People venturing out into the cold to hike should be careful not to over-tighten their boots or shoes. Over-tightening can put too much pressure on the small blood vessels on the top of the foot and interfere with the blood supply to the toes. This mistake will make the toes more susceptible to cold temperature injuries such as a nip of frost bite. While it is important to wear warm socks in the winter or even two pairs of socks, they are only effective insulators if the toes have ample room to move around inside the shoe or boot. Overly tight lacing defeats the purpose of the extra insulation and may cause the hiker’s toes to become painful or numb. Laces should keep the foot snugly in the shoe or boot, but need not be cinched too tightly.
by Howard Friedman, DPM and frequent contributor to Trail Walker, print edition. Many of his articles are on our website