Ugh, I hate the hurt that causes having nail problems on the trail, every step just hurts!
I would echo about REI, they hare a great return policy even if your boots are worn. If they just don't fit or cause blisters or whatever you can return them. My boots are women's but I bought them a 1/2 size bigger and always wear thick socks for cushioning. That helps the pounding and rubbing, but everyone is different, what's important is finding the right shoes for your own feet.
A few things I do before hikes is to trim my toenails down as far as they can go-doesn't prevent the pounding on the downhill so I sometimes get bruised nails, but I don't get split or separated nails anymore! And I always wear thick socks, even in hot weather. In a pinch, I've cut and wrapped mole skin around a sore toe for that extra cushioning.
With REI you can bring them back too, even after wearing them if they don't work for you.
I've lost both my big toe nails more than once....find a boot or shoe (I hike in trail runners) that gives room beyond the toe a bit, and lace up tighter before heading down hill....good socks will help too.
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I lost a toe nail a couple of months ago and I'm about to lose another one on my broken toe - neither were from boots, though. Check out REI for sure - I have gotten great stuff there and my current favorite boots were on one of their big clearance sales. They are Asolo, usually $275, I got them for [tah-dah!!] $39 after multiple mark-downs.
One thing I've noticed about MOST women's boots is that they have a somewhat pointed toe. Unfortunately, my feet are not pointed so I often end up wearing men's shoes/boots - my problem with them is that the heel is not narrow enough but I'd rather add a padding to keep the heel from slipping than have my toes cramped into a pointed shoe - or trying to wear things 2 sizes bigger to fit my toes into them!
Good luck with your purchase - keep us posted and let us know what you end up getting!
Lynda in Orange County, So Calif
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"Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit."
I just re-started hiking about 4 months ago and have since learned invaluable lessons about the importance of proper footwear. While my very fist hike (in tennis shoes :( ) yielded a bruised big toe nail, it looks like this one is going to hang on. Meanwhile my toe next to my pinky doesn't look so good. Never really paid attention to this one. Oh well, it it what it is.
I'm planning a series of serious hikes in September/October and I'm on a mission to find the perfect pair of boots. Might visit REI later today. After all, there needs to be plenty of time to break them in.
Happy trails to all!
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