Tips to Avoid the Blister Blues

Everyone who loves the great outdoors knows how troublesome a long hike can get. Sure the scenery, wilderness and fresh air are all to die for, but when one’s hiking boots start to chafe and cause blisters, their day takes a decidedly less enjoyable turn. Luckily these great prevention tips will help you avoid blisters and the discomfort they cause.
Blisters in different spots all mean different things, but there is one frequent culprit, namely, improperly sized hiking boots. When boots are too small, they can cause feet to swell. Then, tender spots full of fluid naturally respond to the wear and tear of the long trail by blistering.

A more common blister cause is over-sized footwear. When your feet are swimming in your shoes, they have plenty of opportunities to rub back and forth. While this can help you develop calluses that eventually toughen up your soles, most of these injuries start as a painful series of blisters.

The first thing to do if you notice you’re starting to blister on the trail is to add a pair of socks if you’ve brought them. Putting on a second pair of socks over the ones you have on is a great way to stop your feet from shifting around inside your hiking boots, but it’s only a temporary fix. The best thing to do is get new hiking boots if you can afford them, or switch to another type of closer-fitting footwear.

What about all that moisture? Too much fluid buildup from moisture and humidity inside your shoes isn’t healthy either, which is why adding extra socks shouldn’t be your final prevention solution. Some people find that wearing open, yet snug boots is best, while those who are really trail-hardy may even go without footwear depending on the local conditions.

Finally, be conscious of the way you walk. Humans fare better when they stay on their toes, and hiking is no different. Blister prevention is easier when you aren’t crashing through the woods, slamming your feet down with every step, and the right shoes can help with this as well. Take time to rest and stretch your toes out every now and then too. There’s no rush, simply sit back and enjoy nature if you can, and let your tender feet recharge by carrying you at their own comfortable pace.

Photos via gromgullLollyKnitAndypiper


  1. I am intrigued by this information. Yes, your boots should fit well, but every outfitter I have ever known (and I”m married to a professional one) says the exact opposite for long distance backpacking. Is this information designed for short hikes (under 10 miles)?

    Most outfitters (and I don’t mean REI, I mean real outfitters) generally say your shoes should be large, overly large. They should be able to have over an inch in the rear of the shoe when you knock your feet forward. The space should be supplemented by Super Feet or another high quality insole. Without this much space, you get blood under your toes when you go down hill and you get blisters on your back heel from the repeated rubbing of over 15 miles. Your hiking shoes should never fit like your walking shoes.

    • Creedence says:

      Thanks for the info! Yes, in this article we are referring to your typical day hike, not lengthy excursions.

Leave a Reply