Who doesn’t love new shoes? Whether it’s fresh sneakers, chic flats or the latest summer sandals, there’s no quicker way to make your heart sing. But there can be a downside – we’re talking foot blisters, those irritating blemishes that appear on your feet after stepping out in your latest footwear a little too enthusiastically. But first, let’s get a bit more familiar with how to prevent blisters.
What Causes Blisters?
Friction is the most common cause of blisters, especially if you just bought a new pair of shoes. There are other factors that contribute to blisters, like heat, excess moisture, foreign objects, and certain medical conditions. We’ll touch on each of these briefly, but the main focus will be on friction – that’s the main culprit.
Friction – In the simplest terms, friction is the force that resists the sliding of one object over another. In the case of footwear, there are plenty of things that increase the amount of friction: poor-fitting shoes, walking or running long distances, or even having a small rock inside your shoe. Though it won’t happen instantly, like a cut from falling down, the repeated friction will begin to peel back the top layer of skin, resulting in a blister.
Heat – Hot sand or pavement can also cause thermal burns, which eventually turn into blisters. And though heat may not seem to be an issue as long as you’re wearing shoes, this isn’t exactly the case. Feet that are confined in tight shoes without proper ventilation will quickly overheat, and the lack of breathability can cause blisters to form.
Moisture – Many believe that water (or moisture in general) acts as a lubricant. Unfortunately, excess moisture is a surefire way to quickly develop blisters. Whether you get caught in the rain, or your feet are sweating from a day of walking around, your skin is more prone to blistering in shoes. The skin softens up, and the usually tough outer layer wears down much faster under friction. Ask any avid hiker or distance runner – this problem is all too common.
- Medical Conditions – Though less rare than some of the other factors, there are certain medical conditions that can increase your risk of developing blisters on your feet. The most common is Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis), a fungal infection that causes scaling, itching, and blisters. Others include Dyshidrotic Eczema and Hand-foot-and-mouth disease, though these are quite rare.
Each of these factors plays a different role in causing blisters. And even if you pay careful attention to each of them, it still might not be enough.
If you bought a new pair of sneakers for a special occasion, and don’t have time to break them in – don’t worry. We’re going to show you how to prevent blisters from new shoes, sneakers, and sandals, so you can show off your new kicks in style.
How to Prevent Blisters from New Shoes: 5 Strategies That Work Right Out of the Box
1. Buy Supportive, Proper-Fitting Footwear
The easiest way to prevent blisters on your heels from new shoes? Buying supportive footwear that fits properly in the first place. Make sure that you have sufficient room in the toe box (we recommend a finger’s width for walking shoes) so that your toes don’t hit the front of the shoe when you walk, and that your heel fits snugly so that your feet don’t slip around inside.
Check out this guide to finding the right shoe fit for more tips on how to size your sneakers properly and prevent blisters. A great place to begin is with incredibly comfortable shoes that have built-in features to eliminate a lot of the common causes of friction and heel blisters. Our women's canvas sneakers are a great example, with every pair featuring our Pods® removable footbed for superior support and a breathable fit. Not to mention, the soft, high-quality canvas will make you feel like you’re on cloud nine.
Or opt for a dressier pair of leather sneakers, which have key features that help prevent new shoe blisters. In addition to the signature footbed, which keeps feet dry while letting them breathe, they are made with a flexible, durable outsole that prevents irritation from friction.
2. Wear the Right Socks
Friction is a leading cause of blisters from shoes. When your foot rubs up repeatedly against the inside of your shoe, the top layer of skin tears away from the lower layers, which causes fluid to pool in the space and form a blister.
You can guard against friction blisters by wearing double-layered socks. Instead of one sock rubbing directly against your skin, the two socks rub together, displacing the friction elsewhere. The result? Blister-free feet.
3. Keep Your Feet Dry
Moisture is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to heel blisters, and the right socks can help here, too. Cotton is not your friend when it comes to blister prevention: It actually holds on to moisture, increasing your risk of discomfort. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends synthetic fabrics that wick it away instead.
4. Stay Hydrated
While sweaty feet and new shoes are a combination that can lead to painful foot blisters, you don’t want your skin to be too dry. According to Runner’s World, this can increase the risk of friction and lead to blisters on your heels from new shoes. Keep your feet healthy and hydrated by applying a moisturizing lotion regularly.
5. Protect Problem Areas
If your new shoes are causing blisters to form on the back of your heel (a particular hazard when you’re wearing ballet pumps), lubricant can help. Apply petroleum jelly or a specialist foot lubricant to your heels to encourage your feet to glide smoothly against your new shoes, instead of rubbing.
We all have spots that seem to attract foot blisters. If you have one area that you know is particularly sensitive, cover it up with a Band-Aid, sports tape or blister bandage before you step out in your new shoes. Then, cover it up with socks or long pants.
Understanding how to prevent blisters means carrying on with your day pain-free. Nothing puts a dent in your daily routine like having to stop to take care of your heel blister. With these tips and the right pair of comfortable shoes, blisters from new shoes will be a thing of the past.
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