Getting blisters during winter hiking or mountaineering can slow down your pace and significantly compromise your safety. But preventing them can be tricky because in addition to your boots, you also need to wear crampons and snowshoes, which cause friction on different areas of your feet.
During the past few weeks, I’ve experienced hot spots just above my heel when I wear step-in crampons. This was a surprise because I thought I had dialed-in the fit of my Scarpa Omegas to eliminate heel lift. On hindsight, I think the addition of stiff crampons has reduced the natural flex in my boots resulting in increased heal friction. The resulting hot spots have not blistered, but they are a painful despite the fact that I’m wearing a polyester sock liner and a thick wool outer sock.
I was considering duct taping my heels to prevent these hot spots, until three weeks ago when I tried ENGO Blister Prevention Patches. These are adhesive pads that attach to your shoes, instead of your feet, and eliminate the friction that causes blisters from forming. The picture above, shows an ENGO blister prevention patch, attached to the inner liner of my mountaineering boots where the hot spots were occurring.
The patches are thin plastic adhesive discs that have a tiny amount of cushioning and a glossy surface. After I applied them to my liners, I went on a strenuous winter day hike, up two peaks in the White Mountains, wearing step-in crampons the entire day. I didn’t experience any heel friction during the entire trip, making me a believer in this product.
I think it’s cool that the patches attach to your boot and not to your foot. Plus the patches remain in the boot and don’t fall out after a single hike. Having cut hundreds of moleskin patches over the years, this is a huge win for me.
Each package comes with an an assortment of ENGO patches that you can trim if required. This company has established a cult following in the running community and is slowly increasing its distribution through retail outlets, but you can buy them at EMS online, for $11.95 a pack.
Disclosure: ENGO provided SectionHiker.com with a complementary product sample for this review.
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