I was sidelined earlier last winter for two weeks with two enormous heel blisters, the size of quarters, after hiking the Kinsman Mountains in January. I have a pair of worn out liners in my mountaineering boots that should probably be replaced and my preventative sock and heel taping system completely failed.
Perhaps more troubling is that I ignored the minor discomfort I was feeling during the hike and wrote it off, despite the fact that I was gouging holes into my feet. These weren’t just puss filled blisters, but deep scabbed-over wounds that made it impossible for me to wear anything except open-backed crocs for over a week. It was grim.
Fast forward to the solution: Leukotape.
After my blisters healed, I switched from taping my heels with duct tape to something called Leukotape. Not only is it tougher than duct tape, but it is stickier too and you can wear it for days at a time without having to replace it. That’s especially good on winter hiking and mountaineering trips when your feet sweat under gaiters and multiple layers of socks and you want tape that will stay stuck.
Leukotape is a non-latex tape that is very resistant to tearing and has an extremely strong zinc oxide adhesive. It’s best used as a preventative over potential hot spots and not something you want to put over an open blister. Leukotape is non-elastic so it has no give in it and is very different from kinesiotape, which is stretchy and is commonly used by physical therapists to tape limbs or body parts for better alignment or function.
Although Leukotape is sticky, it ‘s quite easy to pull off by hand and won’t tear your skin off when you remove it. Some people also coat their feet using Benzoin Tincture before applying Leukotape to make their skin even stickier, but I haven’t found that to be necessary and just use the tape from the roll as is.
As a for-instance, I hiked 34 miles in snowshoes, microspikes, and crampons over a 3 day period this weekend without having to retape my heals once. The tape felt very natural on my skin and didn’t leave any sticky residue behind after I peeled it off.
Priced at about $9 a roll, it takes a long time to use up a roll of Leukotape and it’s less expensive than many other blister prevention solutions out there from moleskin to my old friend, Mr Duct Tape.
Disclosure: The author paid for this product with his own funds.
Written 2013. Updated 2015.
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