Don’t let the enemy be your favorite pair of shoes.
You may be able to shrug and say “Fashion over comfort!” at 7 AM, but by 7 PM, you want to throw those new shoes into the trash.
Blisters, such as those from brand-new shoes, can cause incredible pain—enough to convince you to sneak off your shoes under the conference table for some long-awaited relief. (We’ve all done it.) Sure, everyone knows choosing the right shoe will put a stop to most blisters, but sometimes you just gotta throw on those impractical heels.
Just because you’re a staunch believer in treating your shoes like an accessory to your outfit does not mean you have to be a victim of blisters. Blisters are caused by friction between the shoe and the foot, such as when a strap is too tight or a shoe fits too loosely, both of which can cause extra rubbing.
Here are six simple ways to cut down on the friction and blister-proof your feet.
Wear the right size. It’s one thing to choose a stiff shoe in the name of fashion, but at least get one that fits! Avoid borrowing shoes from a friend, sister, or gym buddy: Even if you wear the same size, your shoe loaner has already broken in the shoes to fit their own feet, and they might not give you the necessary support. Oh, and the same goes for used shoes on eBay. (You could always try giving the shoe new life with some quality orthotic inserts.)
Get dry. Never throw your shoes on right after a shower. If you have any extra moisture in the feet (whether it’s water or sweat), your shoes will be more likely to rub against the feet and leave blisters. Towel off your tootsies.
Keep ‘em dry. Obviously, feet sweat. All that sweat creates a blister-happy environment, so stop the problem using moisture-wicking socks and talcum powder to keep those toes dry, even on 90-degree days. FYI, it’s normal to have sweaty socks by the end of the day, so don’t feel weird about changing socks midday. You may find yourself with fewer blisters and less stank. (Here are more remedies for smelly feet.)
Break them in. Some shoes need less breaking in than others, and those hard, plastic flats definitely need a few days. Instead of torturing your feet and getting blisters for a week, take the time to loosen them up at home. An actual shoe stretcher works miracles, but you can also try stuffing them with socks or other extra fabrics. Another way to stretch out the shoe safely is to wear thick socks and your new, stubborn shoes around the house—but take it easy. Try wearing them while lounging on the couch or sitting at the dinner table. You’ll be able to stretch them without damaging your feet by walking around.
Get balmy. If your shoes are causing blisters in a specific spot, try rubbing a little lip balm or petroleum jelly right onto the blister-prone spot. This will ease up some of that friction. Yeah, regular ol’ Chapstick does the trick too.
Pad up. Blister pads are a classic standby for a reason. They come in a variety of styles, and you can even buy reusable ones, in case you suffer from chronic blistering. If you’re looking for a quick fix at home, try gauze or a cotton ball, attached with a bandage.
A final word: Do not pop the blister! (Seriously, don’t.) You will simply invite infections by doing this, so let it heal on its own.