Thanks you very much to all the entrants in our competition sharing your best tips on how to treat or prevent blisters when hiking, bushwalking, backpacking or running.
The ideas were so terrific we have summarised them all below. (and announce the winner!)
1) I always make sure that I “wear in” my walking shoes/boots before using on a long walk or hike.
2) I do not wait until my feet start warning me about blisters; I rub Vaseline between my toes and all over my feet to just above my ankles before putting on my socks and walking shoes/boots.
I have not as yet tried Injinji toe socks, but I believe winning two pairs of Injinji toe socks would be a real bonus!
The only way to avoid blisters is to avoid rubbing. This means wearing new boots in well before any big walk, ensuring they fit correctly, correct socks (I use two pairs of Explorer socks but am interested to see how these Injinji socks perform), and most importantly, stop and tape any area that might be rubbing using an Elastoplast type sports tape. I felt rubbing on the heel once, didn’t do anything about it and ended up with a small blister, it would have been easy to prevent if I had stopped and taped the area.
My tip for your socks offer would be that its imperative to “wear in” your boots. No earth shattering advice there, but if you can prevent blisters from forming in the first place your hike will be a hellava lot more enjoyable.
Neil Fahey says:
When thinking about preventing blisters we tend to think about keeping dry… What we often don’t take into consideration is keeping ourselves properly hydrated. Low sodium can cause feet to swell and dehydration also causes low skin turgor, meaning that skin is more loose and can change shape or fold more easily. Both of these can result in more friction and therefore a greater chance of blisters.
Brendan Jones says:
I always get blisters on my heels if I don’t tape them preemptively- it’s an unfortunate by-product of my funny shaped heels!
Beyond that, though, I can always feel the difference at the end of a day from whether or not I have taken my boots off at some point. Blisters are made by friction, and friction creates heat, so taking some of that heat away (we all know what a ‘hot spot’ feels like) helps slow down blister creation. In the hot Australian summer I find it makes such a difference if I’ve taken my boots off over lunch.
It only takes a minute to slip your shoes and socks off! It also dries your feet out if you’ve been sweating a lot, as I tend to do (too much detail?). The fun bit is finding some way to sit without getting your feet all dirty…
Prevention is always better than cure!
My advice for avoiding blisters is to:
1. Ensure that boots that require wearing in are worn in gradually (around the house, trips to the shops etc before longer walks are attempted). Some boots require a lot of wearing in, others very little.
2. Wear good quality socks – I always wear two pairs on extended walks – a thinner inner (to date coolmax if warm, a thermal inner if cold) and a thicker outer sock (merino wool). Sounds like Ininji are worth trying as an inner – also great at the end of the day around camp!
In the last 9 years of walking I have never had a blister!
Best way I have found is to preventative tape where I get hotspots. I apply 3 layers of rigid sports tape. The first as normal, the second a patch upside down over the hotspot, secured by the third layer. This creates a patch where the rubbing is between the layers of tape, not on your skin. I use Cutinova Hydro or Allevyn Thin patches to help healing and provide cushioning with this taping method. It’s always better to wear worn in shoes that fit and don’t rub, but when there’s no choice (military boots), I find that this always works.
Steve Cockburn says:
My suggestion to treat blisters.
Apart from the usual essential first aid , when the blister is forming or has come up, at the end of the day take you boots etc off and in a private place , pee on it.. yes pee on it. . For blokes it’s a bit easier .. for girls you need to use your imagination.
Next leave it exposed to the air as long as you can and try to repeat as much as possible . Bandage for the next day as usual.This sounds weird but I’ve done this and know that it does help. Passed on to me from an old army mate.
I tried these socks on a 2 day walk in the Blue Mountains on the weekend – 18 kms (day 1) and 6 km (day 2).
1. No blisters (as claimed)
2. Very sore toenails!
I think the sore toenails arise because the socks are too thin to wear with my Scarpa mid-weight boots. My boots were fitted using standard hiking socks – and I can’t seem to get the laces tight enough in the injinji socks to prevent sliding forward in descent.
My conclusion: They’re probably great with trail runners, or as sock liners… but be careful if planning to use as standalone socks in boots. (Possibly a boot insert would work)
PS: The reason the 2nd day was so short was because my toes were killing me!
Since i have wide feet and pretty hard to find boots that fit 100% this is what I do to prevent blisters are:
1. I tape my hotspots before i walk with Eletroplast Silk tape to prevent friction.
2. I wear sock that wicks moisture away from the feet, so far i found Icebreaker socks or smart wool worked best for me, so my feet is less wet. Havent yet have the chance to try the injinji socks. I was put off initially by the individual toes but since having tried a nylon version with my business shoes in Indonesia, it was great.
3. I do try to air out my feet if i have the chance.
And the winner of the competition to win two pairs of Injinji Toe Socks is Lee. Congratulations to Lee, we have sent you an email to get your mailing details and the socks will be posted out before the end of the week, well done.
The judges were very impressed by all the entries and awarded a special runner up prize to Brendan Jones – he will receive a pair of Injinji performance socks for second place. Congratulations!
Lee’s winning entry:
A gram of prevention, they say,
Beats a kilo of cure, any day.
So the best way to treat
Your poor aching feet
Is to keep those damn blisters at bay.
You boots, from Day One, must fit right.
Neither loose nor anywhere tight.
Don’t believe all that din
About ‘wearing them in’ –
’twill assuredly worsen your plight.
When donning your socks, keep it neat,
Make sure they’re all snug on your feet;
No folds, pleats or lumps,
Nor gratuitous bumps,
Thus avoiding that blistery heat.
If boots ‘need wearing in’ they don’t fit properly. Find better boots.
Congratulations Lee and many thanks to everyone who entered the competition. The information you have shared is a terrific resource for anyone who has problems with blisters.
Remember that Injinji Australia will give all “Our Hiking Blog” readers a 10% discount on any online sock purchase in Australia. You just quote Franksblog when you place your order.