free.
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