Painful Toes When Walking Downhill

Q. When walking downhill for a long distance, my toes are forced to the front of my boots, causing them to become sore.

I have tried wearing two pairs of socks and tightening my boots, to no avail.

Any suggestions please?

David Robinson, Huddersfield


A. Since your feet are being allowed to move within the boot under certain conditions (i.e. walking downhill) it sounds like your boots do not fit your feet properly - they may be too big or too small or just the wrong shape.

Get rid of them (or use them for the gardening or washing the car) and buy a pair that fit properly to the shape of your feet.

Go to a shop where they know what they are talking about and be prepared to spend plenty of time trying on lots of different ones until you find the right walking boots that are perfect for your feet.

See Buying New Walking Boots and our Walking Boots Gear Guide for some help and advice.

Hope this helps

Mike (Editor)


A. David, I also had a similar problem with my old boots, and it was that they were too small. I went to Blackburns in Moldgreen (not far for you) and they did an excellent job of fitting me into some good boots.

Time was not an issue to them, they just wanted to sell me some boots that fitted. Go and have a word, maybe even take your existing boots for them to comment on.

Good luck

Chris Chadwick, Huddersfield


A. It seems to me that your boots are too loose around the ankle and possibly a bit too small as well. A well fitting boot should leave an inch of space beyond the toes and should be snug around the ankle. Sometimes leather boots become looser after ten minutes or so of walking - they stretch, so it might be worth retying your boots after the first mile or so.

Sue Roberts, Derby


A. It does sound like your boots are a poor fit however you might consider a semi-orthotic insole before abandoning your boots.

These change the volume of the boot, as well as anchoring the heel and instep better, and may make it possible to get a snugger fit with careful lacing.

As with buying new boots, when buying insoles go to the shop late in the day as your feet swell during the day.

On another tack, you might consider using walking poles to ease the impact on your feet both up hill and down.

Fraser Hale, Ipswich


A. I was told that when fastening my boots to tighten the laces (twist them round each other) at the halfway point - when you come off the rings and go into the hooks. This stops the front of the foot slipping forward. It works for me.

Janet Owen, Abbots Leigh


A. Hello. I work in an outdoor shop in Glenridding and we get lots of sore toes from people coming down from Helvelyn.

The problem is usualy that they are too big, too small, or too high in volume.

If they are too big or too small you will probably have to get new ones.

If the problem is volume then try putting a volume reducer under your footbed to raise your foot in the boot, and/or a tongue depressor in between the laces and the tongue to reduce volume from above.

It may be that your feet are elongating as you put your weight on them, then Superfeet insoles are a brilliant product that can solve all sorts of problems.

Good luck

Andrew Laverick, Glenridding


A. Should wear thin inner socks and thicker second pair, also check your toenails!!

>A little too long and that can hurt!!

Bit drastic to throw the boots just yet!!

D Morritt, Cowes


A. Hi,

To say throw your boots away is rubbish. As we get older our arches drop a little, so try proper insoles. I will never go out in the hills without my Superfeet insoles. Also when tying your laces make sure your heels are firmly pushed back in the boot.

Mike Graves, Stretford


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