Blisters from Running & Marathons

What is the right running shoe to wear, it depends on the type of running you do.

There is trail running, fell running, road running, park run , marathon, hill runs, interval run, track and field running and more!

You wouldn’t wear the same running shoe for all of those activities of running otherwise blisters would definitely be on the agenda.  The best analogy I can use is `you wouldn’t drive a Ferrari through a ploughed field`

So knowing what kind of running you do is a start, Road running shoes are lighter and more responsive whereas trail running shoes are slightly heavier with more support to protect the feet from the rugged terrain, they have a grippier sole. Fell running shoes are studded and light with very little cushioning to be able to run in some very challenging conditions.

Best running socks for blisters

It is really important to wear the correct socks. Blisters can be caused if moisture is not wicked away from the skin, so socks that hold the moisture created by sweating will inevitably cause the skin to blister over a period of time. Wicking socks are the only one to use when walking or running, if one sock is not enough to prevent the blisters forming then use two socks and then the friction created will be taken up between the socks and not the foot and the sock. Injinji socks with their five toe formula help prevent blisters forming between the toes, by removing the friction of skin on skin.

Prevent running blisters

Engo patches- placed in the shoe, reduce the friction from the shoe onto a hotspot area of the foot and are worth using as a preventative measure for blisters

Gel products from gel digi caps, epitact gel ovals and gel heel sleeves they all help to prevent blisters as they absorb the shear enabling the skin to remain blister free.

Poron insoles are wonderful at absorbing shear from underneath the feet resulting from ground reactive forces, there are a range of insoles that have different properties and functions depending on what suits your blister type.

Poron cushioning insoles

Taping with Hypafix and KT Pro tapes are great blister prevention tapes.

2toms Blistershield powder can work really well by itself on the skin as a prevention measure or after the blister prevention tape has been applied, reducing the friction applied to that area.

blister prevention powder

Alpaca wool to weave in between the toes if blisters are forming there, the friction is taken up within the fibres of the wool and not within the skin.

Lace locking is essential for retaining the foot in the shoe and preventing it moving around too much in the shoe.

Waterproof shoes or not?

Any shoes that have been waterproofed means the outside water is prevented from penetrating through the fabric membrane of the shoe. Which technically should be the solution to wet skin/ socks and blisters but there is a drawback…. If the environmental weather is hot and humid then the waterproof running shoes will generate heat within the shoe, the feet will sweat more, the moisture levels within the shoe will increase and will be trapped, this scenario will create blisters.

Running during the rain, the water will leak through the sock cuff and into the shoe, then making the sock and foot wet, the shoe will keep the water inside the shoe which is unable to drain out.

I do feel there is a benefit to these waterproof running shoes, they are  suitable to use in colder wetter climates with the addition of a shorter gaiter (inov-8 all-terrain debris gaiter) to prevent the water entering the shoe in the first place and a cooler climate will prevent the  foot sweating as much.

Non- waterproof running shoes are suited to a warmer climate where a breathable fabric membrane prevents the moisture building up in the shoe and these are less likely to cause blisters alongside moisture wicking socks

Blisters caused by pronation

Pronators, supinator’s and neutral running shoes,  Pronation and supination are normal forces travelling through the foot during walking and running, everyone will have different levels of both throughout the gait cycle and unless you have suffered with reoccurring lower limb injuries then chose a neutral cushioning shoe with an element of support. Please note that cushioning running shoes are varied in where they locate the cushioning area in the sole of the shoe. Some have more in the forefoot than the heel area, so establishing if you are a heel or a forefoot striker determines which cushioning placement is right for you.

If you are in doubt or are injury prone in the lower limb then visit a Podiatrist, who will help you ascertain the problem and treat or refer accordingly. Choosing the wrong type of running shoe could easily result in injuries and blisters

A natural stride length is unique to you and if practiced well, it should feel comfortable and metabolically efficient.  If not and you are trying to change your stride length or rate without adequate conditioning/training  then you are likely  to injure and the foot will definitely  blister  due to increases in pressure and friction on it . If you are carrying an injury then your stride length will naturally shorten to protect it.

Minimalist versus the maximalist shoes is a discussion that still goes on. The scientific evidence concludes there is more damage to the foot, including blisters, with a minimalist shoe or barefoot running.

Racing spikes and blisters

Track and field running spikes shoes  for shorter distance running have very little cushioning as they encourage  forefoot running .The longer distance running spikes have a less aggressive pin plate and are generally more cushioned with an increased ankle support  which ideal for cross country. These running shoes are very specific to the type of running distance chosen, wearing the incorrect type would definitely cause blisters on the heel and under the balls of the feet.

Running spike shoes are designed to be snug and give control but it is important that they are comfortable, some runners don’t like wearing socks with them but that will lead onto blisters when the skin becomes wet due to sweating, try a thinner a moisture wicking sock. Some of the pins underneath can create unwanted pressure areas which can lead to blistering under the balls of the feet. Shorter pins maybe the solution for this problem, or a thin poron insole if there is the room in the shoe?