Monday, August 15, 2022

Blister Prevention

June 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Trail Tips

Whether you’re walking The Camino or just day hiking, blisters can ruin your day/week/journey.  Here are some tips:

  • Sock liners – for more challenging hikes, I use compression socks as my sock liners.  (search this blog for more info on compression socks) – they reduce fatigue.  The friction occurs between the socks, not between the hiking socks and your feet.
  • Keep moisture to a minimum.  Alternate hiking shoes if you can.  Make sure shoes dry completely between wearings.  Use a fan or boot dryer – air circulation is key.
  • Stop immediately if you feel a “hot spot.”  That’s a blister trying to form.  Do not tough it out.   Affix some sort of protection.
  • Make sure your shoes fit properly.  Lace creatively to reduce unwanted friction.
  • I prophylacticly prevent blisters on my RIGHT heel by placing a piece of moleskin (not mole foam) lengthwise at the back of my heel and then I put a piece of cover-stretch tape over it.   I then carefully put my compression socks on making sure I don’t curl the edges of the tape.
  • Carry pre-cut mole skin and pre-cut cover-stretch in a little plastic baggie in your medical kit.    Cover-stretch tape will stay even with moisture.  It’s gentle on the skin.  If you try to put moleskin on when you’ve been hiking, it will not stay.   Practice with the cover-stretch so you learn how to “stretch” it over the moleskin.
  • Treat blisters with Glacier Gel or some other fancy, space-age treatment.   REI has lots of options.  Carry several in your medical kit.  We like Adventure Medical Kits (available at REI).  They’re a bit more expensive, but so worth it quality wise and sport-specific.

Cover-Roll Stretch – 2″ x 10 yards available at medical supply or compression store

Got a blister prevention or treatment tip?  Please comment!  🙂

Addendum from Dr. DMP:  …from a medical perspective sometimes “blisters” can result in complications and cellulitis and be more serious than you allude to; a warning about seeking medical attention if the lesions do not heal is warranted.

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4 Responses to “Blister Prevention”
  1. steve says:

    Hi Jayah, like you, I also have to do blister prevention on my right heel. I use mole foam (not moleskin) and duct tape, and before that I apply tincture of benzoin to the whole area that will be covered, letting it “dry” 3 minutes first (it’s still tacky by then). I suspect I could skip the benzoin and also use moleskin instead of mole foam, but I’m hesitant to change what has been working for me for the last 7 years (ever since scumbag Randy Merrell (yes, THAT Merrell) custom-made me a pair of boots/orthotics for $2,100 that were supposed to eliminate the foot problems I had been putting up with for years and years until there weren’t any more off-the-rack boots left to try). The cover-stretch tape might be worth trying too, not that the duct tape doesn’t adhere, but if something else works just as well but means less of a chore to remove adhesive residue, that would certainly be worth giving a try.

  2. Ellen says:

    Hi, Jayah. Thanks for all the great tips/tricks and warnings in this post. Since I have more time now, I plan to make a few camping/hiking trips in the Fall when the heat abates and I develop more stamina. Although I can’t walk fast or very far anymore, these tips are nevertheless very useful. After all, your feet are your transport, so take care of then and they’ll take care of you. Cheers.

  3. Escalante says:

    I would suggest using Leukotape P (1.5 in. x 15 yds / 3.8 cm x. 13.7 m), which can be obtained through Also, Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Kit which can also be obtained though However, Leukotape P is almost a necessity if you do not want your blister bandage to come off while hiking. Leukotape P can be pre-cut into smaller pieces by laying it out on baking parchment paper or silicone release paper. Good idea to round edges. Although nice, my luck with using high-tech blister bandages without a tape cover layer has been disappointing.