Getting blisters when walking has to be the number one annoyance that is sure to completely ruin your walk. Having a blister will put a quick halt to your walk pretty quickly and you out of action until the blister has healed. The best advice when it comes to blisters when walking is prevention, prevention, prevention. Sometimes though these things happen, so how do we go about avoiding blisters when walking?
The first way to keep your feet happy is to choose the right pair of shoes. Go into a variety of walking stores and try on all shapes and sizes until you are perfectly sure that you’ve found the most comfortable pair for your feet. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another so don’t go on recommendation, just go and find out for yourself. Don’t be lured into thinking the old ‘they’ll be great once I’ve broken them in’ - this almost never works. In order for them to be comfortable whilst walking they need to feel comfortable in store right from the get go. Chose a pair with a good sized toe box because toes rubbing into each other and toenails in the picture too can make for the perfect recipe for blister when walking. Also if shoes are too big and sloppy then your feet will move around inside them and make for lots of rubbing and potential blisters.
Now, having said not to rely on ‘breaking them in’ the next piece of advice is actually to break them in. Although they should feel super comfortable in the shop and around the house, when they’ve been on your feet for hours on end during a hike they may tell a different story. So do wear them around the house or out for short walks at any given opportunity to get your feet used to them and them to your feet before you embark on your first big hike. This should set up a good foundation to avoid blisters when walking.
If you look after your feet you can actually toughen them up whilst taking care of them. If you start getting calluses don’t be tempted to file them away, they may not look great but they are a walkers friend since they toughen up the skin making them far less blister prone. You don’t have to ignore them though, moisturising them will help avoid painful cracks which will hinder your walking nearly as much as blisters themselves. Some professional long distance walkers and runners actually toughen up their feet by soaking them in tannic acid or tea soak which toughens up the skin and helps avoid blisters when walking. Lubricating your feet with vaseline is a good idea too, this reduces the friction that results in blisters. Rub it on your feet under your socks and you’ll feel the difference. It’s worth noting though that Vaseline doesn’t easily come out of socks.
During your walk make sure to keep your feet dry. Sweaty or wet feet are far more prone to blisters so if your shoes get very wet then make sure to take them off, and your socks, and air your feet. Keep spare pairs of dry socks in your bag to replace wet ones. Some people swear by using antiperspirant on the feet before walking to keep sweat at bay. If you know you are prone to blisters then you can cover them before you walk. There are all sorts of option of plasters and tape to pop over the spot and make sure you avoid blisters when walking.
Whatever measure you go to to stop blisters there will always be times when you just can’t avoid it, but if you are prepared and do the best you can to stop the little blighters showing up then you will notice a marked difference and will really have much more enjoyable walking experiences.