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.
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!