Generally, most of us take our feet for granted, without realizing how much we really expect of them. And those that have "good feet" might not stop and consider all the things that can go wrong.
When training for a long distance trek one finds out fast how important our feet are. They are the "workhorse" of the whole trip. So proper foot care is the most important and first thing to consider.
There are so many things to think about: Boots? Walking or trekking shoes? Sandals? Which socks are best: Synthetic? Wool? Cotton? With or with out sock liners?
And, I am finding out that no matter which hiker you talk to or read, they each have their own opinions about how to care for feet, and how to prepare those feet for a long distance trek. I've heard recommendations from duck-taping my feet to soaking them in tea to toughen them up.
There are 2 things they all agree on:
1. Blisters are the bane of hikers and blister prevention should be foremost in our mind.
2. Making sure you have properly fitting footwear, whether it's boots or trekking shoes, and proper socks, sock/liner combination, whatever the material, will greatly reduce or even emlininate the possibility of blisters or other foot problems.
Everyone has different body types and different feet and foot issues, so I guess the only way to figure it out is to keep trying until you find out what works best. And, that is exactly what I have been doing. I now have quite a collection of hiking socks made from different materials and lots of liners too.
So far this is what has worked for me: I prefer and feel more comfortable wearing hiking boots. Even though they are heavier and hotter for walking, it gives me a little extra ankle support and they are waterproof.
I find that rubbing my feet with a light coat of Vaseline before walking helps keep my feet soft and dry.
A great website, where I have found invaluable information about feet and foot care for the athlete is Fixing Your Feet.