How To… Prevent Blisters

Preventing blisters is all about awareness and vigilance. Once you know the factors that up your odds of getting blisters, your goal is to monitor and minimise those factors.

 

To prevent blisters, follow these guidelines:
        • Make sure your boots fit and are broken in properly: To avoid pressure points, slippage or both, the foundation of blister prevention is getting the right fit when you buy your boots. And the inaugural voyage shouldn’t be the major backpacking trip that inspired you to get them.
        • Wear proper socks: When hiking, the number one rule is to avoid cotton, which retains moisture. Go with synthetic or wool instead and make sure they fit properly (too big and you can have wrinkles; too small and you can create pressure points and sock slippage). You might also want to do the following:
        • Wear liner socks: These add a protective layer between skin and your primary hiking socks and can help wick away moisture.
        • Change to dry socks: Fresh socks get your feet back to the same low moisture level you had at the beginning of your hike. They can also come in handy if your socks get soaked during a stream crossing.
        • Deal with hot spots quickly: Pay close attention to how your feet feel as you hike. The minute you sense an uncomfortable spot, stop and take your boots and socks off. If the area is even slightly red, then dry it off and apply your preferred form of protection. Many companies sell blister kits that include a range of products for both treatment and prevention.
Blister prevention kits might include:
        • Tape: Studies suggest that inexpensive “tear-to-size” paper surgeon’s tape is effective and has a gentle adhesive; kinetic tapes also work very well; cloth and synthetic medical tapes are additional options, as is duct tape in a pinch.
        • Blister bandages with pads and gels: Products like 2nd Skin can be used on both hot spots for prevention and for blister treatment.
        • Moleskin: The classic cut-to-size blister-coverage product is durable and sticks well; similar products do the same thing but go by different names.
        • Hikerswool: HikersWool is made from 100% pure New Zealand lambs wool. It provides friction-free comfort and wicks away moisture so you can avoid painful and annoying blisters! Suitable for all type of activities and all types of feet.

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