I have mentioned getting “hot spots” on my toes while hiking, especially when going downhill. Hot spots are the precursors to blisters, so it’s best to avoid them. Part of the problem is that when going downhill, the foot can slide forward into the toe of the shoe, adding additional pressure. Also, socks can get bunched up, causing problems.
A relatively recent innovation by Vibram, which makes soles for other manufacturers, is the Vibram FiveFingers, their own brand of sneakers, which have articulated toes. Many runners enjoy them, claiming they have offer better grip, balance, opportunity for muscle development, etc. I have never had the opportunity to try the shoes. For hiking, I have mentioned that I am reluctant to try using sneakers, and instead wear boots because I think I need protection on the soles from walking over uneven surfaces and protection on the toes in the event I stub my foot into a rock.
The Vibram FiveFingers were meant to be worn barefoot, which many don’t like. A company called Injinji began making toe socks, and many runners and hikers claim that these socks, whether worn with Vibram FiveFingers or worn with conventional shoes, help the wearer to avoid blisters. I decided to try them, wearing them under a pair of conventional socks, as some suggested. Here are the Injinji socks, before I have put on the regular pair of socks over them.
Unfortunately, I did not find them to be the cure that others have claimed, as I still feel descending hills to be uncomfortable.
I recall that my friend Julie sometimes wears boots while hiking and then other times switches them for hiking sandals, especially on long downhills. While leaving oneself vulnerable to stubbing toes on rocks, perhaps hiking sandals are a good solution to the problem of the foot being crowded forward into a closed toe of a boot.
I will continue to look for a solution.