Last year at SHOT, I got some pretty nasty blisters on my feet. They were caused by a number of factors, from not changing socks enough to wearing shoes that were not quite a perfect fit. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been looking at blister prevention methods. Keep in mind, I am not a doctor, and apparently, even dermatologists have trouble fully understanding blister prevention.
The first thing to think about, is shoe choice. SHOT may be an indoor event (unless you go to Media Day.) But don’t let that fool you into thinking you’ll be fine I just any footwear. I was wearing well broken in running shoes thinking it would be enough. It was not. I had a small blister on my right foot before I even made it to McCarran Airport. And it just got worse from there. So to prepare for SHOT 2017, I research. Starting with shoes.
Your shoes or boots need to fit properly. This seems obvious enough, but many people don’t know what it actually means when it comes to walking for hours on end. Fit is a combination of three things, really. Snug, comfort, and adjustment. If the shoe seems to fit well except for something, then look for another shoe. Make sure the laces can be tied tighter, or looser. Your feet will swell and shrink depending on weather, hydration and other factors. And speaking of keeping them tied:
The Hiking Lady on YouTube shows how to tie your shoes and boots a little bit differently, that will help lock your heel in the back of the shoe, which prevents slipping, sliding and friction inside the shoe, which will reduce blisters. The method is backed by simple physics, and has been proven effective.
Another preventive method that may come in handy, is taping. I know, I’m not the kind of person to run or walk marathons. It seems a bit extreme. But for SHOT, I will be walking, near constantly, for more than 8 hours a day for five days. So, everything I can take advantage of will help
Taping seems to be a bit of an art, one that trainers and coaches learn over years of experience. I don’t have years. But thanks to YouTube, I can benefit from the experiences of others in order to protect my feet. Here we have a gentleman from RunUltra UK, giving a short lesson on how to prepare your feet for extended use, including taping methods and general advice.
Now, I am preparing for a convention, not a marathon. But to put this in perspective, SHOT 2016 was comprised of over 1600 booths, contained in 12 miles of show floor. This must be navigated and traversed so many times you lose count. And even after the show, you’re in Vegas. Just walking through a casino to get to your hotel room can be a trek. And this goes on for four days, where you have no choice but to soldier on, or you will end up missing something important, needed, or just plain cool.
And this isn’t even considering Media Day at the Range. Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club is not a small place. There are literally hundreds of vendors there, and you cannot simply start at one end and work your way through. There is a lot of walking, over Nevada desert terrain. So if you blister up on Monday, it’s going to be a bad week.
And luckily, all of this translates well into hiking, camping and hunting. The lessons I will be learning at SHOT 2017 are nice safe lessons in a well populated location, with first aid and medical personnel nearby if I need them. Much better to learn in that sort of environment, than 2 days into the woods where there is no cell service.