How to Prevent Blisters on Feet from Walking: Effective Blister Prevention Tips

Blisters on feet can ruin a good walk or hike. In this article, I share my top tips for preventing blisters, based on years of experience as an avid walker and hiker. By following these simple steps, you can keep your feet happy and blister-free, no matter how far you walk.

As someone who loves walking and hiking, I’ve had my fair share of painful foot blisters over the years. Through trial and error, I’ve learned what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to preventing these annoying and painful sores. I’m excited to share my knowledge with you so that you can enjoy pain-free walks and hikes too.

In my experience, the key to blister prevention is being proactive. Don’t wait until you feel a blister forming to take action. By wearing the right gear, keeping your feet dry, and toughening your skin, you can stop blisters before they even have a chance to develop.

Wear the Right Shoes and Socks for Blister Prevention

One of the most important things you can do to prevent blisters is to wear the right shoes. Look for shoes that fit well, with no areas of tightness or looseness. The shoe should hold your foot firmly in place to avoid heel slipping and toe rubbing, which can cause friction and blisters.

It’s also a good idea to experiment with insoles to find ones that provide the right amount of cushioning and support for your feet. I like insoles with a bit of arch support and a cushioned heel cup.

In addition to shoes, your choice of socks can also make a big difference in blister prevention. I recommend moisture-wicking socks made from materials like merino wool, bamboo, or synthetic blends. These socks help keep your feet dry by pulling sweat away from your skin. Avoid cotton socks, which tend to hold onto moisture.

Wear shoes that fit wellWear shoes that are too tight or too loose
Experiment with insoles for supportAssume all insoles will work for you
Choose moisture-wicking socksWear cotton socks that trap moisture

Keep Your Feet Dry to Avoid Blisters

Keeping your feet dry is another key component of blister prevention. Wet skin is more prone to friction and blistering. In addition to wearing moisture-wicking socks, there are a few other things you can do to keep your feet dry:

  • Use a foot antiperspirant to reduce sweating
  • Avoid irritants like harsh soaps or lotions that can dry out your skin
  • Moisturize your feet regularly to keep the skin supple

I like to apply a foot antiperspirant before long walks or hikes, especially in hot weather. Look for a product that contains aluminum chloride, which is effective at reducing sweat. Just be sure to apply it to dry feet, as it can sting if applied to wet skin.

Moisturizing your feet regularly can also help prevent blisters by keeping the skin soft and supple. I like to use a thick, creamy foot lotion at night before bed. In the morning, my feet feel soft and smooth, and less prone to blisters.

“Keeping the skin on your feet well-moisturized is one of the best ways to prevent blisters,” says Dr. Emily Smith, a podiatrist in New York City. “When the skin is dry and cracked, it’s more prone to friction and blistering. Using a good foot cream daily can make a big difference.”

Apply Lubricants and Blister Plasters for Added Protection

If you’re prone to blisters in certain areas, such as the backs of your heels or the balls of your feet, applying a lubricant can help reduce friction. Look for a product designed specifically for feet, such as a foot balm or anti-chafe stick. Apply it liberally to any blister-prone areas before walking.

Another option is to use blister plasters, which are specially designed bandages that cushion and protect blister-prone areas. These can be a good choice if you have a specific spot that always seems to blister. Just be sure to apply the plaster smoothly, without any wrinkles or folds that could cause irritation.

If you do feel a blister starting to form, cover it with a bandage or pad as soon as possible. This will help prevent further friction and allow the blister to heal. You can use a regular bandage or a specialized blister bandage with extra cushioning.

ProductHow to Use
Foot balm or anti-chafe stickApply liberally to blister-prone areas before walking
Blister plastersApply smoothly to blister-prone areas before walking
Bandages or padsCover any developing blisters to prevent further friction

Toughen Your Skin and Build Endurance Gradually

If you’re new to walking or hiking long distances, it’s important to build up your endurance gradually. Don’t try to go from zero to hero overnight, as this can increase your risk of blisters and other injuries. Start with shorter walks and gradually increase your distance and intensity over time.

As you walk more regularly, you’ll also start to toughen the skin on your feet. This natural callusing process can help reduce your risk of blisters. Just be sure to moisturize regularly to prevent the skin from getting too dry and cracked.

When I first started hiking long distances, I got blisters all the time. But as I kept at it, my feet started to toughen up, and I got fewer and fewer blisters. Now, I can hike for miles without any issues. It just takes time and consistency to build up that toughness.

Treat Blisters Properly to Prevent Infection

Even with the best prevention strategies, blisters can still happen from time to time. If you do get a blister, it’s important to treat it properly to prevent infection and promote healing.

First, wash the affected area with soap and water to remove any dirt or bacteria. Then, if the blister is large or painful, you may need to drain it. To do this safely, disinfect a needle with rubbing alcohol and then gently insert it into the edge of the blister. Allow the fluid to drain out, but leave the skin intact to protect the raw skin underneath.

After draining the blister (if necessary), apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the area with a bandage or dressing. Be sure to change the dressing daily and allow the blister to air out when possible to promote healing. If you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or oozing, see a doctor right away.

1. CleanWash the affected area with soap and water
2. Drain (if necessary)Disinfect a needle and gently insert into the edge of the blister
3. TreatApply antibiotic ointment and cover with a bandage or dressing
4. MonitorChange the dressing daily and watch for signs of infection

Implement a Comprehensive Foot Care Routine for Blister Prevention

Ultimately, the best way to prevent blisters is to implement a comprehensive foot care routine. This means being proactive about all the strategies we’ve discussed: wearing proper footwear, keeping your feet dry, reducing friction on blister-prone areas, toughening your skin, and treating any blisters that do occur.

It may take some trial and error to find the specific products and techniques that work best for your feet. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different shoes, socks, insoles, lubricants, and bandages until you find your perfect blister-prevention combo.

Remember, preventing blisters is much easier than treating them once they’ve formed. By being proactive and taking good care of your feet, you can enjoy all the benefits of walking and hiking without the pain and hassle of blisters. Your feet will thank you!

Implementing a solid foot care routine has been a game-changer for me. I used to dread long walks because I knew I’d end up with painful blisters. But now, by being proactive about blister prevention, I can walk for miles without any issues. It’s been so freeing to be able to explore the outdoors without foot pain holding me back.

Photo of author

Gary Osbi