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How to Prevent Blisters

Blisters can ruin your mojo and cause severe discomfort on the move. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Read this guide to uncover some tried and tested ways to prevent blisters.

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Painful, frustrating and debilitating, blisters can be a real problem in our day-to-day lives. While they can be found in many places across the body, you’ll most often find them on your feet, thanks to the shoes you’re wearing.

Whether on your toes, heels or the ball of your foot, let’s take a closer look at how to prevent blisters from shoes.

What is a blister?

First things first, let’s look at what a blister is. Put simply, it’s a bubble of fluid that forms between the top layers of skin. This pocket prevents further damage and gives the sore skin below time to heal – so don’t pop it!

Understanding what causes blisters can help us to prevent them. While they can occur for all sorts of reasons, from medical conditions to burns or infections, they’re most commonly caused by heat or friction. This is why we might spot them after wearing shoes that rub.

So, what is the best thing to prevent blisters? Let’s explore some simple ways to keep them at bay.

10 proven ways to prevent blisters

Wear socks with shoes

The simplest answer is you should always wear a clean pair of socks with shoes to prevent blisters from forming. They create an extra protective layer between your skin and the shoe, stopping them from rubbing. This alone can help!

Wearing socks can prevent blisters

Protect your feet

Not only should you wear socks, but the right kind too. Blisters are more likely to occur on moist skin, so aim for breathable or moisture-wicking socks. Merino wool or Coolmax are a good bet, particularly when you’re exercising. In contrast, natural fabric, cotton alternatives retain foot sweat, which can encourage blisters.

Opt for thicker, more resilient socks. Or if it isn’t too hot outside, you could even wear two pairs if you’re worried! Our favourite for hiking and outdoor activities are these brilliant socks from Smartwool.

Make sure your shoes fit properly

Let’s face it, most blisters are caused by the shoes we wear. Are your shoes the right fit? Shoes that are too tight and too loose can cause blisters from friction. Understanding how your shoes should fit is incredibly important to help you find an added comfort level and prevent pesky blisters from forming.

Feet come in different shapes and sizes. So, always ask yourself whether the type of shoes that you’re wearing are right for your feet.

We recommend researching the healthiest shoes to wear for your feet to avoid common foot problems like blisters and others such as overpronation and plantar fasciitis. Don’t underestimate the importance of good quality materials.

If you’re looking for a dressier shoe such as an Oxford, or smart casual shoes like Chukka boots, opt for good quality leather and suede as these mould around the foot.


If you often get blisters from your feet rubbing against your shoes, you’ll want to reduce the friction. Take inspiration from athletes and use petroleum jelly. While you might feel greasy, this helps to make your feet slide rather than rub. Goodbye blisters!

Keep your feet dry

If you tend to get sweaty feet, you need to find ways to keep them dry, as moist feet are more blister prone. Use products such as talcum powder in your socks, or you can even use antiperspirant! We love this heavy-duty, foot-specific antiperspirant from SweatGuard.

How to prevent blisters while exercising

Stop when you feel pain

You should stop the activity that you’re doing if you feel any pain or discomfort. You’re not on SAS Who Dares Wins. If your skin starts to turn red and becomes sensitive, a hot spot may be forming. This is when you need to take a break. Either swap shoes or stop the activity altogether.

Take breaks

Similarly, if you’re out for a long time, taking short breaks can help to prevent blisters. Remove your socks and shoes to help cool your feet down and dry them before heading off again.

If you’re out shopping in a busy city, you may want to find a slightly quieter spot.

How to prevent blisters

Use tape, padding or moleskin

If these other preventative tips aren’t doing it for you, you might need to call in some other reinforcements. Tape, padding or moleskin can be really helpful to manage friction. Just wrap them around the relevant areas of your feet to help protect them. If you don’t want to strap anything to your feet, you can also buy friction management patches for the inside of your shoes.

Use blister plasters

Taking a break or stopping the activity altogether are the ideal options to prevent blisters from forming. However, we understand that this isn’t always possible!

If you’re out and about for a long time, pack some blister plasters and apply them as soon as you start to feel soreness arising. These will help to prevent any nasty blisters from developing. They are also handy if a bubble does start to appear, as they can soften the friction against your shoe. You can even get blister pads that help heal the skin.

Wear new shoes for shorter periods

New shoes are a common culprit when it comes to blisters. We’ve all been through the pain of wearing a new pair of shoes out and about on the day you get them, only to find your feet in tatters in the evening.

Yes, it’s difficult not to be impatient when you’ve got some fresh wheels. But the only way to prevent blisters from new shoes is to break them in.

Don’t go on a hike around town in brand new Oxfords! They need to form around the shape of your feet first. Take it slow, only going on short walks to begin with, particularly with new sports shoes and dress shoes. Build up your mileage.

Best thing to prevent blisters

Prevent blisters between your toes

If you’re specifically prone to blisters between the toes, there are a few other measures that you can take. On top of lubricants, extra pairs of socks and taping to help with friction, you can buy wedges that fit between your toes or even toe socks!

Allergies and infections such as athlete's foot are other causes of blisters between your toes. Make sure you seek medical help if you get persistent blisters.

Prevent blisters on the ball of your foot

Whether in the middle of the forefoot or under the big or little toe knuckle, blisters on the ball of your foot can be a real pain. They’re caused by pressure and high friction. The best way to prevent these blisters is with cushioned insoles or blister patches for the insole of your shoe.

Prevent blisters on the back of your heel

Blisters on the back of your heel are often from ill-fitting shoes. Here are our top tips for avoiding heel blisters:

  • ·When you try shoes on for the first time, make sure that you’re wearing your typical day-to-day socks to get the most accurate fitting.

  • ·Try on shoes late in the day so that your feet are at their biggest. Your feet swell as the day goes on!

  • Buy insoles that shape the shoe correctly to your feet. These will make sure that your feet aren’t pushed up against the back of your shoes.

  • Always choose shoes made from quality materials like leather. Although it may seem rigid and likely to give you blisters, if you buy the best type of leather it will soften to the shape of your foot.

  • Wear your shoes in first! All shoes, even canvas trainers or espadrilles, can be sources of rubbing.

Armed with these tips and tricks, you’ll be prepared to keep your feet blister-free. Did you find this useful? Subscribe to our newsletter below for more foot health tips and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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