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Blisters Begone! Seven Strategies to Prevent Blisters

1: Prevent Blisters with the Right Shoes


Updated May 16, 2014

Blister on Heel

Blister on Heel

Gajus Images / Depositphotos.com Bloody Shoe from Blister

Bloody Shoe from Blister

Rachel Spanks © 2007

Blisters are one of our biggest complaints as walkers. But are blisters inevitable? Can you make it through a marathon without painful blisters? Can you survive a multi-day event with intact skin?

Yes, there are ways to toughen your feet and to prevent most blisters.

We'll review the top ways to prevent blisters both before and during your walk.

Tip 1: The Right Shoes to Prevent Blisters

A common source of blisters are your shoes themselves. Everybody has feet of different shapes and sizes, and there is no single shoe will be right for everyone. Getting the right size and shape of shoe can help prevent blisters.

Cause: New Shoes: If you take new shoes out for a long walk, you may get a blister. Any pair of shoes may give you a blister in its first few wearings, before your feet and the shoe have grown accustomed to each other.
Solution: Take it slow and only go on short walks with new pairs of shoes, even the if they are same brand and model you have been wearing. Build up your mileage and speed in each pair of shoes.

Cause: Cramped Shoes: With a cramped toe box, toes rub against sides or end of shoes. This can even lead to blackened toenails or losing the toenails after a long walk.
Solution: Your walking shoes should have a finger's width of length between the end of your toe and the end of your shoes to allow your feet to expand while walking. Select shoes of the proper width for your foot so that toes have enough room. Do you need bigger shoes?

Cause: Feet Sliding Around in Shoes: If your shoes have a sloppy fit and your feet slide forward and back within the shoe with each step, you are adding extra blister-causing friction. You may also get a black toenail.
Solution: You want your feet to have enough room to expand when you walk, but not enough to slide around. Wear a thicker sock to take up some of the extra space. Learn how to lace your shoes to keep your heel in the heel cup with each step rather than sliding forward. If you still seem to have too much space, buy shoes that fit better.

See our Walking Shoe Guide for tips on getting properly fitted for your walking shoes.

Cause: Rough Edges: The seams and the edge of the insole can rub against your foot or toes.
Solution:You can change styles of shoes or insoles. Some shoes are designed to be seamless inside. But generally the solution will be to lubricate or cover the area that is getting rubbed.

Next page: Tip 2: Toughen Your Feet to Prevent Blisters

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