Heel Pain in Mountaineering Boots


My Raichle All-Degree Lite Mountaineering boots have been causing me pain from my prominent heel bone pressing hard against the back of the boot when I’m ascending a steep slope. I tried padding around the bony bump with mole skin/foam (tried a donut shape and a strip above the bump like a heel grip), but that gives me terrible blisters, and slip off within an hour from sweat (i have very sweaty feet). I’m heading to Rainier in a week and a half! These boots did not give me trouble at first but now that the trip is looming closer they’re killing me. No time to break in another pair– help!

Joy, NYC

Mt. Rainier
Mt. Rainier, photo from NPS

Hi Joy,

Thanks for the question – I’m so sorry to hear that your boots are causing you problems right before your trip!

Personally, I would try to quickly break in another pair of mountaineering boots, but since it doesn’t sound like that is an option, here are some suggestions:

  • Secure the moleskin well, so it doesn’t slip off. Use duct tape to attach the moleskin donut to your heel. That should help prevent it from slipping off due to sweaty feet.
  • What insoles are you using? If you’ve changed them recently, it could be the cause of the problem. A different pair also could help the problem because it could raise or lower your foot (depending on the insole) so that your heel bone isn’t rubbing in the current spot that is causing you all the problems.
  • Prevent sweaty feet. Try to keep your feet dry so that the moleskin doesn’t cause blisters! The last thing you want on Rainier are blisters! Use foot powder, toe sock liners, and SmartWool socks (I’ve found them to be the best).
  • Wear thicker socks. The extra cushioning from a mountaineering sock could help the problem a little bit.
  • Tape moleskin to your boot. If moleskin still slips off your heel despite the duct tape, try taping moleskin to your boot, rather than your foot.

Good luck, and be safe at Rainier!

Happy trails!
Hiking Lady

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  1. Cobb Stacey says:

    Mushroom season is coming soon to my area. I broke my navicular bone in my foot in December & after my cast came off I have pulled the ligament that attaches to my achellis tendon. I have a painful bump on my heel and would like to know the best boots to invest in? I need very little discomfort while hunting.

  2. Hiking Lady says:

    Hey Just Kidding! Great question. Have you tried this boot lacing technique? It will keep your heels in place and give your toes room so they don’t slide up against the front of the boot. That should alleviate the numbness and pain. If that doesn’t work lemme know!
    Happy trails

  3. Just Kidding says:

    Hello there Hiking Lady…I am leaving in 14 days for a 9-10 day backpack on the PCT beginning in Campo and ending at Hwy 74. My Lowa Renegade hiking boots where purchased last year, broken in a bit and taken on a 6 day to Mt. Whitney. This was my first “big hike” and it was almost difficult to “listen” to my feet because I had nothing to compare it to. I am NOW noticing my toes going numb/ hurting especially descending a trail. Do you have any advice?

    Thank you in advance!
    Just Kidding

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