Walks And Walking – 5 Top Tips On How To Deal With And Prevent Blisters

Walks And Walking – 5 Top Tips On How To Deal With And Prevent Blisters

My new Scarpa walking boots have been a little unforgiving so far during the “breaking in” process so I have been looking in to how to manage and prevent blisters. I started with easy 3 mile walking routes in the recent snow that gave me a 50p size blister on my right foot with the left foot so far unscathed.

I have had to resort back to my The North Face walking boots which have now lost their waterproofing with the rubber rand deteriorating rapidly. The leather upper is fine and I tried to look after them the best I can so there aren’t any cracks across the toe but the Gore-Tex lining has now got holes in. I couldn’t get these boots resoled so I had to buy a new pair. I decided on the Scarpa walking boots as they can be resoled if need be and due to the thickness of the calf leather don’t require a Gore-tex lining to be waterproof.

Walks And Walking - My Old The North Face Walking Boots

Walks And Walking - My Old The North Face Walking Boots

Walks And Walking - My New Scarpa Walking Boots

Walks And Walking - My New Scarpa Walking Boots


So, back to the blisters!

1. Get your walking boots properly fitted.

Go to a shop that knows about the bio mechanics of the foot and leg and how it all works as they will know how to measure your foot for both width and length. They will then be able to best match your foot to a type of boot that is suitable for you. You should know immediately if they feel right and don’t slip about. If in doubt then don’t buy them. I went to the shop early in the morning as I knew my feet wouldn’t be swollen from walking around all day at work. If you have time try them on again later in the day when your feet are a little more swollen and compare how the same boots fit. I knew instinctively that the Scarpa boots were perfect for me.

2. Wear two pairs of socks.

The technical theory behind this is that the inner liner sock moves with your foot and the outer hiking socks move with the boot. The friction is then created between the two layers. The other benefit to this method is that the inner liner sock wicks away moisture from your foot keeping it dryer and thus stopping your skin getting soft and wrinkly and prone to blisters. This is a technique I have been using for a few years and normally works a treat after my walking boots had been worn in. I can do a good 15 or so miles and my feet are completely blister free.

3. Wear your walking boots in.

Give them a good walking around so they get used to how your foot works and where it need to bend with your foot if the sole is quite flexible. Flexible soles will also soften up the leather and fabric but don’t go straight out on long walks to break them in. For a more rigid sole like the Scarpa’s they tend to have a rolling action to help keep you moving forward so it is more like having to train your feet to roll with the motion of the boots. I have been taking a steady approach to my walking and focussing on how best to walk so I am more in tune with the boots. (That’s what spending too much time in the outdoors does to you!!)

4. Get some blister prevention patches and plenty of blister plasters.

I’ve read about Blister Prevention Plasters but I would rather go through the pain and get it out-of-the-way. Blister Prevention Patches fit on the inside of your walking boot heels and they them seem to prevent blisters. I bought some blister plasters but they rub off after a while and end up somewhere else in my socks when I take my boots off!

5. Tape up your heels with zinc oxide tape.

As odd as it sounds it works brilliantly. Buy some zinc oxide tape and put a couple of layers over your heel. If you already have a blister then use a blister plaster first to cover the open wound and then strap your heel up and you are good to go. You still feel a little discomfort but it does the job for me.

Enjoy these tips and enjoy your walking routes, blister free and without grimacing with pain on every step!

9 responses to “Walks And Walking – 5 Top Tips On How To Deal With And Prevent Blisters”

  1. Andy Jones says:

    Always had me curious have blisters. Sometimes you can wear the same boots with the same socks in the same conditions and sometimes you get blisters and some not.

    The plaster over the blister covered by Zinc Oxide tape is a great fix IF you can lay your hands on the old style very sticky stuff. The new Zinc tape is rubbish and just peels off



  2. I’m lucky, I only go through the pain barrier once and then my boots are OK. (Famous last words!)

  3. Mark Kelly says:

    One of my friends swears by double socks as well. I tend to go with just the one thick (walking ) pair. I don’t tend to get blisters but it could be more luck than anything. Nice set of tips, cheers David

  4. Learnt a trick today that Merino Wool socks are also very good. I used to wear Brasher wool socks but they were like scouring pads on my heels!

  5. Tim Cooper says:

    Perhaps i’m lucky, or i have stumbled across the right setup, but i haven’t had a blister in over 2 years including the 1000 miles i walked last year. (Meindl Burma Pro’s/Saloman Quests, merino socks)

    1a. If you have an issue with ‘self-hydrating’ feet, i’d suggest getting a fabric type boot for the non-winter months at least. Leather ‘4season’ boots do a great job of keeping the water out, but a less effective job of removing the water that you generate from exercise.

    2a. Get the right socks. Merino socks as we discussed are very good at wicking moisture away and preventing blisters.

    3a. Taking shorter, closer to home walks will also tell you if there are likely to be any issues with your boots. Better to get a blister problem to troubleshoot outside the local pub than 1/2 way up Skiddaw! 😉

    4a. Sheep wool. If you get the chance, pull some ‘raw’ sheep wool from fences and hedges and hang onto it. If you find yourself getting a blister, place a pad of the wool over the affected area with the sock on top. The lanolin in the raw wool will help sooth and reduce the upcoming blister.

  6. Does your knowledge know no bounds Tim?!

  7. Tim Cooper says:

    Just stuff i’ve picked up along the way. Full of sh……..useless information, me. 🙂

  8. I had to replenish my supplies and found some good stuff here: firstaid4sport.co.uk/product.asp?pf_id=4670

  9. Anonymous says:

    I always wear 2 pairs of sock, a very thin pair (Bridgedale inner socks) then my Darn Tough Socks. I will also check the lacing of my boots for comfort within a short time after starting a walk. Proper fitting of new boots is also essential. I no longer suffer blisters.

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