Hey Bootleggers, Mags here!
Throughout the years, I’ve had a ton of problems with getting gnarly blisters on hikes and runs. I have super sensitive feet (even with all my calluses) and moleskin never worked for me. I’ve tried just about everything for blister prevention. Here are my suggestions:
Get boots/shoes/sandals that are properly fitted to your feet.
- Generally, blisters from new shoes (after breaking them in a bit, like over a few miles) mean they’re ill-fitted.
- Proper fitting shoes won’t let your feet slide around, but won’t feel uncomfortably tight. They’ll give you a bit of room to breathe when your feet swell from a long day.
- REI has a year-long return policy on new items so if you buy a pair of shoes there that give you blisters, don’t just tough it out…return them and get a pair that’s better for your foot shape and lifestyle.
- Avoid buying heavily used shoes unless you plan on replacing the insoles — your shoes need to mold to your foot in particular.
Get new footwear when your midsole wears down.
- That usually happens before the traction goes out, so keep an eye on that midsole.
- In general: For trail runners, usually that’s at about 250-300mi (depending on your weight). For hiking shoes, about 300-350mi. For mid-top boots, about 350-400mi. For high boots, about 400-500+mi. The higher end (and usually stiffer) the boot, the more mileage you’ll be able to put on it.
- If you want to increase the life of your midsole, don’t wear your non-waterproof shoes through water.
Wear good socks!!
- Get some Merino wool performance socks — they’re moisture wicking, and they’re thermoregulating which means they stay warm when dry, but also keep your feet cool when you sweat.
- I like Smartwool and Darn Tough the most (I’ll discuss the benefits of merino wool in another post).
- You could also try toe socks — my favorites are Injinji (I wear these with my LUNA Sandals to prevent blisters as well). They come as regular socks or as liner.
If you’re getting blisters on your arch or the bottom of your feet:
- Try insoles — I like Superfeet. They have an insole finder on their website that can help you properly pick the correct insole.
If you have low mileage footwear, good socks, and you feel they’re all properly fitted:
- Put some Foot Glide or Squirrel’s Nut Butter or similar on areas that tend to be hot spots before you set out. Or try using ArmaSkin Anti-Blister Socks (those work great) as liners under socks.
If you get a blister, slap an Adventure Medical Kits Glacier Gel bandage on it, and thank me later. That stuff is the bee’s knees.
Happy adventuring by foot! 🥾
fyi, the amazon links are affiliate links, which means I might earn a commission off them if you choose to make a purchase. I have bought and tried these methods long before affiliate links were a “thing” for me, so this doesn’t affect my opinions in anyway… plus I won’t endorse a product unless I actually like it!