Blisters are a common hiking injury.
They can be caused by anything from friction to moisture.
I’ll look at the different factors that contribute to blister formation and offer some tips on preventing them. I’ll also talk about what to do if you get a blister while hiking.
Why do my hiking boots give me blisters?
If you’re a hiker, you know that blisters are one of the most common things to happen on a hike.
But what causes them in the first place?
There are a few different things that can contribute to blister formation.
- The most common cause is friction. This can happen if you’re wearing ill-fitting shoes or socks or hiking on an uneven trail.
- Another common cause of blisters is moisture. If your feet are constantly wet, whether, from sweat or water on the trail, it can lead to blisters.
- Finally, if you have any injury to your foot, it can also make you more susceptible to blisters.
How do blisters form?
Now that we know what can cause blisters let’s look at how they form.
When you have one of the factors that contribute to blister formation, it causes a small amount of damage to your skin.
This damage triggers your body’s healing response, and part of that response is the formation of a blister.
They can form quickly and often when you’re out on a hike.
A blister is a pocket of fluid that forms under your skin to protect the damaged area – This fluid is called serum.
While blisters can be painful, it’s important to remember that they are a good thing.
They are your body’s way of protecting the damaged area and helping it to heal.
However, suppose you have a large blister or one that is located in a sensitive area. In that case, it can make hiking very difficult.
Now that we know what causes blisters and how they form let’s look at how you can prevent them.
How to prevent hiking blisters?
Hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise, but if you’re not careful, you can wind up with blisters on your feet.
I’ll discuss how to prevent hiking blisters so that you can enjoy your hike without having to worry about sore feet.
1. Wear shoes or boots that fit
When you go hiking, it’s important to wear shoes or boots that fit correctly.
If your shoes are too tight, you’ll get blisters. And if your shoes are too loose, you’ll trip and fall.
So be sure to choose the right size shoe for your foot. You can read my guide on how hiking shoes should fit here.
2. Keep your feet dry
The best way to avoid getting hiking blisters is to keep your feet dry.
Wet feet can cause friction, which leads to blisters.
You can do a few things to help keep your feet dry while hiking, such as wearing moisture-wicking socks, using foot powder, and avoiding wet trails.
- Take breaks: If your hike is getting long or difficult, be sure to take breaks. This will give your feet a chance to rest and avoid getting too much friction.
- Change your socks: If your socks are getting wet or dirty, change them. Wet or dirty socks can cause blisters, so it’s important to keep them clean and dry.
- Inspect your feet: Check your feet regularly for any signs of blisters, such as redness, swelling, or pain. Take a break and treat the blister if you see any of these signs.
3. Purchase good hiking socks
If you’re going to be hiking, one of the most important pieces of gear that you need is a good pair of hiking socks.
They’ll keep your feet comfortable and blister-free on the trail.
The type of sock you wear can make a big difference in whether or not you get blisters.
There are a few things to look for when choosing hiking socks, such as moisture-wicking material, cushioning, and support.
Buy a pair of hiking socks with all these features, and you’ll be much less likely to get blisters.
4. Break-in your boots before you head out
If you’re like most people, you probably wait until the last minute to break in your new hiking boots.
But did you know that doing this can lead to painful blisters?
It’s important to break in your boots before hitting the trails.
This means wearing them around the house and on short hikes to get them ready for longer treks.
If you don’t break in your boots, you’re much more likely to get blisters.
So be sure to give yourself enough time to break them in before heading out on your hike.
5. Adjust laces on the trail
In the middle of a hike, it’s easy to forget about something as minor as adjusting your shoelaces.
But doing so can save you pain and discomfort down the road.
Here are a few tips for quickly and easily adjusting your laces on the trail.
- Stop and take a break: If you’re starting to feel pain in your feet, it’s time to stop and take a break. This will allow you to adjust your laces and avoid getting blisters.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you’re having trouble adjusting your laces, don’t be afraid to ask a friend or fellow hiker for help.
- Be prepared before you head out: It’s always a good idea to check your laces before you start hiking. This way, you can make sure they’re not too tight or too loose.
You can prevent hiking blisters and enjoy a comfortable hike by following these tips.
6. Tape hot spots
Let’s talk about hot spots.
You know, those itchy, burning blisters that tend to form on your feet after a long hike?
If they do form, taping them may be your only hope of preventing them from turning into full-blown blisters.
Taping hot spots is a simple process.
- First, clean the area and dry it off.
- Next, apply a bandage or tape to the area.
- Make sure the bandage or tape covers the entire hot spot.
- Finally, put your sock and boot back on, and you’re good to go.
If you suspect a hot spot is forming, tape it up as soon as possible.
This will help prevent it from turning into a blister.
Tip: The right tape can make all the difference. A few different types of tape are designed specifically for hot spots. One of the most popular is called “moleskin.” Moleskin is a thin, adhesive pad that you can apply directly to the hot spot.
7. Give your toes some extra TLC
Nobody wants to hike with blisters, so give your toes some extra love before hitting the trails. Before you go, make sure to do the following:
- Trim your nails short and file them evenly.
- Buff your calluses (but not too much!).
- Wear blister-proof socks and shoes that fit well.
You’ll be good to go for those miles upon miles of outdoor bliss if you follow these tips.
How to treat a hiking blister on the trail?
If you’re like most hikers, you probably don’t go too far from the trailhead without bringing a first-aid kit.
But even with supplies on hand, some injuries can happen while hiking that are difficult to treat without help.
A hiking blister is one of those injuries.
Here’s what you need to know about treating a hiking blister on the trail:
- Clean the area with soap and water.
- Apply a bandage or tape to the area.
- Make sure the bandage or tape is covering the entire blister.
- Put your sock and boot back on.
- If the blister breaks, clean the area with soap and water again.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to the area.
- Cover the area with a bandage or tape.
- Put your sock and boot back on, and you’re good to go.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to treat your blister and continue with your hike.
Should you pop your blisters?
You’ve probably wondered whether you should pop your blisters.
After all, it’s tempting to pop them and get on with your hike, but is that the best thing to do?
The short answer is no.
You should not pop your blisters.
- Popping a blister can cause it to become infected.
- Popping a blister can also cause it to heal slower.
- Popping a blister can be painful.
- 4Popping a blister can make it more likely to re-form.
The best thing to do is to leave it alone and let it heal on its own. If the blister is causing you pain, you can try to cover it with a bandage or tape.
My hiking boots give me a blister behind my heel. How to fix it?
If you’re experiencing a blister behind your heel, don’t worry – I have some tips.
Here’s what you need to do:
- First, try to find a boot that fits better. If your boots are too big, they’re probably causing the blister.
- If you can’t find a boot that fits better, try wearing two pairs of socks. This will help to prevent the blister from forming in the first place.
- Finally, try to avoid hiking in wet conditions. If your feet are constantly getting wet, it’s more likely that you’ll get a blister.
What to do when boots give you blisters?
It’s happened to all of us: you’re hiking along, enjoying the views and fresh air, when suddenly your boots start to cause you pain.
Maybe it’s a blister on your heel or in the ball of your foot.
Whatever the case, shoe discomfort can quickly ruin an otherwise pleasant day outdoors.
I recommend getting rid of your current shoes and buying another brand or size.
If you have to keep using the same shoes, there are a few things you can do to try to prevent blisters:
- Wear two pairs of socks. This will help to create a barrier between your foot and the shoe.
- Tie your shoes loosely. This will allow your foot to move around less and hopefully prevent the formation of blisters.
- Avoid wet conditions. If your feet are constantly getting wet, it’s more likely that you’ll get a blister.
Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid getting blisters on your boots.
Tip: Check out my other article for helpful tips on how to find the right hiking shoes. Just follow the link.