How To Keep Your Feet Dry When Hiking (5 Expert Tips)

No one likes wet feet. Unfortunately, hiking can often lead to wet feet, especially if you’re not prepared.

I’ll show you how to keep your feet dry when hiking to enjoy your hike without having to worry about your feet getting wet.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be good to go.

Why is it important to keep your feet dry when hiking?

There’s a reason why hikers are always told to keep their feet dry.

  • Blisters: When your feet are wet, they’re more likely to rub against your shoes and socks, leading to blisters. Blisters are painful and can make it difficult to continue hiking. In extreme cases, blisters can even pop and become infected.
  • Athlete’s foot: This fungal infection thrives in warm, moist environments. You’ll know if you have an athlete’s foot because your feet will itch and burn.
  • Hypothermia: This is a serious condition that can occur when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it. When your feet are wet, they lose heat much faster, putting you at risk for hypothermia.
  • Trench foot: This is a serious condition that can occur when your feet are exposed to wet, cold conditions. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, and pain. In severe cases, trench foot can lead to tissue death.
  • Circulation: If you have diabetes or another condition that affects your circulation, wet feet can also increase your risk of developing foot problems.

That’s why it’s so important to keep your feet dry when hiking.

By keeping your feet dry, you can avoid blisters and other foot problems.

Plus, it’ll just make your hike more comfortable overall.

How to keep feet dry hiking?

You’re thinking: “Hiking is outdoorsy – nature is supposed to be wet! Deal with it!” 

But trust me, keeping your hiking boots dry should be one of your top priorities on any hike – especially if the weather might turn bad (or if there’s even a remote chance of rain).

After all, there’s nothing worse than having wet feet on a long hike – you’ll be miserable, and your hike will probably be cut short.

Here are some tips to keep your feet dry when hiking.

1. Waterproof your boots

This is an obvious one, but it’s worth repeating.

If your hiking boots aren’t waterproof, they’re not going to do much to keep your feet dry.

There are a few different ways to waterproof your hiking boots:

  • Use a waterproofing spray: This is the easiest and most popular way to waterproof your boots. Spray your boots with a waterproofing spray before hiking, and you’re good to go.
  • Use wax: Another popular option is to use wax to waterproof your boots. This is a bit more of a hassle than using a spray, but it’s effective.
  • Use silicon: This is another option for waterproofing your boots. You can usually find silicone in a shoe store or department store.

2. Wear good socks

Wearing the right socks can make a big difference in keeping your feet dry.

There are a few things to look for when choosing socks for hiking:

  • Wicking material: Look for socks made of wicking material, such as polyester or wool. These materials will help keep your feet dry by pulling moisture away from your skin.
  • Cushioning: Cushioning is important in any sock, but it’s especially important in hiking socks. That’s because cushioning will help to protect your feet from the impact of walking on uneven terrain.

3. Dry your boots

Drying your boots is important for two reasons:

  • To prevent your feet from getting wet: If your boots are wet, they’re not going to do much to keep your feet dry.
  • To prevent your boots from getting damaged: If you hike in wet boots, they can start to break down and fall apart.

That’s why it’s important to dry your boots whenever you can.

The best way to dry your boots is to stuff them with newspaper.

You can also use a boot dryer, but these can be expensive, and they’re not always effective.

If you don’t have a newspaper or a boot dryer, you can also try using a hairdryer.

Just be careful not to hold it too close to your boots, or you might damage them.

Tip: Read my other blog article on how to dry hiking boots. Just click on the link.

4. Look after your boots

Look after your hiking boots, and they will look after you.

That means keeping them clean and dry and ensuring they’re in good repair.

If your boots are old and worn out, they’re not going to do a very good job of keeping your feet dry.

It’s also important to clean your boots after each hike.

If you don’t, the dirt and debris will wear down the waterproofing and make it harder for your boots to keep your feet dry.

To clean your boots, brush them with a soft brush and then wipe them down with a damp cloth.

After cleaning, let your boots air dry.

Avoid putting them near a heat source, which can damage the waterproofing.

5. Air your feet out

This may sound strange, but it’s important to air your feet out whenever you can.

If your feet are constantly enclosed in wet socks and boots, they will get sweaty and uncomfortable.

That’s why it’s important to take a break now and then to let your feet air out.

Take your boots and socks off and let your feet breathe for a few minutes.

I like to hang them on my hiking poles to speed up the process.

If you can’t take your boots off, loosen the laces and allow some air to circulate.

How to keep your feet dry in rain or snow?

Wet feet can ruin a hike faster than you might think.

I’ll give you some tips on keeping your feet dry in the rain or snow.

Wear gaiters

Gaiters are a great way to keep your feet dry, especially hiking in the snow.

Gaiters are a piece of fabric that covers your boot and leg, and they’re very effective at keeping water and snow out.

There are a few different gaiters, but the most popular type is the full-length gaiter.

These gaiters come up to your knee and provide the most coverage.

If you’re only going to buy one type of gaiter, this is the one to get.

Another option is the mid-length gaiter.

These gaiters come up to your calf and provide good coverage, but they’re not as effective as full-length gaiters.

They’re also not as comfortable to wear for long periods.

Finally, there are short gaiters.

Short gaiters only come up to your ankle, and they’re not very effective at keeping your feet dry.

They’re also not very comfortable.

I don’t recommend short gaiters unless you’re only going to be hiking for a short time.

Use plastic bags

It looks a bit silly, but trust me, it works.

Put plastic bags over your socks if you’re hiking in the rain and don’t have gaiters.

This will keep your feet dry for a while, although it’s not as effective as gaiters.

You can also put plastic bags over your boots, but this is more difficult and not as effective.

If you’re hiking in the snow, you can put plastic bags over your boots and then your gaiters over the top.

This will keep your feet dry for a long time.

Permanent solutions

If you want a more permanent solution, you can buy waterproof socks.

There are a few different brands of waterproof socks, but I like SealSkinz the best.

These socks are made from a waterproof and breathable material, and they’re great for keeping your feet dry.

Although they’re not as comfortable as regular socks, they’re also fairly comfortable.

You can also buy waterproof boot covers.

These are basically like giant plastic bags that you put over your boots.

They work well, but they’re bulky and difficult to carry around.

If you want the ultimate foot protection, you can buy waterproof boots.

There are a few different brands of waterproof boots, but I like Gore-Tex the best.

Gore-Tex is a waterproof and breathable material, and it’s great for keeping your feet dry.

The downside of Gore-Tex is that it’s expensive, and it’s not as comfortable as regular boots.

How to keep your feet dry when crossing a river?

If you’re planning on hiking any trails that involve crossing a river, it’s important to know how to keep your feet dry.

Wear river crossing shoes

River crossing shoes are specifically designed for crossing rivers.

They’re made from a waterproof and breathable material. They have a special sole that provides good traction on slippery rocks.

I like to wear river crossing shoes when I know I’ll be crossing a river, and I always keep them in my pack just in case.

Wear waders

Waders are waterproof clothing that you wear over your regular clothes.

Anglers usually use them, but they’re also great for crossing rivers.

Waders are made from a waterproof and breathable material, and they provide good coverage from the waist down.

Avoid walking barefoot

Under no circumstances should you ever walk barefoot across a river.

It is dangerous, but you’re also more likely to get cuts and scrapes on your feet.

If you don’t have any other option, make sure you’re wearing shoes with good traction.

What are the best hiking boots to keep your feet dry?

Are you looking for a new pair of hiking boots?

If so, it’s important to choose the right one that will keep your feet dry.

Here are some of the best hiking boots to keep your feet dry: 

  1. La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX 
  2. Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX 
  3. Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof 
  4. Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof 
  5. Danner Dry waterproof hiking boots 
  6. Vasque Breeze III GTX

Tip: I explain what you should look for when buying new hiking boots in my complete buying guide. Just follow the link to open the article.

Accept that your feet will get wet

The best way to keep your feet dry is to accept that they will get wet.

If you’re hiking in the rain, your feet will get wet.

There’s no way around it.

The same goes for hiking in the snow.

Your feet are going to get wet no matter what you do.

The best way to deal with wet feet is to accept them and move on.

Don’t let wet feet ruin your hike.

Keep your head up, keep moving forward, and enjoy the scenery.

Wet feet are a part of hiking, and they’re not going to stop you from having a great time.

Tip: You can minimize blisters and other problems caused by wet hiking boots if you break in your hiking boots properly. I’ll explain how to do that in my instructions.

I hope these tips help you keep your feet dry on your next hike.

Happy hiking!

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Hi, I'm Dave. I'm an avid outdoors and sports enthusiast who loves to share my passion with others. I publish the experiences I've gained over the years on Outdoormeta to give beginners helpful tips and bring people closer to the outdoors.

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