Why I Never Get Blisters – Footcare For Thru Hiking


If you’re hiking upwards of 2,000 miles in a single push knowing how to care of your feet during a thru hike is a super essential skill to have. Your feet are what will take you the distance, an unhappy foot can mean an unhappy hiker, but foot pain or blisters can also mean the end of your trip. Something so small like a little blister can even lead to much more serious injuries as well, so it’s very important to be proactive about footcare!

I personally don’t often get blisters, but I used to get a ton of them! I think it is the preventative things I do with my gear and how I hike that has been the big change. A blister to me means that something is wrong, and if you get a blister it is for a reason that can likely be changed to avoid them in the future! Remember that it is much better to try and stop the blister from ever forming than it is to try and deal with later!

Mentioned in the video:
Leukotape –
Darn Tough Socks –
Grip6 Socks –
Injinji Socks –
Farm to Feet Socks –
Shoe advice video –

0:00 – Intro
1:15 – Shoes
3:27 – Socks
4:45 – Pace
5:32 – Pre-emptive Care
6:25 – Clean Feet & Socks
8:00 – Gaiters
8:44 – Air Out & Elevate
9:12 – Hotspots & Leukotape
10:22 – Blister Care

Prevention!
1. Find a good shoe. The problem is if you have a shoe that is either too tight or too loose. You don’t want your foot and toes squished tightly into your shoe, and you don’t want your foot sliding around in too loose a shoe! Try many brands and sizes out, and find the right one. During a hike like the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail your feet will grow, and you will need to size up. Check out this video I made about shoes!

2. Adjust the shoe, and try different lacing techniques. I often skip the bottom most lace giving my toes more room to breath, preventing blisters between them. People with high arches will skip the middle most lace on their shoes to give more space. There are even ways to tie your shoes to stop your heel from rubbing and lock it in place.

3. Socks are almost as important as shoe! Finding the right size and fit, as well as a comfortable amount of cushion in socks is very similar to the shoe. You don’t want them too tight, or too loose! Some like very little cushion, while others like a lot of cushion.

4. Pace yourself, slow & easy means less blisters. If you are walking at an uncomfortably fast pace, that will cause problems. I recommend walking at a smooth and easy pace *for you* regardless of what others are doing. If you keep it light, smooth, and easy the miles will come.

5. Tape the spot before your trip even begins. If you know you are prone to getting blisters on your heel, tape it! Then when you do start hiking, the tape is already in place to protect you.

6. Keep your feet clean! I try to wash my feet with water once a day if I can. It keeps the dirt, and dust from combining with my sweat which would otherwise create more friction and abrasion causing blisters!

7. Keep your socks clean. I carry two pairs of socks, but three is also great! I swap my socks for the other pair everyday, and will wash the pair I am not currently wearing. Squeezing out whatever grime is in them, and then hanging them from my pack while I hike during the day to let them dry.

8. Wear gaiters. A company like Dirty Girl Gaiters makes a great product that will definitely make your feet happy. Gaiters are used to keep sand and pebbles from getting in your shoe, so that you don’t have to clean them out as often! I highly recommend these.

9. Take time to take off your shoes. Any time you are taking a break longer than 5 minutes, take off your shoes.

10. Be quick with hot spots, as soon as you feel them don’t wait, tape them. Leukotape is best as it sticks well while other brands will fall off or bunch up inside your sock.

– Sock liners, I have personally only had terrible experiences with these causing more blisters than I would have had I not worn them at all. But some like them

Problem! Now you got a blister
– If it is small, don’t pop it but try to protect it. If it is large, pop it with a clean needle + thread. Leave the thread in the blister to keep it from resealing, and then protect it. Change plans & slow down.

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22 comments

  • Thank you for watching! I think footcare is a very important practice when it comes to long distance hiking so I am glad I can offer up some info that has worked for me! Goodluck to everyone out hiking this year!

  • Compeed Blister Plasters Pack perform far better for blisters after a blister has started to form or has already formed, they're so much more comfortable than leukotape, I did a side-by-side comparison with Compeed blister pads on one foot and leukotape on the other with blisters on the middle-front bottom sole of the feet (on the Overland Track in Tasmania), Compeed was much less painful than leukotape.

  • Xero shoes for the win! There is no other shoe I can wear anymore. Hfs and all the hiking are super super comfortable!
    Just found your channel and I love your tips!

  • Great video, thanks so much.
    I'm planning for my first long distance hike, not really experienced so far. I prefer walking in non Goretex shoes to prevent moisture from sweating. But when it comes to bad weather an rain, they are soaking wet within minutes and wet feet are prone to blisters. How do you handle this problem?
    All best for your future hikes.

  • Love the adhesive paper tip for the leukotape; thanks!

  • What is your opinion on a pair of camp shoes to give your feet a break from your hiking shoes? What do you use for camp shoes (if you carry camp shoes)?

  • Darn Tough socks are my one and only choice. They are American-made by a family company and they have a life-time guarantee.

  • Great stuff! What watch are you wearing?

  • I hike in Xeros & Injinjis too. πŸ™‚

  • Anytime you take your shoes off you should change your socks. If you are prone to blisters wear nylon dress socks under whatever hiking sock you choose. Have fun stay safe.

  • Video quality on this is πŸ‘

  • Many useful tips – thank you!

    One additional advice: use aloe vera (cream) for skin care and blisters.

  • Your use of the round corn pads to relieve pressure on small blisters is a great idea! I use a portion of a Telfa pad cut to a size slightly larger than the blister or hot spot. It acts to absorb any fluid escaping, prevents the leukotape tape I place on top from pulling the skin away when changed and provides a little bit of padding to relieve any pain that a blister might have produced. Rotating socks through the day or just drying the ones I'm wearing at my lunch break and adding some foot powder normally keep blisters from forming for me. Callous build up can normally be remedied by soaking your feet and then using a pumice stone to remove much of the top layers. Great summary of foot care ideas! Martin.

  • Best backpacker footcare video I’ve seen yet.

  • My brother got the record for the Australian Alpine Walking Track, he was very fit, but had limited experience with long hikes, well half way through the hike he called us for help, he had multiple blisters on both feet, and as each blister swelled, parts of his foot near the blister started rubbing more inside his shoes, which caused more blisters, etc so by the time we got to him all the blisters were infected and on top of that he sprained both ankles and had sprained one ankle twice and were both also swollen, his feet were an absolute mess! Large parts of this track weren’t really a track anymore apparently, it was just rocky barren wilderness plus the pace he was trying to hold resulted in sprains.
    He asked us to bring him some sandals (choko I think was the brand?) and he finished the hike in sandals. Also another weird request was he was craving chocolate for some reason but he normally never ate any junk food, but he chewed that chocolate down like he was starving πŸ€”

  • I learned a lot here. Adjustments you can make in the trail. Thank you!

  • If you all like Jupiter, ya need to subscribe to "Walking Tapeworm." He's on the AT finishing his triple crown! Both these dudes are cool as hell!

  • This is one of the best videos on blister prevention/treatment I’ve come across – very helpful, and well produced.

  • Right on πŸ€ πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½
    I've not used that tape
    But will get some to play with and learn what it's about πŸ™‚.
    What i am quite familiar with is "Opsite post op visible"
    Opsite is a name brand ! But I learned of it's wide range of use from being married to a CCU RN. I suggest anybody interested Google the term off site and from there you'll just take off and all kinds of directions you'll find that there's other name brands for similar type of wound care it's addressing it's highly waterproof which is great for when you're crossing streams and you've got that hot spot covered with a piece of it it comes in sheets and you can just cut it off with your neck knife pocket knife whatever it is that you carry. You'll also learn that it's breathable as it's meant to let vapor or moisture from the wound to be able to come through and dry out. Etc.
    Foot care… Great topic & advise !!!
    I've been a hiker for more than 50 years and foot Care is definitely important especially when you're in extremely warm environments where the feet can heat up the shoe heats up heat comes from the ground that you're walking on radiates upward into the shoe and in cases your foot this can be an issue.
    So I have found that your policy on foot Care is spot on. Definitely keep it clean when you're at a water source take the time to stop and wash them out let him dry off the whole nine yards and if you have to keep a third pair just for sleeping in to keep you warm. But your bag clean ☺️🀠.
    Peace and keep on rocking the free world 🌎.
    B O L on ur thru hike you've got this one πŸ˜‡πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

  • πŸ‘ Good advice. Walking long distances with a limp will effect your spine. Blisters is the number one reason limp on the trail.

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