Have you ever had a blister on your foot? I’m not talking about the kind you get from your sandals when you transition to spring footwear. I’m talking about a full on major friction blister, filled with fluid and feeling like fire?

I’d never really had a blister like that until 2008, when I went to Fitness Ridge. I hiked about 3 hours a day, every morning, in daily temperatures of around 24C at the start of the hike, going up to about 36C by the end of the hike. Now, I’m a pretty sweaty person, but the weird thing about me (and I don’t know, maybe everyone) is that when I get really sweaty in the desert, particularly when I’m hiking, my feet still swell up. And they sweat like the dickens.

I think you can see where this is going. I got a blister the size of two joined quarters  on the bottom of my foot one day. Holy hannah, did it ever hurt like fire. I did what “they” tell you not to do (but what every single hiker I’ve ever met does), which is pop the blister with a clean needle and drain the fluid. A dried out blister doesn’t hurt at all, by the way. And the next morning, before my hike, I bought new socks.

ImageYup, those are the original socks. I actually bought two more pairs while I was there, flinching at the $8 a pair price. EIGHT DOLLARS! For socks! I know. Smartwool socks are $18.25 a pair. Why did I buy three pairs? Why did I like these socks so much? Two reasons: 1) they’re two layer socks, which means that the friction that would normally cause a blister rubs against the inner socks; and 2) they’re really light weight, which is great for my (did I already mention this?) really sweaty feet.

Except look at those poor beleaguered socks. That pair is the one in the best shape. I have one that has random threads hanging off the top. I have another that has a dark red streak from sandy rocks from Utah (look at my picture in the web header). They’re sort of misshapen. They’ve been washed over 100 times each pair since 2008, so I’d have to say that I got my $8 worth out of each pair, didn’t I?

Earlier this year, I decided to replace them. First, I went to eBay. I got no love. Then, I went to the website for Wright socks, and they told me that, of all places, the outdoor lifestyle store one kilometre from my house is the only distributor within 200kms of here. I trucked down there and bought a replacement pair. (Cause you know, I go slow with these things.)

Tried em out on the treadmill with my new and sexy (totally not) hiking shoes a couple of months ago. And you know what? They didn’t feel right. They felt really tight. I felt friction. It felt not good.

I’m a little slow on the uptake though. You know what the problem was? The socks are sold by size. I had foot surgery in 2005. At that time, my feet were a 9.5-10. By 2008, they were a solid 9.5W. Now they’re a 9 regular. And the socks are sold up to a size 9, and then size 9.5 and up. In 2008, I bought a larger size.

Back I went to my local store (holla Bushtukah!), but they had only smalls left, and I needed size large. So today, I shlepped my butt out to Kanata, said hi to my mum, and went to the other Bushtukah location and wiped them out of size Large socks.

ImageYeah, I totally spent $50 on six pairs of socks. That’s eight years worth of socks, people! Or, more likely, one camino and four years after that.

May my Camino be blister free. And my workouts too.