While hiking downhill, how do you prevent your toes from getting jammed against the tip of your hiking shoes?

by Donna
(Long Island, NY)

I was recently hiking the Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail in Acadia National Park. Everything was fine hiking up the mountain but as soon as we started hiking back down my toes were repeatedly being forced against the inside tip of my hiking shoes. It quickly became very painful. I tried to turn sideways while descending the steep parts as much as possible to take the pressure off my toes, but you just can't do that the whole way down. My toes hurt for days afterward and I still have a few blood blisters under some of my toenails from it three weeks later. My hiking shoes are made by Merrell so I thought they were decent. I've worn them previously on about six shorter/easier hikes. Is there something I can put inside the toe area to cushion my toes when hiking downhill? Or should I just wear softer sneakers instead of hiking shoes?

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Aug 23, 2021
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by: Diane

Before you throw away or trade your Merrells, consider that it may be a lacing issue.

If your heel slips, your toes will bump. My boot lacing strategies might help: https://www.hiking-for-her.com/lacing-hiking-boots.html

Other things to try: go up a half size, or try a brand with a wider toe box. Go to a boot store and see how that feels, and then ask to walk up/down (especially down) steps in them.

And always consider your socks. Maybe you need to wear 2 pairs, liners plus non-slippery outer socks. Already doing that? Make sure the outer socks are grippy with your boot insoles.

Just a few ideas, I know that toe problems are a de-motivator.

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About the author

Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.

She's been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for 5+ decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.

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