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Author Topic: Problems with blisters  (Read 18664 times)
Energetic Member
Posts: 19

« on: January 23, 2011, 11:37:43 am »

Guys et al

Just wondering if anyone can offer my some assistance with this one, cos it's getting tedious.

I always get (water) blisters from hiking. Always on my right foot and always between my big toe and my pad.  I wear decent (ish) leather boots and always use decent (apparently professional) walking socks.  I can be up on the hills or out walking long distances.

Until recently I've lived with it, but am now in training for the WHW and last night was in so much pain that I needed both the vodka and the pain killers.

Has anyone got any pre-walk remedies for this or any experience with how to stop getting blisters?
Trusted Member
Posts: 47

« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2011, 09:17:53 am »

Nothing worse than continually having feet problems. Here are a couple of suggestions.
1.  I would have a good think about your boots and socks. Make sure you have good quality, comfortable and properly fitting boots. I now generally wear lightweight boots and find them to be excellent for most non-winter walking conditions. I have a pair of Berghaus Explorer which I find are great for me, excellent for long distance walking. There are other manufacturers who may have equally good boots.
2. If boots are not the cause, try rubbing vaseline on the outside of the socks where you find you have a problem. Also rub it directly onto those parts of your feet which blister. This reduces the friction.
3.  Good socks are also an essential and worth spending extra on to get better quality. Nothing worse than having your enjoyment spoilt by trying to save a couple of £££.

Hope this helps?
Energetic Member
Posts: 19

« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 07:44:07 pm »


Thanks for the reply.  I've also posed this question on UK.Rec.Walking and had similar responses so it doesn't look like I'm alone in this area.

I've got lots of ideas to try now, and am hoping for a blister-free WHW.

Many thanks for the reply.
Senior Member
Posts: 225

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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2011, 05:49:02 pm »

Welcome, Steve

Sorry not to have seen your question sooner, as it's an important one and good answers could benefit lots of people.  Here's my tuppenceworth:

Preventing blisters involves (at least) two approaches:

a) make sure your walking boots and socks are best suited to your feet; personally I find that socks made with Merino wool are the only kind that last more than a day (but my feet sweat a lot Embarrassed).  Smartwool socks are Merino and widely advertised, but expensive; Foothill used to sell excellent socks that were much better value but sadly their website suggests they may no longer be trading. 

My favourite boots are Scarpa ML3s but it's always a matter of finding out what fits your foot shape (and accepting that your feet may be slightly different lengths!)  Also if the boots are too hot, your feet will be softened by the sweat and blister more easily, so try lighter/cooler footwear if possible.  Maybe use or carry trekking sandals where weather permits?

b) dry out and toughen up your feet long before you set off: this may be as simple as using sandals/bare feet whenever possible for a while, or daily rubbing with methylated sprits (known as surgical spirit across the Pond) or foot-bathing with a crystal of potassium permanganate (best of all, but less convenient).

If you feel trouble coming along as you hike, try changing into a fresh pair of socks or, if things have gone too far, use Compeed or other second-skin protection as soon as you feel the problem: don't postpone! 

For more on foot care, please see our advice here.  Please let us know what works for you, and tell us how your WHW goes.

Jacquetta Megarry, publisher of Rucksack Readers and forum moderator
Trusted Member
Posts: 41

« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2011, 07:36:42 pm »


As others have said, everyone has to find their own solution.  If I read you right, the problem is under the big toe and just behind it.
If so, I suggest applying tape - micropore tape, for example - before you walk each day. Don't be mean with it, or it might just wrinkle and make things worse.

The advice about getting the right boot/sock combination is commonsense, and unfortunately it's a matter of trial and error. I'm in favour of applying surgical spirit ahead of the walk - you don't want to carry it.

A very experienced walker told me he and his wife walked LEJoG in that really hot summer about 7 or 8 years ago and never had a blister.  He put it down to stopping every 2 hours, taking off boots and socks for 10 minutes and drying out.  Changing socks at the same time would be even better.

I was consulting a boot repairer a couple of weeks ago, and he reckons we sweat a pint into each boot during the course of a day's walk.  That nugget of information should keep the drinkers amused next time things go quiet in the tap room!
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 07:58:03 pm by admin » Logged
Kiarna Boyd
Posts: 3

« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 04:04:53 pm »

I've recently had success avoiding blisters with thinner socks with built-in liners. I used to wear boot socks for padding and warmth but am now experimenting with liners and over socks. As my smallest toe is a bit of a runt and tends to blister next to the next toe, I'm looking for individual toe liner socks. Seems a bit crazy specialized, but they might make my much loved boot socks more comfortable.

In the UK I was saved on the GGW by the blister bandages/plasters that pretty much armored my existing ones. Haven't spotted a similar product here in the US yet of the same quality.
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