How To Prevent Blisters When Running

How To Prevent Blisters When Running

When you have a good run, everything just seems to work. Your stride seems natural, you float around corners and you get the high only a workout can give you. 

One of the most common ways to spoil this sensation is to find out you’ve got a blister. Painful in their own right, blisters can make running a hassle which can rob you of all motivation. 

So, how do you prevent blisters from forming when you run?

What causes blisters?

Blisters are caused by friction and, when you run, there are two main ways this can happen. It can either be external (from outside the skin) or internal (underneath the skin). 

Most blisters come from external friction, your foot rubbing against your socks or shoes. There are a handful of influences that can cause this to be worse, such as dryness, scratchy socks, grit and more. 

Internal friction is often caused by excessive bone movement while we run. This can be influenced by the type of running or the terrain you are running on. 

How to prevent blisters

If you’ve suffered from blisters in the past, or you have one right now, it’s understandable that you want to make sure it never happens again. Here are a few ways you can minimise your chances of blisters forming. 

Tape the worry spots

Some areas are more prone to blisters. Most blisters come up in areas like the toes, heel or forefoot. You’ll know from experience where you’re most likely to get them. 

Taping these areas can reduce the chances of blisters forming. There are a couple of different types of tape you can buy but they generally work in one of two ways. 

The first works by reducing friction. These tapes are extremely smooth so that your feet don’t grind against your socks or shoes but glide past them. 

The second type works to absorb the force of the friction. These tapes do nothing to stop your feet grinding against the socks or shoes. Instead, they work to blunt the force so that your feet don’t get rubbed raw. 

Wear two pairs of socks

Wearing a thin polyester sock as a liner underneath your main socks has been shown to reduce the number of blisters and the size of any that form. 

It works by adding an extra layer between the foot and the outer sock which takes most of the friction. 

Wear socks designed to prevent blisters

In the same way that tape can be used to reduce friction, there are now socks on the market that have been designed to produce the same effect for your whole foot. 

These socks can work to reduce several factors that can lead to blisters. Combining breathable material to minimise moisture, cushioning for support and material that reduces friction, these socks can work to minimise or prevent blisters while you run. 

If you’re looking for some blister-resistant socks, try our range here

Toe socks

If you are prone to getting blisters between your toes then toe socks can help. 

Like a five-fingered glove for your feet, these socks separate each toe and can reduce friction between them to prevent blisters. 

Make sure you have the right shoes

Having the right shoes when you run is crucial. If your shoes are too big, there will be more friction between your shoes and your feet. Too small and the friction will have more pressure behind it. Both of these will increase the likelihood of developing blisters. 

Pairing shoes that fit with the right insoles or orthotics can also help prevent blisters. If you are using them to run, it’s best to get insoles that have shock absorption. These will reduce the pressure of the friction you feel by cushioning your foot better. 

Keep your feet dry

Moisture can increase the chance of developing blisters and making sure that your shoes, sock and feet are dry before you run is recommended. There are several ways that you can reduce moisture when you run. These include:

  • Moisture-wicking socks: Socks specially designed to evaporate sweat and keep your feet dry.
  • Antiperspirant: Some studies have shown that using antiperspirant on your feet before a run can help reduce sweating. 
  • Foot powder: This works to reduce sweat and can be an effective way to keep your feet dry as you run. 
  • Changing your socks: If you are running long distances, regular sock changes can keep your feet dry on your run. 

Lubricate trouble spots

While it’s good to have dry feet, sometimes dryness is the problem. Lubricants, like Vaseline, can help to reduce friction in your feet. 

There are several types of lubricants you can use: petroleum-based, glycerine-based and heavy mineral oil-based and all are effective. Petroleum-based lubricants can be the best though. 

These only last for roughly an hour though before the skin absorbs the lubricant and becomes too moist so it’s best to use these only for shorter runs. It’s also only necessary to use the lubricant on trouble spots. Don’t lather up your whole foot otherwise you’ll find it uncomfortable to run. 

Treat your feet and skin

Make sure to take care of your feet and skin. There are lots of ways to keep these areas healthy and prevent blisters when you run:

  • Hydrate: Other than the other benefits that staying hydrated can provide, it can also help prevent blisters. 
  • Trim your toenails: Well-maintained toenails reduce the pressure on your feet when you run. 

The skin on your feet will naturally get tougher over time so you will get fewer blisters as you keep running. It’s important not to overdo it though as you could injure yourself in other ways if you aren’t giving your feet time to recover. 

Do not remove calluses 

Part of your skin strengthening and getting tougher will be the development of calluses. In general, do not remove your calluses. They are there to protect your skin and will usually develop into trouble spots. 

If they are getting too big they may start causing issues though so monitor them if you start noticing an increase in blisters. 

Keep grit out

Dirt, sand, dried grass and other particles can cause more friction and scrape at your skin, causing blisters. If you are running in terrain that is prone to these then it might be worth getting running gaiters to stop gritty stuff from getting into your shoes.

Make sure to take care of your feet so that you can properly enjoy your run without having to suffer through painful blisters.