Bunions Be Gone: Buying the Right Hiking Boots

March 10, 2014

Approximately 5 million people in the U.S. have a bunion on one or both feet. Located at the base of the big toe on the side of the foot, this bony protrusion is often at particular risk for blisters. Here’s what you can do about it: 

  • Purchase sufficiently wide hiking boots. They should not feel uncomfortably tight or painfully constrictive across the bunion and forefoot. 
  • Some women may want to consider men’s styles, which are typically wider. Note that there is a size-and-a-half difference between the two (a women’s 8.5 is a men’s 7, for example). 
  • Opt for all-leather boots, which will stretch over time to better match the shape of your feet. Accelerate the process by applying a leather conditioner to the desired area. 
  • Ask your local shoe professional to stretch out a “pocket” in the leather to accommodate the bunion. Many specialty stores have a rubbing bar on hand for this task, which takes roughly 5 to 10 minutes and can often be done while you wait.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.