10 Best Products to Treat Foot Blisters Reviewed
Blisters are annoying. Fight back with the best products currently available for the treatment of foot blisters. Reviews and details within this guide!
“Life is short and full of blisters”
Blisters may seem like a small or insignificant problem, something you don’t need to worry about. They’re easy to dismiss until you’ve properly had them at least once. Once you’ve had them you know that they can be painful, annoying, and they can absolutely compromise anything you’re trying to do in terms of running.
Blisters often crop up around the heel or anywhere around the opening to your shoe. Having good socks and making sure your shoes fit properly are probably your best defense options against getting blisters on your feet. Runners (especially long distance ones) are at particular risk for blisters due to the repetitive nature of thousands and strides.
Below we’ve compiled some of the best products for treating blisters. From ointments, to moleskin to band aids to socks it’s all here. If you’re someone who tends to suffer from these frustrating little irritations the following is definitely worth your time to investigate. Don’t let yourself be fooled. At some point while running, you will experience blisters. It could come from many different things such as running in hot climates, changing the type of terrain you are running on, changing between different kinds of shoes, or simply breaking in a brand new pair.
You don’t have to let a little, but painful and annoying thing like this slow you down too much. There are plenty of tools runners can turn to in order to treat and combat the issue. Without further ado here are the top 10 best products for treating blisters, enjoy!
Our Top Blister Treatments For Runners
Adventure Medical Kits Blister Medic
- 1 GlacierGel patch (Large Oval)
- 1 GlacierGel patch (Smaller Rectangular)
- 11 Moleskin, pre-shaped stripes (11 pieces)
- Has 6 Antiseptic Wipes to help sterilize cuts, scrapes and sores
- The contents of the package basically make up a first aid kit for tending to blisters of any size
- no scissors needed
- Some don't like the precut sizes
Pure Compression Sport Socks
- Effectively prevents blisters from forming
- Graduated compression helps to provide a bit of arch support
- Fits like a second skin
- Made in the Italy. Material is 88% Polyamide / 12% Elastane
- Material breathes well and does not overheat
- Moisture wicking, stay free of perspiration
- Keep feet firmly in place within the shoes. Compression ensures it stays in place
- Provides a protective barrier against irritants
- Material breathes well
- Moisture wicking properties
- Some felt the price was a bit high for a single pair
Compeed Blister Cushions
- Some plasters cut just for the heel, others made to fit other parts of the foot
- High grade adhesive ensures no slippage
- Comfortable and reliable
- Easy to use, no cutting for fitting involved
- Manufactured in England
- They use a pretty good adhesive
- contains patches sized to fit different areas of the foot
- No cutting necessary
- A bit expensive
Gold Bond Friction Defense
- Soothes and moisturizes skin
- Good for sensitive skin, does not irritate
- Proudly manufactured in United States
- Reduces blister causing friction
- Long-Lasting, no need to reapply every hour
- Non-Greasy, oil-free
- Helps moisturize skin
- Creates a barrier to prevent unwanted friction
- Application stays on for quite a while
- Some react differently to it, may want to test first
ENGO Oval Blister Prevention Patches
- Comes with four large ovals (1.75″ x 2.75″) and 2 small (1.5″ x 2″)
- Very easy to use — simply peel the adhesive packing off an ENGO patch, place the patch in your shoes where they rub against your foot and voila
- Built to last (if applied properly) up to 300 miles
- They fit in all types of footwear, from running shoes to cleats and beyond
- compatible with all types of footwear
- Simply to apply
- made to last quite a while
- Some felt that the adhesive may not stay on as long as they would like
Wrightsock Anti-Blister Quarter Sock
- Made from Polyester, Nylon and Lycra
- Blister-Free money back guarantee
- Manufactured proudly in the USA
- Patented Double Layer construction
- Designed to handle high intensity activity
- Dimensions 8.5″ x 3.75″ x 0.5″
- Money back guarantee
- Double layer construction for durability
- Created for use during intense activities or sports
- Mixed results for some, although the majority experienced success
Spenco 2nd Skin Squares
- Offers a nice layer of protection against skin pressure, friction, chafing and blisters
- Non-sterile, important to keep in mind
- Best for general use in clinics, training rooms and or self-use on the go
- Package contains 200 gel squares
- Provides a barrier, like a second skin
- Easy to use
- Useful for just about any situation
- Not sterile
Body Glide Foot Anti Blister Balm
- Prevent blisters by applying a coat to your feet before you slide them into your shoes
- A great way to protect your feet from the wear and tear of training or daily use
- Contains Vitamin A and C to help soften skin and restore damaged or dehydrated skin. Works to fight inflammation
- Will not clog pores, allows the skin to breathe naturally and freely
- Allergen free, made from plant-derived ingredients.
- Vegan tested and approved, cruelty free, child safe product
- Vegan tested and approved
- Easy application
- Contains Vitamins A and C for skin health
- Allergen free
- Results seem to differ per person
Dr Scholl’s Moleskin Roll
- Soft flannel fabric, rests soft on the skin
- Insulated padding protects against painful friction that causes blisters and a number of other problems
- Famous for its effective cushioning properties
- Self-stick firm gripping adhesive,
- Cuts-to-size as needed
- Protects against friction and uncomfortable portions of shoes
- Strong adhesive
- customize to fit your needs
- You'll need to cut it yourself
Band-Aid Advanced Healing Cushions
- Adhesive Bandages have covered and protected cuts and scrapes for millions of people for over 90 years
- Adhesive won’t rip the skin upon removal
- Water resistant bandages
- 6 count Band-Aids
- Protects from friction and other stuff like dirt and grime
- fairly water resistant
- Adhesive holds well, but doesn't hurt when removed
- Only six to a pack
Criteria Used for picking out the best blisters treatment methods
Blisters happens to be one of the problems that affects athletes and others sports men and women. It can cause a great deal of pain depending on its size, depth and definitely location. Blisters need to be handled with a lot of care, or else they will in turn cause tear of the adjacent skin tissues, cause secondary infections, bleeding and increase pain.
That’s why it’s very important for athletes to learn how to take care of blisters hence be able to go back to their normal sporting activities despite having a blister. Blisters are caused by friction and shearing forces that are directed across the skin. During the friction, the layers of the skin are separated (i.e. the epidermis is separated from the dermis). In turn the skin will be filled with a clear fluid and blood if a break occurred in a small blood vessel. Blisters mostly occur on our limps (hands and feet). The friction can be as a result of a new shoe rubbing on the foot, or an object rubbing across the skin.
You can easily spot a blisters because they start as “hot spots”. The skin area around the blister gets very tender and sensitive to any form of contact. It also turns red and becomes irritating. The pressure from the fluid causes the blister to be very painful, because the pressure stimulates the nerves under the skin. Blisters have different forms of treatment, but the proper treatment depends on the state of the blister.
Whether the blister is torn or still intact makes a difference sometimes in how you might go about with treatment. An important thing to note is that the skin on top of the blister is protective and should not be removed, it should be left intact to hasten the healing of the blister. Removing the protective skin exposes the underlying to possible infection and also increases the pain because the raw nerve endings are now exposed.
While picking out the best treatments for blisters, we considered the following factors:
Is the Blister Intact or Torn?
The proper treatment depends on whether the blister is intact or torn open. Each needs to be treated differently. It is important to note that the skin overlying the blister is protective and should remain in place as long as possible. The skin not only helps in faster healing of the blister it also prevents infection to the underlying skin and also protects the nerve endings from being exposed hence increasing pain.
Most athletes when they have a blister, the first question that pops into their head is “Should I drain the blister?” The answer depends on whether the blister is filled with fluid or not. The pressure built up by the fluid is usually the cause of the blister being painful, therefore if the blister is filled with fluid the best trick will be: draining a blister that is filled with fluid as this will immediately reduce the pain associated with a blister.
Draining a blister can be done safely at home as long as proper treatment protocols are followed. Make sure that you avoid exposing the blister to any infections. The following steps are a simple guide on how to drain a blister:
- Clean the area thoroughly with antiseptic soap (to remove any bacteria)
- Sterilize a household needle by heating the needle
- Gently apply pressure to one side of the blister causing the top skin to rise on one side (like a squeezed balloon)
- Create a small hole at the base of the raised side of the blister large enough for the skin to not reseal.
- With a sterile gauze pad, gently push the fluid out of the blister until all the fluid has been removed
- Cover the blister with an antibiotic ointment to prevent possible infection
- Cover the blister with and occlusive (air tight) bandage
- Recheck and change dressing daily until skin has completely healed
Open blisters have already torn and do not need to be drained. But then the blister still needs to be protected from any form of infection and be kept clean always. The open blister might have a tear; the objective of the treatment is to make sure that the protective skin is always intact. Make sure that you keep as much skin as you can on the blister in order for the underlying skin to mature. Below are the steps to follow when treating an open blister.
- Clean the area thoroughly with antiseptic soap.
- Allow the area to dry and apply antibiotic ointment to the open wound.
- Replace the flap of skin (if possible) to cover the treated tissue and cover with a sterile, non-adhesive dressing.
- Recheck wound and change dressing daily until skin has healed
- After a few days when the tenderness is gone, carefully trim away the dead skin
While treating an open blister it’s important to check if the skin is completely torn. If it is, then it’s advisable that you remove the torn tissues so that they don’t risk tearing into the healthy skin tissues. Keeping the blister clean at all times is important, clean it with antiseptic soap and then using sterile scissors remove, carefully remove the torn skin. You can either cover the area with a bandage after applying an ointment. The best option would be to use second skin; this is because the blister will be very tender because it has lost the protective skin layer.
The second skin is able to act as the protective skin. It has the same properties of the protective skin, its placed directly on the open blister. After this its covered with either a moleskin or a lightweight elastic tape. The second skin brings immediate relief. The second skin comes in already precut squares, its usually moist, clear in color and has the thickness of several skin layers. It allows the athlete to resume normal activities without any form of discomfort.
Type of Treatment
Sports medicine professionals have a variety of new and innovative products available to reduce the pain felt by the athlete while blisters are healing. Because the typical band aid tends to slip when under pressure or when wet, sports medicine professionals use other products to cover blisters.
Moleskin is a thin piece of felt product with an adhesive backing. It can be purchased in square sheets or by the roll. Moleskin is an effective product because of its adhesive backing and the process by which it is applied. The second skin is able to act as the protective skin. It has the same properties of the protective skin, its placed directly on the open blister.
After this its covered with either a moleskin or a lightweight elastic tape. The second skin brings immediate relief. The second skin comes in already precut squares, it’s usually moist, clear in color and has the thickness of several skin layers. It allows the athlete to resume normal activities without any form of discomfort. The procedure of application actually distributes the pressure around the blister rather than on the blister.
The following steps can be used to apply moleskin correctly:
- Measure the moleskin against the blister and cut two pieces of moleskin larger than the blister.
- Take one piece of moleskin and cut a circle in the middle of the piece equal to the size of the blister.
- Liberally apply Tufskin (adherent) to a cotton-tipped applicator and apply to the skin around the blister.
- Allow the Tufskin several minutes to dry.
- Place the piece of moleskin with the cut-out directly over the blister.
- Apply antibiotic to the blister. Place the second piece of moleskin over the first
The double layer skin of the mole skin reduces the pain from the blister by reducing the pressure from the shoe. If the blister is located in friction prone area like the heel then additional light elastic tape can be added to reduce the pressure being exerted on the blister by the shoe.
Long distance hikers and runners will often advocate using superglue for on-the-go blister healing. The superglue heals the blisters by creating a bond between the roof of the blister and the skin underneath the blister. This creates a protective shell around the blister that reduces the risk of infection. Make sure that you have sterilized the blister before applying Superglue and be ready for some stinging.
This is a popular material used for prevention and treatment in the back country, as it’s often a material which people have with them already. It is not breathable, so the skin tends to become saturated underneath. Duct Tape also tends to wrinkle, creating creases that cause further problems. If you do use duct tape, be vigilant with switching it out and consider putting something non-adhesive between the sore and the sticky part.
When taping up toes, heels, and other areas, follow the tips below: (Consider taping as a precautionary measure in blister prone zones, or, once a hot spot has formed).
- Use medical tape, moleskin, Leukotape, hypoallergenic silk tape (which is designed to even stick to moist skin) or whatever type of adhesive dressing you have with you. Be vigilant with switching tape out; a painful open blister can result when the tape is removed after a long period.
- Always place a layer of toilet paper over the skin before applying tape. You can create a bandage by placing a smaller piece of tape in the center of a strip, sticky-side to sticky-side, so a smooth surface lies against the sore. If you put tape directly on a blister, it will pull of any remaining skin when you remove it.
- For toe blisters, take one piece of tape from the bottom of your toe nail and bring it over the top of your toe, securing it underneath. Then take another piece and wrap it around the circumference of the toe, keeping that first piece of tape in place.
- For the balls of your feet, use a wide strip measuring several inches longer than the width of your foot where you’re going to tape. Step on the tape, and wrap the ends around to the top of your foot. Then contour the tape to the shape of your foot.
- Tape adheres much better when your feet are warm and dry, so tape them up right when you get out of your sleeping bag in the morning or before you leave the house.
- Avoid wrinkles with your tape jobs, as they can cause blisters as well.
- You may cut a doughnut-shaped piece of moleskin that fits around the blister rather than directly on it. Gel pads, such as 2nd skin, are great to fill the doughnut with in order to help heal the wound. They also provide extra protection from infection.
Benzoin is a sticky, alcohol-based substance that will disinfect and make tape or moleskin very sticky. It is especially useful if you’re in damp conditions where adhesive tape loses its stickiness.
Other Important Factors To Consider When Looking For A Good Treatment For Blisters
Below are some of the factors that were considered when picking out the best treatment for blisters.
Additional Foot Care Considerations
- Toenails – It’s important that you cut your nails before your hike or run. Trim the nail back to meet the tip of the toe, cutting straight across to avoid other problems, such as ingrown toenails. Make toenail clipping part of your pre-hike routine to help avoid pain and pressure when hiking on a decline. Nails that are too long are also prone to pressure from a constrictive toe box.
- Air out your feet – Any time you’re stopped on the trail for 5 minutes or more, air out your feet to dry them out and to prevent fungus. While you’re stopped, elevate your feet to reduce swelling.
- Take care of your skin – Use a callus file and an over-the-counter cream to soften problem areas on your feet. These creams can also help heal fissures and cracks in the skin that are typically found on heels. Left untreated, fissures can split open and expose underlying tissue to infection. Blisters deep under calluses are difficult to drain and treat.
So that’s it. Those are our ten best recommendations for blister care products. For runners who suffer from blisters there is undoubtedly something in there to help you. Below are a few more pertinent facts about blisters.
In order to help with a bit more information to base your decision off of, we have done a little more research to find out what many other customers are asking when shopping for the most suitable products.
Q. What is a blister exactly?
A. A blister is a pocket of fluid within the upper layers of the skin. With the repetitive movement associated with walking, running, and hiking, friction is most often the culprit. Within your shoes, friction can be caused by your footwear or socks rubbing against your skin. Anything that exaggerates that rubbing can cause a blister. They start out as hot spots, which are indicated by a sensation of warmth and reddened skin followed by burning or stinging. If untreated, a fluid filled blister can result. Heat and moisture are also factors.
Q. How long do blisters last?
A. This depends on their severity of course, but generally blisters resolve within a few days if they are not further aggravated.
Q. Should I pop it?
A. Do a quick google search and you will see that there are some conflicting opinions when it comes to popping blisters. I guess the truth is that there is no one-size-fits all answer. This is a question long debated, but we say the answer to that question is relative to size and infection potential. The answer depends on whether the blister is filled with fluid or not.
The pressure built up by the fluid is usually the cause of the blister being painful, therefore if the blister is filled with fluid the best trick will be: draining a blister that is filled with fluid as this will immediately reduce the pain associated with a blister. When the impending bursting is imminent, why not drain it in a clean environment as opposed to letting it burst in a dirty sock? If the blister is small, often times, the blister’s own skin is the best protection and will actually heal itself through re-absorption. WebMd has a good set of guidelines for different scenarios and it’s what we refer to when in doubt.
Q. How can I prevent blisters from forming?
A. The key to preventing blisters is to reduce the friction that causes the blisters and to prevent clothing (especially socks) from becoming wet with perspiration. For athletes prone to blisters on their feet, a lubricant can be applied directly to the hot spot areas to reduce the friction. Powder can also be applied to the feet to help keep feet dry during exercise. Applying antiperspirant to the bottom of the feet has also been recommended. Some athletes wear two pairs of socks to reduce the friction on the feet by transferring the friction to the socks rather than to the foot.
Because cotton socks can be thick and wrinkle causing pressure within the shoe, changing to a lighter material sock may also be beneficial. Shoes that are too small or too large may also be the cause of blisters. Shoes that are too big allow the feet to slide back and forth within the shoe creating hot spots on the feet. Shoes that are too small can rub on the sides or back of the feet and create blisters. For athletes prone to blisters on the hand, the best recommendation is to wear protective gloves/equipment specifically designed to reduce friction in the athlete’s sport. In the sports of baseball, softball, and weightlifting, gloves can be worn to reduce the friction between the hands and the sport implement.
Q. What causes blisters?
A. Blisters are caused by friction and shearing forces (forces directed across the skin). The friction causes the layers of skin to separate (epidermis from the dermis) and fill with either a clear fluid or blood (if a break in a small blood vessel occurs). Blisters are most commonly found on the hands and the feet.
Friction can be caused by a new shoe rubbing on the foot or by an object rubbing across the skin as in a baseball player swinging a bat. Blisters start as “hot spots”. Initially, the skin area is tender to the touch and becomes red and irritated. If the friction continues, then the layers of skin separate filling the area with fluid. It is the pressure from the fluid that causes the pain because the pressure stimulates the nerves under the skin.
Q. How can these conditions be prevented?
A. The following methods can help minimize chances of you getting blisters.
- Wear shoes that fit properly and comfortably.
- Wear socks with shoes.
- Use foot powder to help keep your feet dry.
Wear gloves when you are doing manual labor or working with your hands.
Q. When to call a professional?
A. The only reason to seek medical care for a blister is if it starts to show any signs of infection. If this occurs seek professional help immediately as complications can arise quickly.
Proper care of blisters can reduce the pain and risk of infection associated with friction blisters while allowing the athlete to continue to compete in their sport without the painful side effects. Immediate care along with the use of innovative sports medicine products can further reduce the discomfort of blisters and keep the athlete performing at his/her best.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Thanks for reading!
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research:
- Gear Review: Adventure Medical Kits Blister Medic, Sporting Website, ,
- How to Put Moleskin Over a Blister, Lifestyle Website, ,
- Take Your Blister Kit To The Next Level, Blister Website, ,
- Review: Pure Limits Unisex Compression Socks, Sporting Website, ,
- Compeed Blister Cushions | Review, Consumer Website, ,
- Body Glide vs. Gold Bond Friction Defense, Fitness Website, ,
- ENGO Blister Prevention Patches, Hiking Website, ,
- 5 Best Socks For Runners to Prevent Blisters, Sporting Website, ,
- Anti-Blister Sock Reviews, Running Website, ,
- Tested: Bodyglide Anti-Chafing Lubricants, Sporting Website, ,