How to Avoid Blisters

Youve hit the trail and the trail hits back. Every step is lesson in pain. Guess what you have a blister. If this is an occasional issue, there probably isnt that much you can do. Even if you take every precaution sometimes you will still get a blister. Sometime it just happens. But it is a different story if this is a frequent problem. With proper planning and care, the thought of stepping into on your boots shouldn’t make you wince.

Blisters are a hikers worst nightmare. Once a blister forms on the trail, they are very hard to heal and can get infected very easily. The first step is to do everything you can to avoid getting a blister in the first place. Following a few simple tips can help prevent that blister in the first place.

Double Check The Fit of Your Boot
If you’re just starting out and you are wearing a new pair of boots, wear them around the house for several days to make sure they are comfortable. Shop at a reputable store where an experienced salesperson can help you find boot that fit right. If you wear them at home and they don’t feel right, take them back to the store and exchange them for another pair.

Break Your Boots In
Wear your boots around the house for a few days and then start to take short hikes. Breaking your boots in is more than softening the boot. A big part of this is breaking in your feet. Your feet need to toughen up, too. Assuming you have a pair of boot that fit, this is all about getting your feet and your boots to reach a compromise. It is much better to do this near home than on the trail. We recommend putting about 50 miles on your boots, in short walks, before hitting the trail. This also applies if youve had feet on the couch all winter. Before any epic trek, make sure your feet are ready by taking a few four- or five-mile jaunts to toughen up your feet and soften your boots.

Buy a Pair of Wicking Socks
You should always have a pair of wicking sock under you hiking socks. Polypropylene or nylon wicking socks are good. The wicking socks are less abrasive and move moisture away from your feet. Never wear cotton socks. Cotton absorbs moisture and nearly guarantees that you are going to get a blister.

Take It Easy
When you are starting out, take it easy with your mileage. Keep your pack as light as possible to avoid putting any additional stress on your feet.

Fix Problems
Once you feel any rubbing in your shoe you have to stop immediately. Dont tough it out and keep going. Find what is causing the rubbing be it; pebble, seed, dirt or wrinkle in your sock. If the boot is too tight, you can try to stretch the boot a little by rubbing the inside of your boot with the rounded end of a Swiss army.

If you have a vulnerable trouble spot, put a piece of moleskin on it before you head out. You can also use crazy glue to add an extra layer of skin over a hot spot. This can sometimes be more comfortable than moleskin.

Trail First Aid
If you feel some rubbing on the trail, put a piece of moleskin over the hot spot. If the blister has already started forming, use a burn dressing called Second Skin; after all, blisters are nothing more than friction burns. Make sure your feet are dry before applying moleskin or adhesive tape. Covering the hotspot will greatly reduce the rubbing that your boot causes on the hot spot.

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