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You Asked: Are Blisters Unavoidable For Running Newbies?

Dear Fit,
I just started running and was all fired up to get into it this Summer, but painful blisters have quickly extinguished my excitement. A close friend and runner said it comes with the territory since I'm new to running. Are blisters something I have to put up with or is there something I can do to prevent them?
— Blister Sister

First of all, I think it is great that you have been bitten by the running bug. It's the perfect way to work your heart and tone your legs and booty. It stinks that blisters have dampened your enthusiasm, and no, just because you're new to running, that doesn't mean you have to put up with sore tootsies. To learn how to prevent blisters when running,


Many factors can affect your feet and cause painful blisters, such as:

  • New sneakers: It can take several weeks to break in a new pair of kicks, so start off slow. Wear your sneaks to do errands or around the house when you're not running. This will speed up the time it takes for your shoes to mold to your feet. Do short runs at first and gradually increase the duration of your workouts as your sneakers feel more comfortable.
  • Poorly fitting sneaks: If your sneakers are too big, they'll shift as you run and rub against your skin, which will lead to blisters. Your sneakers should fit snugly, not too loose and not too tight. There should be about a half inch between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe.
  • Wrong shoes for the activity: If you know you'll be running on the sidewalk in your neighborhood, don't buy a pair of trail runners.
  • Your socks: When feet get sweaty, the moisture is sure to cause blisters. So wear a pair of wicking socks when you run to draw moisture away from your skin. I also find thicker socks make my feet more blister-prone, so choose a thin pair instead.
  • Wet feet: Avoid running in puddles, and if you like to pour water over your head on a hot day, try leaning over so it doesn't drip into your shoes. If your feet are naturally sweaty, try sprinkling talcum or foot powder on your bare feet before putting on your wicking socks, or spray antiperspirant on your bare feet (I have runner friends who swear by this).
  • Doing too much, too soon: Running long distances when you first start running can be hard on your feet. So stick with runs that are 30 minutes or less. Gradually increase the length of your workouts so your feet can get used to the new demands you're putting on them.
  • Sensitive feet:If you find that you've tried all this and a certain part of your foot continues to get blisters, protect that area by taping it with sports tape or apply moleskin padding.


Join The Conversation
redscorpio redscorpio 8 years
I find that wearing two pairs of thin socks is the best way to avoid blisters. One sock rubs against the other and my feet remain blister-free, pain-free and happy!
soapbox soapbox 8 years
When I started running, I wore these socks that had a little thick flap in the back which protected the back of my ankle. They were from the men's department and looked dorky, but they worked
fizzymartini fizzymartini 8 years
Hmm. Running shoes, if the correct fit and of a specialist make, should take no time in breaking in at all. I've never had blisters or problems from the first time I wore New Balance 768s - they're just the right fit and control for my feet (shrugs). Every once in a while, you'll come across an absolute MIRACLE of a product, one that you'll never believe isn't the ONE go-to product for the masses as it works so unbelievably well. That, for me, sums up my discovery of Compeed plasters. Unfortunately I had a terrible experience when I started running, involving a running shop, an unsuitable pair of running shoes, and legal advice (won't go into it now). The blisters that occurred were horrific, and the normal blister plasters (as in, every brand except Compeed) were hopeless - despite the gel cushioning layer, AND using Wright 2-ply socks, they would just bunch up on my blister and make peeling them off a war-zone. I googled my problem online and found people recommending Compeed, and I could NOT believe the difference. It kind of acts like a very thick, smooth, second skin - you leave it on until it falls off. Because the adhesive is so tight all over, it won't bunch or hurt - you can run on your blisters pain-free - and they heal them so effectively too. The con is they're so flippin' expensive... but never have I used the words "it's worth it" so seriously before...
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
also, maybe not blister-related but running-foot-pain-related -- I always cut my toenails very very short when I'm running a lot
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
Buy running socks! Make sure that they wick and are not cotton. Do not wear cotton socks!
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