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Reader Poll: Best Blister Prevention Product

Bad blisters can take you off the trail

Bad blisters can take you off the trail

Best Blister Prevention Product

In a comment below, describe the best product or technique you use to prevent blisters.

Here are a few examples to give you an idea of what I’m looking for.

Before I go hiking I cut pieces of moleskin and put them over my heels to prevent blisters from forming in my leather boots.

I don’t get blisters. Instead I keep my feet hard and callused by hiking every week.

I lubricate my feet with HikeGoo before I hike to make them more slippery and reduce friction in my hiking boots

I wear synthetic liner socks under my wool socks in order to eliminate the moisture built-up which causes hot spots and friction burns (blisters) from forming.

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197 Responses to Reader Poll: Best Blister Prevention Product

  1. Barry November 3, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    The best things I’ve ever done to prevent blisters was 1.to switch from a heavier traditional boot to Inov8 trail runners, 2. start wearing a lighter compression sock rather than wool or the like, 3. I take a small supply of powder with me and powder my feet at the start of each day.

  2. Peter Grealish November 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    I’m lucky I’ve never had a blister while hiking. I swear by Supefeet insoles, wool socks and sock liners. I always carry an extra pair of wool socks and liners. The extra weight is minimal and worth the piece of mind in case of an emergency.

  3. Bobby Nations November 3, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Played rugby for 5 years, and never got a blister during games or practices even though we wore stiff “boots” continuously. My secret? I always smeared Vaseline on both feet and wore two pairs of socks. Always.

  4. Slowpoke November 3, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    I find that the best way for me to avoid blisters is to start with the right socks and shoes. I use Omniwool socks, a cheaper knockoff of the popular Smartwool socks. Add to that my favorite hiking boots, Oboz Yellowstone 2’s, and the combination has never given me blisters. Not ultralight, but extremely comfortable!

  5. Heidi November 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    Every few hours I take a break and pull off my boots and socks. After shaking the socks off I turn them inside out. Then I let my feet and the socks dry for a few minutes and address any hotspots with duct tape. Then I turn the socks right side out and put socks and boots back on.

    If it is really hot I just rotate the socks with another pair every other stop.

  6. Marty November 4, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I have found that the best way to prevent blisters is to wear thick wool socks, yes even in the summer. I have never had issues with blisters when wearing thick wool socks. I also always wear a decent pair of actual hiking boots, none of those ultra-light shoes for me. (I shave pounds everywhere except my boots because they work great.) Several people I have hiked with (who didn’t wear wool) have had issues, just sayin’.

  7. Ellyn November 4, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    I use a single pair of Smartwool socks and liberally apply Bodyglide to the soles and sides of my feet. Sometimes I will use more at lunchtime. I did not get any blisters on a one week backpacking trip in New Mexico using this method.

  8. rob ruff November 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    I don’t normally get blisters but I attribute that to having an average foot so I can fit into most manufacturer footwear. I also carry an extra pair of dry socks with me and change them if need be. On the rare occasion a blister begins to develope, Gorilla brand duct tape has been a good option for me.

  9. Eric November 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    I use sock liners and mole skin. Plan on giving hydropel a try.

  10. Jeremy November 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    I used to have massive blister problems until i graduated to moleskin cutouts. But i hated stopping, taking everything off, cutting out a pad, taping everything up. Feet are important, but it took too much time. Now, whenever i get a “hotspot” (especially on my heel) i pull my foot out and apply bagbalm utter cream to my heel and keep walking. i haven’t had a problem sense.

    God Bless, Jeremy

  11. Claire November 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Back to revisit. Cause I jinxed myself I guess. Went out today wearing NB Minimus zero – but didnt listen to my own advice & wore socks that barely went as high as the edge of the shoe. Would have been better without the socks! The socks slipped off the back of my heal & shoe started to rub on my left heal. I had some medical tape around the handle of my hiking poles – used that to cover my heal. Like marty commented above – I too usually wear a good pair of wool socks (that is higher than my ankle) w/ no problems – next time I’m leaving the socks & shoes home! great to see the diff ways everyone prevents or cares for blisters.

  12. DripDry November 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Trail runners with liner socks has virtually eliminated blisters, except when I lose my mind and try to do 20-mile days. Duck tape on any hotspots seems to solve any problems that arise.

  13. Mike Pierce November 4, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    I do not have too much trouble with blisters but I use a sock liner with wool socks and use powder to keep my feet dry. I have sometimes used tape on hotspots with good success.

    I have had trouble with moleskin sticking to both my sock and foot and making things worse. The moleskin may have been too old.

  14. Brent November 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Hike in old running shoes. Body glide on pre-hike on any suspect spots. Make sure feet stay as dry as possible

  15. Betsy Cotton November 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    To me, the socks are key. The bulkier they are, they more they rub. I stick with ultralight hikers and light, large toe box trailrunners. Only blister I ever got was from going to a bit thicker sock. Having a low pack weight contributes, too.

  16. Brian November 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Trail runners that dry quickly with light weight and synthetic toe socks. I put a little tape on any hot spots that might pop up

  17. Hendricx November 5, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    Days before I go on a hike I start treating mey feet with ‘dear tallow’ sport cream. I also take it with me during the hike (to apply in the morning & evening) together with some baby powder (which I apply during the days as soon as there is a hot spot). Works perfect for me!

  18. John November 5, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    The proper boot with a proper fit is 95% of foot care. Once I achieved that, Smartwool PHD hiking socks over Smartwool liners solved any remaining problems.

  19. Tiki November 5, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I have to say that the most important thing for me to prevent blisters and other foot issues are wool socks with liners and a quality pair of boots. This combination allows the energy and moisture you produce to be transferred away from the foot. I spent many miles in military issue cheap boots and cotton socks and always seem to be fighting with blisters, hot spots, soreness, and other issues. Once I moved to the combo above I could easily triple my miles with more weight and at the end of the day I’d just be tired and sore instead of being tired, sore, and injured.

  20. Christian November 5, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    I wear my hiking shoes on a daily basis. Never had a blister so I figure I must be doing something right! However, my girlfriend suffered from major blisters during our Long Trail hike, moleskins seemed to work great for her as long as she caught the blisters early.

  21. Jennifer November 5, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    The biggest thing that helps my family is to stop at the first sign of a hot spot. Then we can apply moleskin or duck tape before the spot turns into a full blister. I’ve trained my kids to tell me immediately when their feet begin to hurt. We stop, no matter what, and take care of the problem.

  22. Elizabeth November 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    I think the right boots/fit are critical. I am incredibly prone to blisters on my heels when I am wearing the wrong shoes, but have never (knock on wood) had a problem in my current Asolo Stynger GTX’s. I also wear liner socks, summer and winter.

  23. Chris Bell November 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    I have eliminated any blisters by:
    sizing up my shoes by 1 size, wearing a thicker sock for padding and snugness, and proper lacing to keep the foot from sliding around on steep or angled trails. I’ve been blister free regardless of shoe type and whether my feet are wet or dry.

    Biggest issue for me in the past was using thin socks. Always created hot spots. Interesting how we each respond to foot care differently. Other folks eliminate blisters by using thin socks.

  24. Paul Winslow November 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    I find that well fitting hiking boots/shoes is the first step toward preventing blisters. Another thing I do is wear thick(er) socks or double up on socks.

  25. Craig November 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    I use several methods of attack in preventing blisters. Footwear that fits and that I’ve used before on day trips is crucial. I usually tape potential hot spots with duct tape or medical tape and wear a thin merino wool sock either as a liner or as my primary sock in the warmer months of the year. Keeping debris out of my footwear is critical for preventing blisters, so I usually wear a pair of lightweight gaiters.

    I think that paying attention to your feet and adressing hot spots quickly is critical. I have paid dearly every time I ignored a minor foot issue. It didn’t take long for it to become major.

  26. Dan November 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    Usually two pairs of socks if I feel it necessary, but my feet have been toughened from years of use.

  27. DrJackGinther November 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    I alternate between two pairs of socks to keep my feet dry and I choose footwear for ventilation rather than waterproofness. I’ve only ever had hot spots, never had a blister.

  28. Brian Peterson November 5, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    I carry about 3 feet of duct tape wrapped around my tooth brush. The second I get a hot spot or any discomfort, I put duct tape on it. I don’t wait any longer because if the skin gets rubbed off then it’s going to be really bad.

  29. vvsrj November 6, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    Usually nothing, but when needed, I use medical tape.

  30. OutHikingAgain November 6, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    I prepare my feet the night before with Hydropel.
    I also use synthetic liners in combination with thin wool socks.

  31. Arthur Morris November 6, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    All the ideas here are great. I’ll add one of my own that I think is unique. I walk and run barefoot (with no small amount of care) throughout the year to condition the skin on my feet. I rarely get hotspots when hiking now. The main blister potential that remains is the AT area above my heel.

    • Tiki November 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      Authur your comment really hits home with me. I used to have a ton of problems with my feet until I went barefoot. Well not completely bare more like faux barefoot. I got rid of most of my supports but kept the shoes. Other than some initial soreness of getting used to it I haven’t had any of the issues I had before. The book Born To Run really opened my eyes and helped me step back and take a more objective look at why my feet and knees hurt.

  32. Jim Miller November 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    I try to keep my feet dry and wear good fitting shoes, typically running shoes that have used up their life as a running shoe work pretty well. I sacrifice a few ounces carrying extra socks and occasionally some foot powder. Nothing fancy but it does the trick.

  33. Matt November 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    The switch I made from boots to running shoes all but eliminated my blisters. They are more flexible and move with my feet instead of rubbing and chafing the way boots inevitably did. Hydropel does wonders when my feet are likely to stay wet either from precipitation or sweat. Switching to sandals after the day’s hiking is done lets my feet air out and recover from the demands of walking with the added weight of a pack.

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