How to Avoid Blisters When Walking

How to Avoid Blisters When Walking

Keep those sores at bay!

Most of us have experienced horrible sore blisters after a long week of walking on boggy Dartmoor, but did you know that this doesn’t have to be a normal part of your walking routine if you make a few changes?

The common blisters we see with hill walkers on Dartmoor are often caused by poor fitting shoes or very damp feet against poor socks and rubbing inside the boot. Your skin will try to prevent further damage by creating a liquid sack to protect the further layers of skin underneath. If you get good decent socks and a great fitting boot then you can prevent this in the future.

Fitting your boots

You need to make sure that your boots fit properly, this is the best step you can take to prevent blisters. If you are unsure and need guidance then consider visiting a specialist outdoor shop that specialist in a quality boot fitting service - and don’t forget to fit your boots with the socks you are going to wear. When you have a good fitting pair of walking boots, ensure that when you tie your laces that they are tight enough to secure the foot; any heel lift can cause blisters.

Hug your feet with good socks

Cheap cotton socks are the main culprit to those blisters you get from walking; they hold moisture that will irritate the skin when it rubs. try to pick socks that have wicking properties such as merino wool or synthetic materials - I really look Smartwool heavy duty mountaineering socks. Some people like to wear a thinner liner sock inside their main sock, this allows the socks to glide past each other rather than having the skin glide on the main sock - to be honest, I only stick with one pair of socks but this is personal preference. Socks will change the volume of your boot so make sure that you fit boots to the socks you are planning to wear - likewise consider your activities and keep insulation in mind. Additionally, some people like to take spare socks so that they can swap into a dry pair if their socks get wet - I prefer to save the pack space and keep my feet dry (avoid walking through Dartmoor bogs!).

Blister Plasters

Always aim to prevent a blister rather then cure one that could have been avoidable. Keep an eye out for hotspots and deal with it as soon as possible otherwise it might ruin your walking plans for the next day.

To make best use of blister plasters try to use them when they are warm, this can be done by putting it on an inside jacket pocket while you are removing your walking boot - warming up the plaster will make it stickier and less likely to drop off from the skin. Allow your feet to dry out in the air before you stick the blister plaster on; it will not stick very well to your foot if it is damp & sweaty!

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