You’re halfway through your hike, and your feet start to ache. Looking down, you notice the beginnings of a blister forming on your heel. Ouch.
If this isn’t your first time, you might be wondering how to prevent blisters when hiking. The good news is that you can enjoy blister-free hiking adventures with a few simple tips and tricks.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to the trails, this guide is here to help you prevent those pesky blisters from ruining your adventure. Let’s get started.
Blisters are those annoying, painful bumps that can ruin a good hike. But before we learn how to avoid them, it’s crucial to understand why they happen in the first place.
Imagine this: You’re out on a hike, and you’re moving your feet a lot. The insides of your shoes rub against your skin because of all the walking. That rubbing creates heat and sometimes sweat. And when heat, sweat, and rubbing come together, it’s like a recipe for blisters.
So, three things need to happen for blisters to show up:
Your hiking adventure starts with your feet. Picking the perfect footwear is the key to preventing blisters. Here’s what you need to know:
Here is a selection of popular trail runners that offer breathability and are loved by many hikers:
|Brand / Model
|Men / Women
|Saucony Ride 15 TR
|Salomon Ultra Glide 2
|Nike Pegasus Trail 4
|Salomon Ultra Glide 2
|Adidas Terrex Agravic Ultra
|Asics Gel Excite Trail 2
Your choice of socks matters too. High-quality hiking socks made from moisture-wicking materials like merino wool, reducing friction and hot spots. If you want to learn more about sock selection, be sure to check out our post here.
To simplify your selection, we’ve compiled a list of high-quality hiking socks suitable with trail runners:
|Brand / Model
|Darn Tough Element 1/4 Length Light Cushion Socks
|55% Merino Wool , 42% Nylon , 3% Elastane
|Bridgedale Trail Run Ultra Light T2 Coolmax Sport
|37% Polyester / CoolMax , 60 % Nylon / Polyamide , 3% Elastane
|CEP Hiking Light Merino Low Cut Socks
|79% Polyamide , 10% Merino Wool , 11% Elastane
|Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Socks
|35% CoolMax EcoMade, 63% Nylon, 2% Elastane
For good foot hygiene, also, carrying an extra pair of socks enhances foot comfort and prevents blisters. If your feet feel sweaty, take a moment to swap your damp socks for clean, dry ones during your break.
When you’re hiking, your feet can get sweaty and damp, especially on a hot day or during a challenging hike. Moisture is one of the things that can lead to blisters, but don’t worry; there are ways to manage it:
Did you know that how you lace your hiking shoes can make a big difference in preventing blisters and ensuring a comfortable hike? Let’s explore the art of lacing your shoes the right way:
Taping might not sound like a glamorous part of hiking, but it’s an effective technique for preventing those pesky blisters. Here’s how to tape up your feet for a blister-free hike:
To be extra cautious, you can apply a thin layer of lubricant such as petroleum jelly or anti-chafe balm over the tape. This will reduce friction against the tape, preventing it from rubbing your skin raw.
For complete confidence in taping your feet, you can watch this instructional video:
Despite your best efforts, blisters can still sneak up on you during a hike. It’s essential to know how to deal with them on the trail so they don’t ruin your adventure.
If you start feeling a blister forming during your hike, don’t ignore it. Stop right away and assess the situation. If you have blister treatment products like Moleskin, bandages, or athletic tape, use them to cover and protect the blister.
At times, blisters may require draining. Use a sterile needle to release fluid, relieving pressure. Keep it clean.
Once you’ve treated the blister, it’s best to leave it uncovered if possible. When you’re in camp or at home, take off your hiking boots and let the blister breathe.
Hiking is an incredible outdoor adventure, but the sheer joy of it can be quickly overshadowed by the discomfort of blisters.
To prevent blisters, choose the right footwear, keep your feet dry, and use proper lacing techniques. Carrying extra socks and taping your feet can help too.
In some cases, despite your best efforts, blisters might start forming during your hike. If you notice this, don’t ignore it. Take immediate action to address the issue.
We hope that with these tips, you can hike blister-free and enjoy nature’s beauty. Happy hiking!
To prevent painful blisters while hiking, wear properly fitted, broken-in hiking shoes or shoes with good merino wool hiking socks to wick moisture and provide cushioning – be sure to pack extra pairs. Keep your feet dry by airing them out on breaks, using foot powder, and changing damp socks. Tape hot spots or blister-prone areas before hitting the trail. Adjust your laces throughout the hike to account for swelling feet and downhill sections. Take regular breaks to let your feet rest and switch to camp shoes. Stay hydrated to avoid dehydration which can increase blister risk. Manage friction, moisture, and heat on your feet with preparation and preventative care so you can hike blister-free.
Using quality hiking insoles can be an effective way to help prevent painful blisters when hitting the trail. They provide extra cushioning and support, absorbing shock and reducing friction that causes blisters. Look for insoles with moisture-wicking and antimicrobial properties to keep your feet drier. Properly fitted insoles that don’t allow your feet to slide will limit shear friction. Break them in before longer hikes to maximize comfort. Combine insoles with proper hiking socks and shoes to manage moisture, friction, and impact for blister-free hiking.
If you develop a blister while hiking, you can often keep going if you take immediate action. Stop and assess the blister, cover it with a bandage, change socks if they’re damp, and monitor it. If it worsens or becomes painful, it’s best to halt your hike and seek medical attention. Prevention is crucial, so take steps to avoid blisters before hitting the trail.
The time it takes for a blister to heal and for you to comfortably walk on it can vary based on factors like its size, type, and severity. Generally, smaller blisters may take a few days to a week to heal, while larger or more painful ones can take longer. Proper care and treatment can help speed up the healing process, but it’s crucial to listen to your body and avoid walking on a blister until it’s comfortable to do so.