When I started race-walking in 2012 I immediately started to suffer from blisters on the bottom of my heels – right at the back of my foot – and along the insides of my heels.
And as I started to walk longer and longer distances I suffered blisters between my toes as well as on my heels.
After experimenting with various methods of preventing blisters, I eventually found two magic products that I now swear by:
Injinji Toe Socks and 2Toms BlisterShield Powder.
In my most recent race, a six day race around a 1,025 meter circuit in France, in which I completed 614km, I only suffered 2 or 3 blisters – and that was after walking the last 370km without changing my shoes or socks once!
Most of my races are in the 100 to 150 mile range, and in most of these I don’t suffer any blisters at all!
Injinji Toe Socks:
You need to know that I am currently sponsored by Beta Climbing Designs who are the UK distributors of the Injini toe socks (I think they were impressed when they heard that I had walked 230 miles without changing socks 🙂 ) but before the sponsorship started in early 2017, I used to buy my Injinji toe socks on Amazon. Prices seem to range from £6.00 to £20.00 depending on the style you buy. My preference is the liner socks. These are thin and depending on the distance of my walk I normally just wear them by themselves. For longer events though, I wear another thin pair of normal sports socks over the top of the Injinji socks as this then creates two layers between my feet and the shoe, which reduces the friction between the shoe and the skin of my foot. Having recently joined forces with Beta Climbing Designs, I will be testing various other styles and will update this article at some stage in the future.
Toms Blister Shield:
As with most of the things I buy for my walking, I buy this through Amazon. It costs just £13.00 for a 225 gram container, and the container lasts for ages.
Apparently it is used by soldiers in the US Army to prevent blisters when they are on duty, but all I know is that it works for me.
Their website says that it works by creating an almost friction-less surface on the foot, which reduces heat build-up and blister formation. It also repels moisture which helps to keep the feet blister-free.
The instructions say that to use the powder, you pour some of the powder into each sock and then shake the sock to spread the powder before putting the sock on your foot.
But being a man, I never read the instructions (until now) and the way I have used 2Toms Blister Shield powder is to pour some on to my hand and then rub it into my feet.
I completely coat my feet in the powder, focusing on my heels and in between my toes, and I also sprinkle a little powder inside my Injinji toe socks as well.
I also rub some of the powder in to all the other areas of my body that are likely to suffer from any chaffing – especially the inside of my arms and between my legs – and I don’t suffer any chaffing problems either. Note: to avoid nipple rash I use plasters or tape.
Preventing Blisters when running or walking:
I absolutely recommend both Injinji Toe Socks and 2Toms Blister Shield. Click on the pictures below to go directly to Amazon if you want to buy some.