How to Prevent Blisters:

Some people are susceptible to them and others aren't but it is much easier to prevent blisters rather than have to treat them. Below are some ideas.

  • If it is going to rain in your run or race, rub in a light coating of olive oil. It waterproofs the foot to a degree. Waterlogged skin gets chewed up a lot more easily than otherwise (think about what your skin is like after a long bath, now think what would happen if you rubbed it over and over!) Corn starch or talc is great for quickly drying feet.
  • Noticed a hot spot. Apply some petroleum jelly, it's a thicker lubricant than olive oil and stays around longer.
  • Noticed another hot spot and you're in the middle of nowhere. Move your insole a few millimeters to the left or right. Sometimes it stops the friction. Alternatively lace your shoes in a different manner. It may stop some foot movement and friction enough to prevent a blister.
  • Tried the above and your still in the middle of nowhere and you are about to stop. As a last resort take out the insole altogether. It's not the best because you are removing some cushioning and changing what you are familiar with, but it might move your foot to a different position and allow you to continue.
  • Use some duct tape. If your foot is rubbing on a seam or section of the shoe, a piece of duct tape covering the offending section can help.
  • Do you have a pair of shoes that seem to keep giving you blisters? Before you throw them out try taking out the factory insole and changing it with an upgrade. Paying a few dollars for a descent insole is a lot less than a new pair of joggers.
  • Check your shoes before you buy them or before your run. Most shoes are pretty good now days but it is worth running your fingers through the inside of your jogger to check for any protruding seams before you start using them, especially if you are blister prone.
  • Remove things that might rub. Many shoes have unnecessary logo's, they are free floating and not involved with the shoes performance. You can take to them with a blade and cut them off. Be careful though, some are involved in the structure and support of the shoe and you may notice the change.
  • Chose your socks wisely. Again, unnecessary seams or different materials that are used in socks can rub in different ways. I had a friend get a blister using supposedly blister proof socks, so be wary of wild claims.
  • Get the right fitting products and train in what shoes and socks you are going to be using on race day. That way you know what works.
  • Toughen up your feet. Go for a run on the beach in soft sand every now and then. It can toughen up and harden the skin making it harder for your shoe or sock to create a blister.

Grahak Cunningham is one of Australia's best keynote motivational speakers and is four time finisher of the Self Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, the worlds longest ultra-marathon. There was a competitor before his time who reportedly withdrew because he got blisters on top of his blister.