Preparing for the Hay Walking Festival: Advice from a Reflexologist

Less Pain More Gain in the Brecon Beacons

Lindsey Mundy 

With the Hay Walking Festival taking place this Friday, one of the festival sponsors, ZIMS have kindly given Brecon Beacons Tourism some advice on looking after your feet.  Lindsey Mundy is not only the founder of ZIMS shoes, she’s also a aqualified reflexologist so you can respect her advice.

Hay Bluff is just one of the locations used for the Hay Walking Festival

The Brecon Beacons provide some of the most beautiful walking country in the world.   But, however beautiful the scenery and charming the company, if you have a painful blister the day will be ruined unless you enjoy agonising pain.   It’s really worth taking sensible precautions well in advance of a long hike.

At ZIMS we make and sell shoes and I am also a qualified reflexologist and I can tell you that feet come in sorts of different shapes and sizes and are quite often sadly neglected.   So here are few tips to help to make that walk even more enjoyable –

Before a long hike ……

  • Be kind to your feet – you’ve only got two and they take a lot of pounding.   Condition them – walk around the house in bare feet whenever possible to harden up the soles
  • Getting the right size and shape of walking shoe will save you agonies of blisters.  When you buy a new pair choose carefully and remember to try them on with your usual walking socks.   Any seams or edges of the insole which you notice when you try them on will become a million times worse after a couple of miles walking.   Once you have chosen your new walking beauties, wear them in slowly.  Don’t rush out to do a 20 mile hike – build up your mileage and speed to help prevent new shoe blisters.
  • Wear clean, dry, soft hiking socks with no seams that rub on your feet. A polypropylene sock liner that you replace when your feet get damp helps keep feet dry, free from blisters, and less likely to grow fungus. Don’t wear cotton socks since they just soak up and retain moisture
  • Within reason don’t worry about hard skin building up – these calluses are a walker’s friends and act as a natural pad against the friction which forms blisters.
  • Stick your feet in strong tea twice daily, yes really, for a couple of weeks before a walk to toughen the skin.
  • Moisturise hard cracked heels to prevent painful deep cracks in the skin.
  • Lubricate your feet with Castrol GTX – no not really, try good old Vaseline.  Slather your feet generously and don’t worry about the state your socks will get into.  One recommendation I have heard is to use dubbin to rub onto the soles of your feet to prevent blisters.  But be warned it hasn’t been approved for human use, but after all skin is only living leather!
  • Obvious – but you’d be surprised how many people miss this one… Make sure you keep your toenails trimmed and free from ingrown parts or sharp edges that can irritate skin and wear out expensive hiking socks.

During a hike there are several things you can do to make life easier….

  • Don’t put off removing dirt, grit or debris that gets your boots – do it straight away.
  • During a long walk stop and rest your feet if they feel hot, tired or sore and take off your boots too allow your feet to cool down or dry out at least during a lunch break if not more often.
  • Alter your hiking pace or adjust the tightness of your boots.

The festival reception will be held at the Swan hotel, ticket are still available.

And when you remove your muddy tired old boots and socks – stretch out your toes give your feet a bit of rub and preferably a soak in warm water.  And then treat them to the luxury of a pair of soft comfortable ZIMS.   Settle down to a well-earned drink and meal and feel good inside and out – perfect.    Love your feet because they’re worth it!

For more information on the Hay Walking Festival click here.

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