I tape my heels and the tops of a few toes with Leukotape, a very sticky protective tape, before all of my winter hikes, regardless of the type of boots I wear. Leukotape is much tougher and more durable than the duct tape I used to tape my feet with before I discovered it and will stay on your feet for days, even if you get it wet.
I’ve found that the best time to tape your feet with Leukotape is the night before your hike when your feet are warm and dry (or after they’ve dried and warmed up in your sleeping bag.) The sticky zinc oxide adhesive on Leukotape seems to adhere much better if it’s given time to cure overnight before you start hiking.
Leukotape is a non-latex tape that is very resistant to tearing and wearing through. It’s best used as a preventative over potential hot spots and not something you want to put over an open blister because it will pull off any remaining skin when you remove it. Leukotape is non-elastic so it has no give in it and is very different from kinesiotape, which has some stretch and is used by physical therapists to tape limbs for better alignment or function.
Although Leukotape is very sticky, it ‘s quite easy to pull off by hand. Some people also coat their feet using Benzoin Tincture before applying Leukotape to make their skin even stickier, but I haven’t found that to be necessary and just stick on a piece from the roll.
I find that tape the 1.5″ wide size is fine for taping my heels. I cut small rectangles of Leukotape to cover the tops of my toes below the nail and eliminate any friction against the inside of my boots. I am careful to keep the tape on top of the toes only and not let the tape drape between them to prevent any blisters from forming there. I’ve had the happen before when using tiny band aids to cover blisters on my toes – bad idea.
When cutting Leukotape, it’s important to have very sharp pair of scissors because the tape is tear resistant. Some people round the corners as well to prevent it peeling back when you pull your socks over it. I’m just careful to keep the sock away from the heel when pulling my sock back on, which helps to prevent the ends from curling.
If there’s a lot of friction between the Leukotape and your sock, the adhesive on the tape can bleed through the tape and adhere to the inside of your sock. You can easily remove this adhesive though by wiping off the sock with medical adhesive remover (thanks for this tip, Pam!)
When do you tape your feet before a hike?
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