Ask the Gear Guy

Preventing and treating blisters


boots-200x148Q. I’m going to the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, and I’ve been told that there’s tons of hiking. That might be a problem because my feet sweat a lot and give me blisters. Any suggestions for preventing and treating this?
– Jonathan Gingerly, Meridian, Miss.

A. Woo-hoo! Headed to the jamboree this month — that’s awesome. But blisters, not so awesome. Blisters are mostly caused by friction, heat and, as you know, sweaty feet. Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to blisters. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your boots fit properly (snug with enough room for your toes to wiggle). Choose breathable boots so your feet don’t get so sweaty.
  • Break them in. Most boots these days are comfortable straight out of the box, but make sure the first time you wear them isn’t on an 18-mile hike.
  • Wear good socks. Stick with good, merino wool socks (SmartWool  are my favorite) or synthetic socks. Both will wick sweat and moisture away from your feet.
  • When you get off the trail, always wash and dry your feet thoroughly and wear sandals around camp to let your feet air out.
  • Liner socks. Some people like to wear synthetic or silk sock liners under their socks because they also help wick moisture and reduce skin-on-skin friction.
  • Foot powder might help keep your feet drier, and there’s even spray antiperspirant available for feet, like Maximum Strength Gold Bond Medicated Foot Spray.
  • If a blister forms, stop immediately and put some moleskin (or even duct tape) on the spot to help reduce further inflammation.

Comments about “Preventing and treating blisters”

  1. awsome101 says:

    mole skin for blisters

  2. Off-Trail Monkey says:

    Wash every day, buy hiking socks; not standard cotton socks, use gold bond powder on feet and have mole skin ready.

  3. 123lord says:

    foot powder is a must

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