You never get blisters! You’ve worn those boots a hundred times! You didn’t even walk that far! But nevertheless, there’s a blister threatening to ruin your hike. Blisters and their precursors, known as hotspots, can occur to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Even if you’re not prone to them, they can still occur under the right circumstances. See what causes blisters and learn how you can prevent them on your next hike, run, or walk!
- Blisters, if you didn’t know, are created when the outer layer of skin separates from the inner layers. The body responds by filling that “pocket” with lymph fluid. The most common cause of this is friction: generally from footwear that doesn’t fit properly. Shoes that are too big or even too small can cause friction. When you’re buying your next pair of hiking, walking, or running shoes be sure to visit a shop that specializes in fit.
- Moisture is another usual suspect when it comes to blisters. Wet skin is significantly more prone to the damage caused by friction, so you should do everything in your power to reduce the moisture around your feet. First, wear socks made of a moisture-wicking fabric such as wool or synthetic materials (no cotton!). Second, you can use lambswool (like eNZees Foot Soother) to further reduce the amount of sweat on your feet. Third, be aware of the temperature and humidity levels. People that live in dry environments (like Colorado!) could develop blisters if they go for a hike in the rainforest.
- It’s race day and your adrenaline is pumping. You’re set to hit a new PR and suddenly you begin to feel a blister under your big toe. What’s up? Running or walking at a faster pace than normal can create blisters even when you don’t normally get them.
- Cold feet can ruin both your wedding day and your hike. Cold weather can cause something known as chilblains - damage to the skin’s capillaries – which in some cases can lead to blisters. If you’re out headed in cold weather, make sure you’re wearing warm boots and socks to protect your feet.