/ Big toe nails destroyed in winter boots

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
StuartCJones - on 28 Dec 2012
I bought some Scarpa Cumbre boots (at a bargain price) for winter climbing, they fit and feel fine on short routes but when I go for a longer trek they destroy my big toe nails on both feet (blood blisters beneath the nails guaranteed).

Does anyone have any advice? Do I need bigger boots?
xplorer on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to StuartCJones:

Go for one euro size bigger???
GarethSL on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to StuartCJones: I had blue toes for an entire year after my first full season on ice (long steep ice, big walk ins), which I thought was strange cause I felt absolutely no pain or discomfort and my boots fit perfectly. Yet only now has the blood grown out. Also did that thing with the paperclip and candle... never again.

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.
Andrew Wilson - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to StuartCJones:
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?
highclimber - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to StuartCJones: Try: Keep em short (nails), go half or a full size bigger in your boots, try different lacing techniques

not necessarily in that order!
dek - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to StuartCJones:
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!!
alasdair19 on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to StuartCJones: you need bigger boots if your size 46 sell them to me...

Possible that your foot is not being held back in the boot by the laces,

thinner socks? less significant insoles?
Hay - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to StuartCJones:
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.
In reply to StuartCJones: Get the size that fits!! That isn't meant to be rude, but there is so much variety in foot shape, boot height and widhth and shape, room, between and within manufacturers that one's "usual size" is pretty meaningless. Your feet swell as you exercise in boots - don't go in first thing in the morning to try them on in a shop - go the other extreme and try boots on after several walking.
StuartCJones - on 28 Dec 2012
Thanks... I'm gonna try it all, starting with the cheapest first.

Alasdair, sorry mate, they're a 42.

Ron Walker - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to StuartCJones:

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.
grabbincracks on 05 Jan 2013 -
I have had this happen before, had to cut my losses on the boots and buy a bigger size, problem went away. Not a cheap solution, but the only solution in my eyes. If your feet hurt it is miserable...
matthew - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: If the boots seem to have enough room, the problem may be your feet moving around inside them. Many mountain boots are difficult to lace securely on a slim foot, meaning the foot will slide around and hit the toe of the boot. In that case a bigger boot is not the answer. Experimenting with things like extra insoles, arch supports, tongue depressors, lacing and socks to get a better fit around the mid-foot and heel may help. Consult a good boot fitter, if you can find one. Also worth checking whether it is your feet swelling on longer walks. Either way, wearing trainers for part of the day and carrying the boots in your rucksack can give you some relief.
Paul Troon - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:I got this from some running shoes this year and also the idea of socks being to thick is probably right. i had my boots stretched and now use toe socks

Jerry67 - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: I've had toenail problems for as long as I can remember which made the couple of days after the first day of any trip uncomfortable. I finally decided to have one of them killed off which seems to have worked. Bit extreme, but apparently not uncommon.
Nigel Modern on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: My guess is that your feet may be moving inside the boots...maybe? This rams your toes against the end of the boot when descending. I lost both big toe nails descending from the Argentiere glacier to Les Chosalets.

I have to keep my nails very short and take scissors with me on trips any longer than a few days.
StuartCJones - on 06 Jan 2013
I think you're right about my feel moving about in the boot on decent, it's always the downhill that gets me. I have quite slim/narrow feet.

Does anyone have any recommendation for the best brand of boots for narrow feet?
All the Gear, No Idea on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: Scarpa always seemed narrow to me but,,,you are already using them , next would possibly be salomon,
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
ryan_d - on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: Hi Stuart, i have long narrow feet with a narrow heel. Scarpa lately have gone wider with their fittings. I tried their Cristallo B1 boot but had similar, although less severe problems. Salomon are too wide too.

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.

cb294 - on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

Boots too small,

Lion Bakes on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

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!
Cuillin Calling on 19 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

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.
alasdair19 on 19 Jan 2013
In reply to Cuillin Calling: fit and size is demo an issue. I wore boots with an unknown to me extra insole and lost toe nails after one day. I now kick walls while trying on boots. If your in the peak go to outside. The best boot fitters I've talked to.
john 284 - on 19 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

keep your nails short and your boots slightly big
John Stainforth - on 19 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

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!
alasdair19 on 19 Jan 2013
In reply to John Stainforth: modern boot are definitly designed not to need breaking in... I had a couple of folk hiring nepal extrems, day 1 warm up in northern corries, day 2 ben nevis, day 3 cairngorm. No blisters and lots of smiles.

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.
Cuillin Calling on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to alasdair19:

thanks alasdair, i'll look into that and poss getting some insoles fitted.
dizzyg - on 20 Jan 2013
It`s all in the lacing of your boots , when you put your boots on tighten the lower laces first then lean forward against the tongue so your heels go to the back of your boot, tighten the laces around the ankle and repeat then tighten the top lace hooks, this shoukd keep your toes from hitting the end of your boots,also just wear one pair of good thermal socks if you can`t wiggle your toes i`d say your boots are to small and you`ll have to get a larger size and then your bargain boots are not so much of a bargain , best of luck .
coldwill - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: I tried it all reference boot fit and had to go up a half size. I would only get toe problems if the laces got loose whilst climbing and on descents. For my 45 ish feet I need to be able to get my index finger down the back between my heel and boot comfortably with my toes touching at the front. I use a spare Nepal evo removable tongue to take out excess volume for my skinny feet as well. There's pretty much no way to stop your feet moving about, if you weigh 80 kg walking down hill your feet are going to move in your boots. It's something like 3.3mm in length for a half euro size so there pretty precise. Also I remember that Cumbres were quite high volume in the bigger sizes which won't help you.
StuartCJones - on 20 Jan 2013
I tried out some La Sportiva Nepals one half size bigger this weekend and they felt like heaven, no bruised nails, no big blisters.

Anyone wanna buy some size 41 Cumbres?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.