You Are Never Too Old to Hike.
There are numerous ways to explore a country, but none as intimate and personal as taking the time to enjoy your vacation destination on foot. Every year more hiking trails are created by state and national parks, hiking clubs, and country tourism boards. More hiking possibilities are added all the time by tour operators, cruise ships and trekking companies, and even vineyards, hotels, and spas. What is great about hiking, is it available in urban parks and forests or rugged wilderness, usually at little or no cots.
The one piece of gear that needs your ultimate attention for a comfortable hike is your feet.
Here are some Hiking Helpers from Jetsetters Magazine and www.Jetsettersblog.com/blog
While tracking white rhino at White Elephant Lodge in Kwa-Zulu Natal, my game guide, Adrian, pointed to prints in the dust, and declared, “Maasi tracks.” This is Zulu country, far from the Serengeti so I was baffled until I realized he was pointing to my Maasi Barefoot Technology (MBT) footwear prints. We had a great laugh and I was astonished Adrian knew about MBT.
I have worn my MBT shoes for over 10 years because I have flat feet and the natural built-in arch supports my soles better than any other shoe and relieves my severe pronate propblem. They are the cloest thing to hiking barefoot, just like the Maasi, but puff adder pit vipers kill many shoeless natives in Africa, so I am sticking with MBT. They feel so good I feel like pronking like a springbok.
MBT Men’s Colorado – new for 2017.
But now I have to relegate my old pair of MBTs to fishing shoes because after a decade of trekking, hiking, bushwhacking, and running through airports, they have shown major wear. I had to apply rhino glue to keep the peeling tread together, and rhino tape to keep the heels from ripping apart. I wore those shoes daily for a decade.
Shoe technology has advanced exponentially since my first pair of MBTs; they have gone hi-tech with new materials, fabrics, designs, and tensile strengths, but the MBT still has that wonderful arch . They are a little wobbly before the balance is accustomed because my walking/hiking posture has improved they forces me more uprights, thus less strain on my ankles, legs, and hips. If you have foot problems it takes a few days to notice the difference because you have forgotten proper walking and hiking posture.
I am recovering from a bunion operation that wasn’t successful, as most aren’t, so I was developing hammer toe, thus squeezing other toes out of kilter, pinching them, causing calluses. Separator gels didn’t work, so I was looking forward to my new pair of MBT Colorado 17, one of many new designs for 2017.
I picked the Colorado 17 because it is billed as a lightweight outdoor fitness walking shoe designed to increase an active lifestyle and aid in recovery.
Designed on a neutral platform, the Colorado 17 utilizess MBT’s patented SensorTechnology, which is a material of soft PU compound located between the midsole and outsole that creates the specific functionality of the MBT sole.
This PU component makes for a soft heel landing that propels the foot to a smooth toe-off – that famous Maasi barefoot feeling. The midsole also offers Pivot Axis, which creates a stable mid-foot surface as the shoes dynamic rocker propels me toward a mid-foot strike. The gentle rocker of the Colorado 17 helps with a smooth transition through the gait cycle.
This model additionally utilizes a synthetic upper that provides foot comfort and breathability. Minimal seams and overlays help prevent blisters and chafing.
MBT Colrado Black 0 Orange 2017.
After three days of moderate in town walking my pronate problem was lessening because this model’s rocker outsole and SensorTechnology moved me efficiently in comfort. My plantar facilitis problem which was caused by the bunion AND Pronate problem was also lessening in intensity and wasn’t as hard so I am hoping it will eventually fade away.
The Colorado 17 and other new models are available at www.mbt.com
MBT shoes are great on their own, but what to do when switching to dress shoes or boots? Everyone is either Pronate or Supernate to a certain degree. I tend to walk on the edges on my insoles thus twisting the angle out of sync, twisting the muscles and toes. Supernate hikers tend to walk on the outer edge of the foot.
A Canadian manufacture has developed two different type of inserted insoles, their only two products but they are all you “Kneed” for foot comfort with your other shoes. I found that the gel inserts purchased in drugstores are of poor quality and can actually damage the feet. Kneed’s two models are the Kneed2Be, which is a 3/4 length insert, and the full length Kneed2Run, which only come is full sizes, no half sizes.
Kneed2B 3/4 length.
You perform best when your shoes fit perfectly and feel comfortable. I don’t run much at my age, except to catch a plane at the airport, so I found the perfect fit and comfort with the Kneed2Be. One problem with a Pronate foot is that the inside heel sucks up with each step, causing chaffing and wearing out the heel material. The Kneed2Be solved this problem for me. I use the Kneed2Run model in my Blundstone boots from Australia, which has given new meaning and life to these exceptional boots.
Kneed relieves the symptoms of Plantar Facilitis, which I have, due to the bunion, but also the insoles bring comfort from Tibialis Posterior Tendonitis, Metatarsalgia, and Morton’s Neuroma. These all can be expensive orthopedic surgeon surgeries, but try Kneed first because of these features:
Heel Cradle – Kneed optimizes the heel’s natural cushioning without heel slippage.
Adaptable Arch Support, –Kneed’s biomechanically shaped moldable base ensures support from the heel to the ball of the foot.
Flexible – Kneed naturally flexes with the foot and maintains its shape where the support is needed.
Poron – A Kneed trademarked design, ensuring performance cushioning for impact absorption . Designed to be the same thickness as the sock layer that you are replacing.
I may swear at my feet at times, but I swear by Kneed, which only sells through its distribution channels.
Kneed2Run 0 full length.
For more info on where to purchase Kneed go to www.KneedFootwear.com
Here’s the link to their video:
From Kneed’s website: http://kneedfootwear.com/why-kneed-video.html
CEP Sportswear from MediUSA
The German company MediUSA distributes its products in the U.S. through CEP marketing. The company produces no insoles but has created a unique foot healthy line of products that I jumped on. Because of my Plantar Fascilitis problem the Medi Plantar Facilitis Sleeve was a natural and comfortable fit that slipped over my foot while still exposing my toes with angle cut of the material. These are compression products which you will never find on an airline to stave away thrombosis. The sleeve relieves pain and discomfort in the sole and heel due to over-exertion. The targeted compression supports the arch and relieves the plantar facilitis. (See photo left.)
The compression material is an innovative combination of knitted massage zone and Medi compression that promotes circulation in the areas prone to over-exertion. The superior comfort is from the sleeve’s breathable anatomical design fabric. The product is packaged as a pair of sleeves which are interchangeable to either foot. Hey, I eve wear them to bed. Although the sleeves were originally designed for athletes, I claim that hiking and walking are athletic endeavors.
Medi has been in business since 1951 and also makes a wonderful full sleeve, closed toe, Achilles Support Sleeve has the same compression material, as are all of their products. Marathon runners have discovered the Achilles support. Achilles tendon issues are especially evident as we grow older. The SmartMemory foam in the padded foot support absorbs running impact and takes pressure off the Achilles tendon. The breathable fabric is self wicking, keeping the feet dry. (pee Photo, right.)
The Medi Knee Brace was phenomenal for me because I believe it helped straighten out my gait from my Pronate problem, even though it was designed for knee pain and knee injuries. Foot problems affect all aspects of the legs. The knee brace reduces swell and inflammation, which older hikers encounter. I recommend the knee brace after the hike. The brace acts as a self stabilization sock producing a deep tissue massage. The highly flexible SmartSilicone Patella Ring stabilizes and relieves the knee cap. The knee brace stays in place due to it ergonomic design with extra-soft area behind the knee with comfortable anti-slip bending. Again the material is self wicking , breathable, with antibacterial odor reducing effects. (See photo, below.)
This next product is definitely for runners and other athletes. The Patellar Tendon Strap is cinched right below the knee. The unique cross strap technology is strapped on from the back to the front then pull one end through the opposing hole which then applies pressure to the patellar tendon. Adjust the Velcro fasteners to your comfort level, but do not cut off circulation. The back of the strap should rest on the lower section of the bend in the knee in the back. Cut off excess strap. The strap reduces pain from Pateller Tendonitis, Osgood-Schlatter, and Chondromalacia. One size fits most people Keep the strap on when running or performing other sports activities or if you have any of these symptoms.
About The Nurse
On long haul flights the airlines give passengers a ditty bag that includes compression socks to avoid thrombosis on those marathon journeys, but the socks are not of high quality with doubtful benefits.
Some professionals stand on their feet all day, such as nurses, and who better to design a better compression sock than About The Nurse, based in California. These wildly colorful socks are fun to wear with several styles for men and women.
The Ellipsis SportsEdge Stockings are great for performance runners, hiking, sports, and other athletic endeavors. With the sizing chart on the company’s website the socks are easy to measure and fit. All the socks are 75% nylon and 25% spandex, with a seamless construction medical grade antibacterial fabric. SportsEdge stockings come in calf or knee high, or ankle lengths. The company also make what appears to be a bootie sock and even arm sleeves from the same material. (Photo, right, SportsEdge calf length sock.)
About the Nurse, or ATN, also manufactures thigh high hosiery for both men and women. So next time you see me walking through an airplane cabin in my Confetti ATN socks with a smile on my face, you will know my compression socks are better than yours.
ATN offers Jetsetters Magazine readers a 20% off discount code: LOVEYOURLEGS.
Hiking and Walking Resources
Lonely Planet National Park Hiking e-books
A growing trend is seeing fitness fiends trade their runners for hiking boots and head out into the wilderness to experience nature at its finest. Before embarking on any hike, it’s important to research and plan out the details of your trip carefully. Reference guide books, local visitors centers and forest rangers to find out the level of difficulty, the best time of day to hike, how to get to the trailhead, how much water you should bring and proper attire. LonelyPlanet publishes e-books for hiking in USA National Parks. www.LonelyPlanet.com The US Forest Service publishes inexpensive or free hiking trail maps, check with a local ranger station. Many tourism boards offer free hiking programs or can link you to guides or tour operators.
Google added a neat feature for cyclists in Google Maps in 2014. Whenever you asked for directions from point A to point B, Maps would also provide a little map with an estimated elevation for each part of the route. Now the same is true for walking and hiking directions. For each set of directions, you’ll get a little interactive map that shows you elevation changes and the overall climb and descent of the route.
The neat little feature could be a life-saver for people with mobility issues, who can now choose alternative routes to avoid steep climbs. It’s also very useful to hikers who can now plan for tougher/easier routes depending on their fitness and skill level.
By Carlos Casteneda
Before leaving the trailhead, all hikers should include a warm up period. If you are a flower child from the 60s you probably have read the psychological tomes by Carlos Casteneda. But few readers realize he also wrote, with photos, a great book about exercising that goes beyond yoga. The exercises from “The Eagle’s Gift.” can be done anywhere, no equipment required.
Hiking Tours and Adventures
Here are a just a few of the dedicated hiking companies that operate specialized tours regionally, nationally, or internationally:
Austin Adventures – www.AustinAdventures.com
Adventure Women, Inc. – www.adventurewomen.com
Backroads Hiking and Biking Tours – www.Backroads.com
Boundless Journeys – www.boundlessjourneys.com
Mountain Hiking Holidays – www.mountainhikingholidays.com
Rogue Wilderness Adventures – www.wildrogue.com
Wilderness Travel – www.WildernessTravel.com
Canadian Mountain Holidays – www.canadianmountainholidays.com
The Great Canadian Travel Company – www.greatcanadiantravel.com
Headwater – ww.headwater.com
Heli-Hiking with Kaluma Travel – www.kalumatravel.co.uk
Hedonistic Hiking Gourmet Hikes – www.hedonistichiking.com.au
HF Holidays – www.hfholidays.co.uk
Ireland Ways – www.IrelandWays.com
Ramblers Worldwide Holidays Travel – www.rwhtravel.com
The Blue Walk – www.thebluewalk.com
UTracks – www.utracks.com
Wilderness Scotland – www.WildernessScotland.com
Hut to Hut and Mountain Lodges
Mountain Lodges of Peru – www.mountainlodgesofperu.com
Swiss Haute Route – Hut to Hut System – http://haute-route.com
Colorado San Juan Hut System – www.sanjuanhuts.com/mtb/durango-moab
Teton Wilderness Hut System – http://tetonbackcountryguides.com
The Alpine Club of Canada – www.alpineclubofcanada.ca
Sun Valley Trekking – www.svtrek.com
10th Mountain Division Huts – www.huts.org/availability.html.php
Adirondack Mountain Club huts – www.adk.org
Xanterra National Parks Resorts – www.xanterra.com
U.S. Forest Service – You can make advanced reservations for many forest facilities. These include cabins, camp sites, picnic sites, and lookout towers.
Most U.S. state parks and Canadian Provinces also offer lodge and hut rentals. For more adventure hiking and walking ideas and tours visit www.Jetsettersblog.com/blog and in the search box type in hike, hiking, walking or trekking.
The DreamPad Pillow
At the day after a rigorous hike through the forest and mountains a good night’s sleep is required to recharge your body batteries. I have found that the DreamPad Pillow provides the best loft and comfort than any other pillow.
Refine your rest with a clinically proven, therapeutic smart pillow
Can’t sleep? You’re not alone! While we all know how crucial a lack of shuteye can be, it’s definitely easier said than done. Luckily, Dreampad – the clinically proven, technology-based smart pillow – is here to help you combat sleep problems big and small! Designed to reduce stress and improve your sleep, this therapeutic pillow will make sure you hit the hay feeling well rested and ready to take on the next morning.
Discover the different features of Dreampad:
- Eight different soundscape options, or you can program your own music
- Dreampad FREE music app includes timer, alarm, and range of settings for listening
- Dreampad’s Intrasound Technology™ helps body and mind relax
- Supported by peer-reviewed research
- Safely demonstrated by 4+ years in hundreds of clinics, including pediatric hospitals of Duke, Stanford, and Harvard
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Prices ranging from $149-$179
- Available in Bluetooth, iOS/Android, or MP3 Player
More than just a pillow, each unique Dreampad serves as a cue for your body to relax, converting specially-treated music into serene vibrations only you can hear. Helping to regulate anxiety and stress, this healthy headrest brings you down to a tranquil state of rest and relaxation!
Available in Memory Support, Firm Support, Medium Support, and Slim Support, there is a Dreampad for every sleep style. To learn more about the Dreampad, visit https://dreampadsleep.com.
These are just a few hiking helpers to keep you active throughout life. There are of course other aspects to consider before hitting the trail, such as obesity, arthritis, and diabetes, which should be monitored by your health professionals. I still am in fair shape, but more men now enjoy the benefits of a spa vacation. What better way to relax and get into shape than with a hiking spa such as the New Life Hiking Spa in Vermont. www.NewLifeHikingSpa.com
I hope to see you on the trail.
– Feature by Kriss Hammond, Jetsetters Magazine editor.