Why Shoes Give Blisters (and 10 Easy Tricks on Treating and Preventing Them)

Why Shoes Give Blisters (and 10 Easy Tricks on Treating and Preventing Them)

Few things are more annoying than blisters on the feet. Shoes are often the cause. Blisters are patches of fluid that are found on the top layer of skin (otherwise known as the epidermis). Most often, the liquid is clear. But if they’re infected they are yellow and they can pink if there’s blood inside. Why do shoes sometimes give blisters? How can they be treated and prevented?

How Blisters Are Formed

Blisters are formed when there is harsh rubbing on the foot when the shoe doesn’t fit properly. In this article we will go into depth of what can cause it and some workaround solutions you can use to prevent them and treat them.

The greatest way you can prevent your shoes from causing blisters is not never by ill-fitting shoes. Remember, there are are a virtually unlimited amount of shapes and sizes when it comes to feet. Not every shoe can fit on everyone.

If the shoe store is low on your size, you might be tempted to buy a size too big. It’ll slip at the heel, which will create rubbing. Or the toes will rub against the front of the shoes.

Another cause can be with new shoes. If a shoe is barely broken in, it can be very stiff. This is not uncommon with shoes made of leather.

Sometimes the seams or the insoles can cause friction with your feet. This is due to the design of the issue. Unfortunately, the only solution here is to not buy the shoe. Some shoes are seamless, which will prevent this from happening.

If you are having issues with a new pair of shoes, there are a number of strategies you can employ. In the beginning, take the shoe out on only short walks or runs. Build up the length of time as time goes on. Eventually, the shoes will be fully broken in.

To treat blisters, you can moisturize the cracks in the heel. Any hand moisturizer will do. This will prevent the calluses from getting too dry and getting cracked. You can do this after you shower.

Lastly, you can toughen with tannis. Try using 10% tannic acid or tea soak. You can find these online at a low cost.


One thing that many people are unaware of is that what type of sock you wear can also affect if you get blisters.

If you’re concerned about blisters, don’t use cotton socks anymore. When possible, wear synthetics. Cotton isn’t the best choice because it keeps the foot sweat in. This makes the skin soft and more vulnerable to breaking because of rubbing.

Some people actually like to change their socks while they’re walk or running. This might be if it’s raining. Or if its a long race (a 10k or a marathon).

Be sure to pay attention to the size of the thickness of the socks. Is there not enough space because your socks are very sick? Perhaps you should get shoes that are larger or thinner socks. Getting the right fit is worth the effort. Remember, on most days you’ll be wearing shoes for the entire day. There’s nothing more annoying (or painful) than a blister on the foot.

One recent trend that is gaining in popularity is double layered socks. These reduce rubbing and remove moisture efficiently. What’s great is some of the brands (such as Wrightsocks) have a no-blister guarantee.

Some hikers go for two pairs. If you sweat a lot, consider getting anti-moisture socks from sports stores.

Remember, the right socks are worth it! Invest in some good pairs.


You can start by lubricating your feet. Choose from substances like Sports Shield, Body Glide, Petroleum Jelly, AD Ointment.

To protect the area around the blister, consider covering the affected area. You can use moleskin, sports tape, gel bandages, or even duct tape.

Cramped Toe Box

A cramped toe box is when there is friction between the toes and the shoes. You should pay attention to when this happens because blackened toenails can result. Sometimes, you might even end us losing a toenail.

Blisters are not just caused by friction. They can also come from foot sweating and from microbial infestations like athlete’s foot.

How to Treat

It’s important that you never try to pop or drain your blister. While it’s annoying to have right now, if it gets infected you could have a real problem on your hands. Just let it pop on its own and let it heal.

If it gets painful or sensitive, you might have to pop it. Take great care:

  1. Wash your hands and feet with soap, preferably anti-bacterial soap. Dry with a fresh towel.
  2. Soak a clean cotton ball into rubbing alcohol and rub it all over the blister and the surrounding area.
  3. Use rubbing alcohol to sterilize a needle. Make a hole at the edge of the blister.
  4. Let the fluid drain.
  5. Clean out the popped blister and surrounding area with hydrogen peroxide.
  6. Use an anti-biotic ointment on the surrounding area
  7. Cover area with a sterile, clean bandage

How to prevent blisters

In summary:

It’s imperative to keep your feet dry with dry socks and shoes. If it rained the previous day and your shoes are wet, use a different pair.

Some individuals like to use foot powder if the environment is wet. Acrylic socks can be great in these conditions as they are quite good at taking away moisture.

As previously mentioned, don’t buy shoes unless they fit well. They should be manufactured from shoes that allow your feet to breathe. Don’t buy shoes if the heels slip while moving.

If you notice some harsh rubbing, you can take preemptive action by using an adhesive bandage or tape.

Blisters are quite annoying. It’s important to take care of your feet.