A blistering time

After years of bushwalking I’ve yet to discover an effective way to prevent or fix blisters.

I copped some pretty bad ones on my last walk at Wilsons Prom that left me hobbling around for a week and it made me wonder whether there really is a way to stop them.

I feel like I’ve tried everything but nothing’s worked.

Here’s a bit of a list of what I’ve tried to no avail.

  • Wearing two pairs of socks – just made my feet hotter and sweatier.
  • Bandaids – eventually lost their stickiness and rubbed off.
  • Fancy moleskin patches – again, rubbed off.
  • Trying to build up sticking plaster around the blister – again, rubbed off.

One thing that kind of worked was sticking plaster straight onto the “hot spot” where it feels like a blister is forming. But I found this only works on the heel where there’s plenty of skin for the plaster to stick to. It still eventually rubs off though. And it’s not useful for toes or on the side of the foot.

I suppose one problem is much of my walking has been in Tasmania, where you’re guaranteed to get wet feet. And when that happens, little will stick to your skin. Plus trails are rough and the movement of your feet twisting and turning on uneven ground encourages rubbing.

Of course, walking in thoroughly broken in boots does help. But if you’re walking 20km a day in them, I doubt that alone will keep you blister free.

At the moment my only strategy to deal with blisters is telling myself to “toughen up, princess” and carry on. There’ll be plenty of time to get your feet back to normal after the walk.

If anyone’s found any effective ways to deal with blisters, I’m happy to hear them.

My mangled feet after finishing the South West Circuit in Tasmania



7 thoughts on “A blistering time

  1. Jane

    Hi, my daughter has had problems with blisters for years due to a thin skin and healing problems. She finds she has to put sticking plaster on any areas that are susceptible before she starts a long walk. If they get rubbed off she keeps putting new ones on. I’ve heard of people using duct tape as well before a walk. I understand that once your feet get wet, the tape/plaster may come off. I can only suggest having several sets of socks that you change during the day to keep them as dry as you can and putting fresh bandaids on regularly.

    I find I get more blisters when wearing boots than when wearing trainers that allow more air flow. They are also softer on my feet. I’ve heard of people using a product called hydropel or dermabond but I’ve never used it myself to give an opinion. Other people coat their feet in wax balms the night before they walk and then add another layer in the morning before they walk. The other thing you may like to try are the thick greasy protective chamois creams that cyclists use to put on their groin and other regions to help prevent chafing from sweat and friction. I don’t know how it would translate to using on feet but perhaps it is worth a try. I use a Swiss product called “Chamois Cream” that works really on all day rides. They include ingredients which guard against bacterial and fungal infections as well.

    Some people just have thinner skin that is damaged more easily so I don’t think you are being a sook! Anyway, I hope you can find an answer to this painful problem! 🙂

  2. twothirdswild

    Yow! Those blisters look very painful! I have only just got back into doing multi-day hiking after quite a few years break, but I have not suffered at all from blisters. I do bush-walking 4-5 times a week as my ‘normal’ exercise walk and I wear my hiking boots as a must for the rough terrain I cover, as well as protection from the local snakes on the track. I bought my Keen boots 2 years ago, and from the first time I wore them they fit like a glove. On a recent multi-day hike I walked for 20 km through 16 river crossings in one day and not fallen victim to a blister. My hiking partner also wears Keen boots and has never had a blister. I hope I don’t sound like I am posting an ad for Keen boots, or bragging about not getting blisters, but maybe your boots ‘aint made for walking, so to speak? Best of luck though in trying to find your answer:)

    1. imahiker Post author

      I’ve worn full leather Scarpas for a long time, mainly because they’ve been so good for Tassie. I hadn’t worn them for a while before the Wilsons Prom walk and I think they’d stiffened up a bit, making it feel like I was breaking them in all over again. I’m thinking of trying a different brand of boot next time I buy.

  3. Dayna

    I know how to prevent them, but once they’re there – that’s up to you.
    I’m currently trying to get things sorted and set up properly before setting up a website & business name etc.
    If you’re willing to be a reviewer for my product, please email me or direct msg me via Twitter @daynaa2000


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