Whether you’re constantly aware of your sweaty feet while walking out to your ground blind, or you only notice when you remove your drenched socks back at the camp, sweaty feet while hunting can be detrimental to your hunt.
While excessive sweating may point to a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, your sweaty feet may also be a product of sub-optimal fabrics and materials, such as rubber, in your hunting gear.
Leather and Gore-Tex are better materials to look for because they are more porous and therefore breathable.
It’s particularly important to manage your sweaty feet during winter hunts since damp feet left to their own devices can lead to hypothermia.
This article will offer solutions relating to how you can prevent your feet from sweating in your hunting boots.
Antiperspirants can be an effective first line of defense for clammy feet. Antiperspirant products are often used as a treatment for severe hyperhidrosis in clinical patients.
Hunters can find anti-perspirants at their local pharmacy in stick, gel, and spray formulas. Apply antiperspirants on clean and dry feet, wait a few minutes for the product to dry, and then don your socks and boots.
While all three formulas (stick, gel, and spray) are helpful for sweaty feet while hunting, sprays are generally the most effective for preventing sweating.
Just make sure you use an unscented antiperspirant product.
Here are 3 examples of good unscented antiperspirants to try:
Foot powder is another common and effective treatment against clammy feet. Foot powders are affordable, easy to apply, and can even keep foot odors at bay.
Just like antiperspirant products, apply foot powder to clean and dry feet before donning your socks and boots. But, you don’t have to wait for foot powders to dry, so applications are quicker.
However, it’s important to note two drawbacks of foot powder products:
- Powder residue in your socks and boots can clog the pores of your socks’ and boots’ breathable materials (Gore-Tex, leather, and wool).
- You should be wary of highly scented foot powders, which could alert your target species to your presence while hunting.
While washable materials like socks are easily washed and returned to their breathable state, you can’t just stick your leather boots in the washing machine. Use caution not to over-apply foot powder, and knock out your boots after your hunt to keep the sidewalls from clogging with powder.
If foot powder is the magic solution for your sweaty feet while hunting, but you’re worried about possible scent detection, take greater care to hunt the wind. Hunting downwind from your target species can be advantageous regardless, but it’ll also help to hide your scent from your prey.
Wear Quality Merino Wool Liner Socks
Any cold-weather game hunter worth their salt owns a few pairs of Merino wool socks. Merino wool’s moisture wicking capability is outstanding for hunting, especially for hunters who have to take a long trek to reach their stand or blind.
They wick moisture away from the feet and preferably into a breathable boot material (leather or Gore-Tex). But, they may not provide the warmth needed for ultra-cold hunts. Luckily, they also work effectively when covered by another pair of wool socks.
Adding another pair of wool socks can help prevent friction while walking, leading to more foot comfort (bye-bye, blisters) and quieter footfalls.
Use Shoe Inserts and Maintain Clean Feet Before Putting Boots On
Shoe inserts can be found at the drugstore or prescribed by a podiatrist. While the latter can help with flat arches and insteps as well as sweaty feet and odor prevention, store-bought shoe
inserts are an excellent tool in any sweaty-footed hunter’s arsenal.
But, your inserts are only as good as the feet you’re sticking inside your boot. If your feet are already dirty and sweaty while you’re donning your hunting footwear, the inserts will simply absorb those odors and sweat. Ensuring that you have clean feet before putting on your socks and boots is half the battle of conquering sweaty feet while hunting.
Drastic Measures for Avoiding Sweaty Feet
If none of the above tactics can subdue your sweaty soles, it may be time to take more drastic measures.
Ditch the Rubber Boots
If you swear by rubber boots for hunting, it may be time for a change. While rubber boots are durable and comfortable, they’re not breathable. Save your galoshes for fishing season and replace your hunting boots with a breathable material like Gore-Tex or leather.
Your sweaty feet will thank you.
If you can’t stop sweating in your boots, they could be too small. Trying on boots in person is the best way to determine your correct size. While buying hunting gear from online retailers is fine for non-wearables like binoculars and rangefinders, head to a local hunting outfitter to find your next pair of boots.
Make sure to try on your boots with the pair(s) of socks you would wear on your coldest hunting day. Ensure that there’s wiggle room for your toes by spreading your toes apart and checking for space while standing, sitting, and crouching.
A little extra wiggle room can encourage breathability, a must-have quality for sweaty-footed hunters.
Let Your Boots Breathe
While it might be difficult to do if you’re hunting deer from a ground blind or sitting under a pine tree during spring turkey season, letting your hunting boots air out while you’re in a tree or box stand can provide some temporary relief during a hunt.
But, even if you can’t take off your boots while you wait for action in your stand, make sure that you let your shoes dry entirely before donning them for your next hunt. Retained moisture can lead to odor buildup and decreased breathability.
Don’t Let Sweaty Feet Put a Damper on Your Hunt
Try some of the tips above to conquer your sweaty feet while hunting. A common problem for hunters everywhere, clammy feet can sometimes take experimenting and patience to prevent.
But by trying out sweat prevention products like antiperspirants, foot powder, Merino wool socks, and shoe inserts, you can potentially keep your sweaty soles at bay. If those don’t work, it may be time to replace your boots or add an air-out period to your stand time.
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