Most athletes hold a common misconception about blisters-that blisters are simply a fact of life that one must learn to live with. Most athletes try tips that they have learned from others. If those don’t work, they move on to another idea. Most try for a while, then give up and spend the rest of their life fixing their inevitable blisters. The fact is there are many ways to prevent blisters.
There are many things you can apply to your feet to help prevent blisters. Lubricants and tape are two of the most popular. Powders are a distant third. Remember that whatever you apply to your feet will react to what you put around your feet. When you apply a lubricant, your socks will pick up some of it, and more applications will be necessary. Tape works well, but tape applied poorly can be pulled loose as you pull on your socks.
In the 3rd and 4th editions of Fixing Your Feet, I had a chapter about 175 Ways to Prevent Blisters. Occasionally, I heard from people about how many of the ideas were confusing and seemed to contradict themselves. So for the 5th edition, I changed the chapter to reflect the best ideas in the different categories. The ideas below are the best in the Things You Apply to Your Feet section.
- Use a callus cream to soften calluses and prevent friction and resulting blisters.
- Use one of the popular lubricants to reduce friction. Body Glide, Hydropel Sports Ointment, Bag Balm, BlisterShield Roll-On, Brave Soldier’s Friction Zone, and Sports Slick are the most popular. Reapply each time you change your socks.
- Use powder to reduce friction. BlisterShield, Zeasorb, Odor-Eater’s, or Gold Bond foot powder
- Use one of the popular blister patching products: Spenco 2nd Skin. Blist-O-Ban, Bunhead’s Gel Toe Caps
- Use one of the popular tapes to pre-tape known hot sports or problem areas before your event: Kinesio-Tex. Leukotape, Elastikon, duct tape
- Use Certain Dri Anti-perspirant or Ban Roll-On on your feet to control perspiration.
- Use a slick energy gel wrapper between your sock and shoe to reduce friction.
- Avoid Vaseline – it’s too sticky, attracts grit and hardens on socks.
- For wet conditions, coat your feet with Hydropel Sports Ointment, Desetin Maximum Strength, or Sudocrem twice a day during a big race. Primarily designed to prevent diaper rash, this antiseptic healing cream leaves an oily trace on your feet and lasts for ages.
- Put a patch of lamb’s wool on a bruised, sore, or blistered area, and secure it to the foot with tape.
Try one or two. Give them a chance and maybe try a few more.