/ Big toe nails destroyed in winter boots
Does anyone have any advice? Do I need bigger boots?
Go for one euro size bigger???
At first I thought it was a boot size issue, but now I've started to lace slightly differently, with more slack on the top of the foot and a little tighter around the ankles, means I have a little more toe wiggle room but still good support on the ankles. Never had a problem with cold feet.
This happened to me last year. I wear freneys and had done so without a problem for over a year until I decided to try a second thick pair of socks instead of thin liners and one thick pair.
We climbed a long route on Ben Nevis and even as we climbed my feet started to feel numb. I put this down to simply cold but when we were at the top I was hobbled. The descent down the red burn was agony and once at the half way Lochan I stopped and took my boots off. Both big toe nail beds had swollen very badly and looked like they were going to burst down the side. The nails were going black underneath also. I put the boots back on with only one pair of socks and it was comparative bliss for the rest of the walk down.
Subsequently both nails fell off very slowly over a period of months and caused me a great deal of pain whilst wearing rock shoes this summer, even now.
I would say my problem was caused by the toes being squashed by the extra sock. Can you reduce your sock thickness to fit your boots? Cumbres are pretty warm aren't they?
not necessarily in that order!
I get that with toes ramming the boot end whilst going down hill.
Figure out an unrestricted sock system, but meanwhile try the latex/gel toe sleeve, you can buy one in Morrisons for less than £2....Bliss!!
Possible that your foot is not being held back in the boot by the laces,
thinner socks? less significant insoles?
Stuart, take your insoles out and stand on them. If there is less than a fingers width between the end of your toes and the end of the insole then likely to be a bit wee.
If there is a decent gap then perhaps your feet are too low-volume and are sliding forward on the way downhill. You could try a tongue depressor to hold your foot back and in place. A bit of old karrimat will do the job.
Alasdair, sorry mate, they're a 42.
Normally no problem with my Scarpa Freney boots, until last year when I left the laces a bit looser around my arch, before an ice climb.
This bruised my toes badly and it took several months for my toes to feel normal again. I now make sure I tighten the laces around the mid-foot, before climbing and going downhill.
As another poster mentioned, thick socks often lead to foot problems and surprisingly, to cold feet due to constriction. I wear just a single pair of Alpkit wool mix trekking socks summer and winter, rather than heavy thick wool socks.
You could also try an arch supporting footbed as this shortens your foot and holds it in place better.
I have to keep my nails very short and take scissors with me on trips any longer than a few days.
Does anyone have any recommendation for the best brand of boots for narrow feet?
I have used at least 5 different brands of winter boots alone.
Footbeds are a good investment, go to a good shop with good fitting standards, sometimes ski shops are very good at this, especially if they sell walking boots aswell.
the problem does sound like a volume issue rather than a size issue, it may seem obvious but when you find the solution it will feel "right",
some insoles are good for reducing boot volume, I use the Scarpa red insoles (very very similar to superfeet green but 1/3 the cost) but these are for a different reason(I have small heels and they stopped a lot of slop in the rear which helped cause blisters),
stuffing a bit of old rollmat behind the tongue (as mentioned) could help keep your foot back
cheap solutions,,,,no need for new boots imho
I've found that Asolo or La Sportiva are the best fit for narrow feet, and would start their.
I'll chat to you aboutit tomorrow. Can let you have a look at my boots too if need be.
Boots too small,
I get this with alpine ski boots. Takes a year to grow out, and then happens again. Problem is that my feet are about a full size different. So the size I go for is always a compromise. It is always the larger foot that gets blackened!
I'm glad someone brought this subject up as I've been having the same problem for the past few years. One or the other of my big toes would get bruised under the toenail, gradually die back and it would take nearly a year for it to regrow. I'd always put it down to kicking in hard when front pointing as it only comes on when ice climbing and not when walking. Came to the conclusion my La Sportiva Nepal Extreme boots were too small and replaced them before this winter season with a size bigger. Unluckily after the first ice climb of this year my right big toe got bruised again - darn it!! I'm going to try some of your advice re lacing, cutting toenails per climbing and gel caps and will feedback later in the season if it works.
I did wonder if it had anything to the vertical front points on my Grivel Rambo junior crampons but its probably more small boots and my front pointing technique.
keep your nails short and your boots slightly big
You have my sympathies. Getting the perfect fit in climbing (and skiing) boots is very difficult, in my experience. Too big and your feet feel as though they are swimming around, too tight and it's your feet that get broken in more than your boots. My feet got "broken in" between the age of 16 and 18 and have never recovered since, particularly the toe-nails. Modern boots often feel great in the shop, but you can't really judge them until you have been stressing your feet in them for at least eight hours. Fitting is not helped by the manufacturers sizes being inconsistent (almost ridiculously so with rock shoes), and by the fact that most of us have left and right feet that are not quite the same size - half a size difference seems to be common - which makes it difficult to find the compromise.
Having said all that, the best mountain boots I had were a little too tight when I bought them but after they and my feet had been mutually broken in fitted like gloves! Was this "perfect" fit worth the cost in damaged feet? I am not sure!
What I found very frustrating is often when resoled the fit is slightly smaller. After 2 re soles my first boots scarpa matternhorns were unwearable.
thanks alasdair, i'll look into that and poss getting some insoles fitted.
Anyone wanna buy some size 41 Cumbres?
Elsewhere on the site
This Winter Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are... Read more
With four photos in this week's top ten, and a UKC gallery of stunning images we thought it was time we had a chat with... Read more
Perhaps the perfect Xmas gift for the climber in your life... Wild Country's Crack School has two of the worlds best crack... Read more
Rock shoes stink – let’s face it. Boot Bananas are the perfect way to fight the funk and keep them fresh. They help... Read more
Tonight's Friday Night Video features the Norwegian town of Rjukan, once believed to be the home of the world's tallest... Read more
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more