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Douglas Hus
(Hustler) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Blisters on 01/29/2007 14:43:13 MST Print View

Greetings, my friend is somewhat on the opposite end of the light weight backpacking spectrum.
For years now we have had to shorten our trips.
He suffers from 1" diameter blisters on the back of his heals, within the first couple days.
All though it is some what humorus to watch him hall out his huge medical first aid kit, I feel for him.
As an MD there is no shortage as to how much treatment he puts into it. His medical kit is about 10X10X10", he believes he could do minor surgery.
(he does not like wool sox)

Are there any "how not to get blisters" articles out there or on this site.


(and no ....its not me)


Edited by Hustler on 01/29/2007 14:44:30 MST.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
What type of footgear is he wearing? on 01/29/2007 15:05:04 MST Print View

running shoes or boots?
What type of socks?
What size street shoe vs what size hiking boot/shoe?
Liner socks?
Foot powder?

Alec Muthig
(Alekat) - F

Locale: Wyoming, USA
Re: Blisters on 01/29/2007 16:01:44 MST Print View

Pick up a copy of John Vonhof's "Fixing Your Feet." Worth every cent.

Also look at blister suplies at

I have had success with Engo patches.
They apply to the shoe rather than the foot.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: What type of footgear is he wearing? on 01/29/2007 16:18:49 MST Print View

The only thing I can add to Mark's comments is the best way to avoid blisters is to hike more. Calluses retard blisters.

How many times a year does the guy pack?

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Re: What type of footgear is he wearing? on 01/29/2007 16:58:07 MST Print View

I agree with Alec, have him purchase "Fixing Your Feet" 4th edition. It is truly "the Bible" of footcare and goes into just about anything that can affect ones' feet. Money well spent.


Locale: South West US
Re: Blisters on 01/29/2007 17:01:10 MST Print View

If he's getting blisters on the back of his heels that means his boots are either too big, not a good fit or not laced snugly.

When trying on boots use the incline (or just use the floor) and stand up on your toes. Your heels should not move out of the heel cup at all. The less movement the better. If your heels move more than a 1/4 inch out of the heel cup it is because of the reasons above ... too big, too loose or an improper fit. Try a different size or different boot if that's the case.

For you toes just kick something or walk down hill and try to get you toes to touch the front. If they do touch you've gone too small or again don't have a good fit. Try another size or boot.

The idea is to get the boot as big as possible (to give your toes enough space) without being too big (no heel lift).

If you can get those two criteria met and the boot is comfortable to walk in then the next step is to take them outside and give 'em a try (after break-in of course) on short hikes that gradually increase with weight and length. Usually you can tell right away on a short hike if it's gonna work out however, some take time to let you know your not welcome.

Hope this helps!

Edited by oiboyroi on 01/29/2007 17:03:21 MST.

Douglas Hus
(Hustler) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Blisters on 01/29/2007 17:08:29 MST Print View

We only get together once a year.
He is a doctor, soft shoes on a soft floor.
He probably wears nylon sox.
....maybe ....even .......cotton.
no foot powder.
He does like to wear running shoe.
He has funny ankles, so he does not like to wear boots.

Just wondering if there has been anything posted here in the past.



Alec Muthig
(Alekat) - F

Locale: Wyoming, USA
Re: Blisters on 01/29/2007 17:57:35 MST Print View

In addition to shoe fit, whether boots or trail runners, changing socks throughout the day goes a long way in prevention. Once the skin gets macerated from sweat-soaked socks, the potential for blistering is greater.

Maybe on your next trip, pull out some Engo patches before hand and give 'em a try. Two weeks before the Leadville Trail 100 run, my trusty Montrail Hardrocks suddenly didn't fit quite right. They were loose in the heel and pushing me toward blisters. I wasn't sure what casued it or what to do so close to the race. I decided to tape my feet with coaches tape like I had done in the past. At race checkin they handed out Engo samples. Usually I don't try anything new during a race, but I gave them a go. Applied one patch to the back of the problematic shoe. No friction, no hot spots, no sign of blisters - up over Hope Pass and back, across multiple waist-deep stream crossings. They stayed on and kept my heel in great shape.

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Re: Blisters on 01/29/2007 18:25:51 MST Print View

Another helpful tip is to take off your shoes and socks during a break from hiking if the weather allows. Letting the air get to the feet even for a few minutes can go a long way in keeping them from getting too moist and soft. It sounds like it wouldn't do much, but it really helps keep them more comfortable. Even shoes with a lot of mesh make the feet a lot hotter than without them. Let 'em breathe.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:Blisters and how to prevent. on 01/29/2007 20:45:23 MST Print View

I worked out the blister problem the hard way; three years active duty in the Army, through trial and error. Here is what worked for me.. Each person has found their own unique solution.

Blisters come from only one root cause, shear forces in layers of skin, which then separate from the underlying layers.
- Most important and top of the list, is toughening your feet. Calouses can take the shear, soft skin can not. Toughen your feet on a daily basis. Choose a daily wear sock and shoe more like your hiking configuration.

- Now you have toughened your feet, choose the right hiking shoe. Loose boots/shoes move relative to the foot, thus inducing shear forces, so choose a shoe with the correct 'last'. Wear two pair of socks to transfer any remaining relative motion to the gap between socks instead of the gap between sock and foot.

- Wet spongy skin is more suceptible to shear forces so keep feet dry. Use hydrophobic socks. Gold Bond powder before a hike helps keep them dry during the hike. Use non-goretex shoes for a dry hike, goretex ones for a wet hike. Never spray your boots with any coating which reduces breathability.

Taping feet is a last resort to relocate shear forces to the surface of the tape/pad/donut. If you notice a hot-spot on your feet, stop and tape it before it becomes a blister. And then next hike try a different combination of the above treatment/sock/shoe. Iterate, possibly for years, until you find what works and never worry about feet again.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Blisters on 01/29/2007 22:09:35 MST Print View

I carry at all times the Bandaid blister care:
There are a couple versions out there of it, but hands down, they are teh best thing you can put on blisters, open or not. They stay on for days, are waterproof and stay put. They cushion the whole area, fill in the cracks left by open blisters and allow you to hike!
You can find them with the bandaids at Walmart, Target, etc. I recently found a version with silver in them even.

Nobody believes me how well these work till they try them!

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Blisters on 01/30/2007 03:08:28 MST Print View

3M NexCare bandages (clear, other than the padded area, "band-aids" - to misue the Tradename) perform well also - waterproof & stay on for days (even through showering each day when at home). That's not to say that "days" is necessarily a good thing as it's often wise to examine the healing process of a wound/abrasion/laceration, etc. for early signs of infection and to change the dressing, etc.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Blisters on 01/30/2007 03:09:05 MST Print View

All sound advice. Fix the problem is the right way to go.

However, until then, why wait until a blister forms?

A piece of moleskin or duct tape (anything that will properly act as a fresh interface/surface b/t the sheer forces Brett was speaking of) over a hot spot works wonders to keep a hot spot from becoming a blister. Duct tape or tincture of benzoin, works well to hold a bandage/bandaid/dressing in place.

Edited by pj on 01/30/2007 03:25:06 MST.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA tape 1st aid kit on 01/30/2007 04:29:10 MST Print View

PJ, good tip about the duck(duct, 100mph, etc..) tape treatment. This site shows so many medical uses for it; it could be an UL medical kit in an of itself?!
duck tape first aid

Edited by Brett1234 on 01/30/2007 04:29:40 MST.

Robert McGaughey
(havoc) - F

Locale: North Texas tape 1st aid kit on 01/30/2007 07:23:21 MST Print View

And if it has the really good ultralite shave kit as well..... :)

george carr
(hammer-one) - F - MLife

Locale: Walking With The Son
Blisters on 02/09/2007 17:02:56 MST Print View

I started using Sportslick about 3 seasons ago and have not had a blister since. I now consider it essential gear.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Blisters on 02/10/2007 02:09:52 MST Print View

> Are there any "how not to get blisters" articles out there or on this site.

You could try

Your description of the guy, his feet and his socks strike me as a recipe for trouble.


les lloyd
(denaliguide) - F

Locale: new zealand & alaska
Re: Blisters on 02/13/2007 15:24:00 MST Print View

this is so simple. just tape up the heels even before you put your boots on. you already know the boots give you blisters. i have been a guide for 30 years now and i have a pair of boots that i love. they are well broken in and i still tape my heels before i get on the trail, and i average over 100,000 ft of vertical a season. i have clients who use our hire boots and i do the same with them. never any problems with blisters on them in years. so don't wait for the inevitable. prevention is where it's at.

Edited by denaliguide on 02/13/2007 15:30:10 MST.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Re: Blisters on 02/13/2007 18:11:14 MST Print View

Mr. Les Lloyd: This has nothing to do with blisters, but your e-mail name indicates you have guided on Denali. What do you think of vapore barriers, in bags and / or in pants and shirts?