Keep Your Feet Happy: Stop The Blisters

Blisters Suck, Blisters Suck, Blisters Suck

If you didn’t catch my hatred for these terrible, hell sent annoyances then I’m going to throw it out there one more time….BLISTERS SUCK.

But unfortunately, they are inevitable when it comes to hiking long miles.

Read next: How to Prevent Blisters While Backpacking

Personal Experience

It pains me that I can even write in depth about my personal experiences with blisters, but they are my achilles heel (quite literally, my heels are just scars).  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I get blisters from every. single. pair. of shoes that I own.  I don’t care if they are fancy shoes, sneakers, or even my beloved Birkenstocks …they will give me blisters. Even after I’ve worn a pair of shoes for years, blisters will randomly appear because, well, why wouldn’t they?

Unfortunately this just gets so much worse in hiking boots.  It usually takes me weeks of short hikes to break in a pair of boots.  Even when they are broken in though, I can count on blisters when I do big hikes or backpacking trips.

Now I have no clue why I was cursed with such delicate (i.e.: sissy?) feet; but luckily for you, my pain is your gain.

So, What Can You Do About Blisters?

  1. Find A Pair Of Boots That Work For You

    Whether you do short hikes with your family or you spend weeks on end on the trail, the shoes you wear are (in my opinion) the most important part of your gear.  Visit every outdoor store near you.  Try on every pair of hiking-friendly shoes you can find; high tops, low tops, and trail runners.  TRY THEM ALL.  Basically what I’m saying is that you need to find a shoe that you are comfortable in and that fits your foot well.  If your not comfortable wearing them in the store, then I promise you, no amount of breaking them in will make them feel any better.

  2. Break Them In

    Once you’ve found that perfect sole, you’ve got to take the time to break them in properly.  You wouldn’t run a marathon without testing out your new kicks a few times prior, so why would you treat your hiking boots any differently? Wear them on short hikes, wear them around town, wear them in your house even.  Wear them as much as you possibly can before you take them for big miles.  Trust me, a little patience early on will save you a lot of hurt.

  3. Learn How To Tie Your Shoes Properly

    When I first decided to hike the AT, I was talking to a hiker that worked at a local outdoors store about my blister troubles and he asked me how I was tying my shoes. This may seem like a dumb question, I thought it was too when I first heard it, but the way you tie your shoes can have a huge impact on how they rub your feet.  Some people do well with lacing up tightly, but for people with blister prone feet, this can just cause more friction.

    More friction=more blisters.  I started tying my boots looser; not loose enough to wear my feet were flying around but loose enough that I had a comfortable amount of room to move.  THIS HELPED SO MUCH.

    But here’s the thing, not everyone agrees with this solution. I’ve talked to a lot of hikers about this one and everyone seems to have differing opinions, so try it out, and if it doesn’t work, keep those boots tight!

  4. Take Preventative Measures

    If you’re like me and are prone to blisters, it’s best to go ahead and do all you can before you even start hiking.  Before I even begin my hike, I usually put Moleskin on the places I know I usually get blisters.  This just gives me a extra layer of protection.  If you’re hiking and feel hot spots (pre-blisters) then take your shoes off and get it covered before it becomes a problem.  There a ton of preventative blister solutions out there, so test them out and find one that works.

Blisters are something that you are going to encounter while hiking, and while they are small, they can cause a lot of problems on the trail that can change your hike dramatically.  If you want to stay happy and pain free, find blister hacks that work for your feet.

So for your own sake, heed my advice and take care of your feet. They’ll take you pretty far if you do.

Hasta Luego Friends,

Eiryn Reynolds (Keep those trail names coming)

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Comments 4

  • Jen : Nov 8th

    Well there is your trail name. “Hot Blister!” 🙂

  • stealthblew : Nov 8th

    Try wearing two pairs of thin nylon socks instead of wool and remove your shoes when taking breaks to air your feet out (especially if wearing heavy boots).

  • james Lee : Nov 14th

    I agree, everybody is different. I find hot sweaty feet cause blisters. Every time I stop, shoes and socks come off first. Putting them in a spring or creek, cools them off, and takes down the swelling. I carry extra socks and rotate them, to keep dry socks on my feet. I carry a roll of athletic tape to cover any hotspots, if they develop. Camping in the Shining Rock over Thanksgiving. Happy trails.

  • Chris Guynn : Nov 25th

    While everyone is different as mentioned above you need to keep your feet relatively dry. With a pair of boots waterproof or not this is extremely difficult to do due to all the heat generated by friction of thousands upon thousands of steps being trapped by boots. For me trail runners were the answer. There is no break in period and they breathe just like a running shoe. I got a total of zero blisters on the AT and all my pre and post hikes after. If any of you reading this haven’t tried a good pair of trail runners just do it. If you dont like them or they dont provide adequate support switch back to your boots but as for me the only time I hike in boots is when there is wet slushy snow on the ground and sometimes I get by with trial runners and water proof socks.


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