Wearing dress socks under Army socks on a foot march: It works!

Beautiful feet

For the first time ever, I finally tried wearing Army dress socks underneath regular Army socks on a long foot march. Since joining the Army, I’ve heard soldiers say that you can wear Army dress socks as an under-layer and it will help prevent blisters. Blisters typically form because of friction caused by materials rubbing against the skin over time. The chief cause of this is improper or worn-out boots.

Back in OCS, a friend turned me on to SuperFeet, which is a kind of hard insole. I always assumed that you wanted to get a cushioned insole and I’d often go to the PX and buy throw-away .99 insoles that were soft and squishy. My friend said that what you actually wanted was a hard insole to support the foot. He was right. That, plus good-fitting boots have made blisters rare for me.

Back to the socks.

Yesterday, my unit did a 25-mile foot march and I figured I’d give the dress socks a shot. My boots fit a tad snugger because of the extra socks, and also a little warmer, but nothing too extreme. I didn’t change my socks at all during the movement and although my feet are sore, I didn’t get any friction blisters. I did get one impact blister on the ball of my left foot (you can just barely see it – the one on the right). I drained it last night and it doesn’t really hurt anymore. Walk far enough and it doesn’t matter what kind of socks or boots you wear, you’re going to get a blister.

Had I not worn the liners, I probably would have changed my socks at the turn-around point. I think the liners helped. My feet weren’t super-calloused before the foot march and I probably would have had some more blisters had I just worn Army socks. Going forward, I’ll probably wear the liners if I have a 12+ mile foot march.

Also, those are the prettiest feet I’ve ever seen on an infantryman, post-foot march.

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My new training ruck

Once I realized that I was going to rejoin the Army, I started reaching out to old Army buddies to help me develop my training program. Specifically, I wanted to concentrate on foot marching, something I had trouble with when I first joined (I’m going to write a longer post about foot marching soon). A friend of mine from the 82nd Airborne who went on to Special Forces recommended I ditch the giant North Carolina tick and instead attach a 45lb plate to a rucksack frame and go with that. True, it’s not the same as having a giant ball on your back that you can stuff the world into, but it is easier to pick up, put on, and go than the alternative.

When training, I’ve found that one of the easiest excuses to pick up and walk on an early morning is not having an adequately packed ruck. “Oh, man, I forgot to pack my ruck last night. Ah well, I’ll just ruck next week.” With this, there’s no excuse. I never have to pack it or unpack it. It’s always the same weight.

What do you think? Am I missing out by not being able to cram in more weight?

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