Mentioning the Unmentionables

It was a sunny day in the mountains; we enjoyed an eight mile hike and built up a sweat.  Now we are at a patio restaurant.  The sun is still shining and my outer clothes are dry.  But the breeze picks up, and I begin to get cold. I feel the dampness of my unmentionables.  Earlier in the restroom, I also had difficulties pulling them up and down because of the dampness of them sticking to my skin.  Later I know that I will have a painful rash.  It is at least three hours before I get home and can change.

I believe that this is a common problem, but nobody really wants to talk about it.  It is embarrassing to talk about the rash that is so much like a diaper rash or the dampness that clings to the cotton clothing for too long making us uncomfortable.  There is a fix for the problem though.

It took me some time and reading before I even knew that there was an alternative to the traditional undergarments.  Of course I knew about sports bras, but not being an athlete, I didn’t know that there were undergarments that could help alleviate the problem.  But, reading blogs and personal experiences, I started picking up on the fact that there are indeed moisture wicking undergarments as there is clothing.  I have a few shirts, and I like how they keep my back from becoming soaked during a hike. So, I went to my favorite place to investigate purchases, Amazon.  I found a large selection of underwear and began reading the feedback.  Basically what I found out was that the preference was a very personal thing.  I looked at the comments regarding the durability and the ones posted by curvy women.  Then I finally chose by cost and durability.  I bought a three pack of Balanced Tech Women’s Seamless Bikini Panties.  Then I looked at the moisture wicking sports bras.  I found the same issue there and used the same criteria for that purchase.  I bought Champion Women’s Curvy Show-Off Sports Bra Mesh.

When my package arrived, I was excited to try out the garments to see if they would help me.  I planned a 51iQfndLQCL._SX90_hike, donned my clothing, and set out.  The underwear was very comfortable and light.  They fit well, almost like I wasn’t wearing them.  They never slipped nor bunched.  At the end of the hike they were damp, but they slid over my skin without any sticking.  Later in the day I was still comfortable in them, and I never got a rash.

The sports bra wasn’t as pleasing as the underwear.  First the fit was off.  I had more coverage in a bikini, and that is not good for an overweight full figured woman hiking over the hills.  Then I noticed that I was damp, and the dampness didn’t go51tu9abGs0L._SY90_ away very fast.  I think I had the same results with my normal sports bra and better coverage.  I didn’t notice the damp marks on my clothing though, but that is not a typical experience for me.  That only happens on the hottest of the days hiking.

So the results:  I would spend the extra money on the moisture wicking underwear but not on the sports bra.  Trial and experience are the best lesson for me, and I am happy to have found a solution for the rash and dampness.

My First Hiking Shoes: Nevados

Christmas 2016, my daughter surprised me with a pair of Nevados hiking shoes.  We had been talking about hiking at that time but hadn’t started.  They were a perfect fit; my first pair of shoes that didn’t need to be broken in.  I wore them for my first 5K just a week after receiving them.

These shoes had gimg_20170228_171150772reat support, plenty of toe room, and no slippage on the heel.  I finished the 5K with tired legs, but my feet were fine.  I was pleased with the shoes.  I continued to wear them for all of my hiking and walking.  For months, they protected my feet as I would hope for them to do.  Towards the end of the year, I started getting blisters on my toes.  At the time, I thought that it was because of the terrain we were hiking on.  The trails were rocky, and my feet often slipped to the sides.

I tried inserts, and I came home with more blisters.  But I had also changed socks for that trip, and my feet slipped more than usual.  I blamed the socks.  Until I went hiking for the first time this year, that is.  On that hike, which was a fairly smooth path, my feet were blistered the worse that I have ever seen.  Between my two feet, I had seven large blisters.  That trip I had bought a nice pair of full shoe inserts made for sports, but they beat my feet up in the shoes.  The inserts took away the extra space for my toes, and they rubbed on the shoes.

So what happened?  I have to remember that when I got the shoes, I was more than 200 pounds and had been stomping on all kinds of terrain for a year in them.  I had pounded the inner soles down on the inside.  Now that I am aware of it, I can feel the indentations from my feet.  I am reluctant to buy new ones because these have been so good and there is nothing wrong with the outsides.  Even the exterior soles look rather new.  There is hardly any of the wearing I would normally get on my regular shoes in that time span.

I have since worn the shoes for 4-6 mile hikes without the inserts and with my original style of socks.  I have no additional problems other than my feet are tired.  The hardened and shaped inner soles wear my feet down.  I can no longer go the distance in them.

Now I face having to go buy new shoes.  I can go to the local sports store, a bigger sports store in Reno, or order the same shoes on Amazon where these came from.  I love these shoes, so I am tempted to buy a new identical pair.  But, I also wonder what I might be missing.  These were the first pair of hiking shoes I have owned and the only pair I have worn.  How would I know if these are the best for me if I don’t try another pair?

My decision is to try on multiple styles and walk around the store a little bit to see if I can tell a difference.  I will try to make the best decision then.  So, in a month, I’ll be able to say which shoes I like.  But, for now, I highly recommend the Nevados from Amazon.