How to Avoid a Blister When Walking a Half-Marathon

Wearing the correct shoes and socks reduces your chances of blisters.

Wearing the correct shoes and socks reduces your chances of blisters.

Training for and completing a half-marathon can be the achievement of a lifetime. But if your feet develop blisters, every step of the 13.1-mile event will be a painful ordeal. Even the most seasoned athletes can get excruciating blisters during a half-marathon, but you'll have a much better chance of completing the event pain-free if you prepare your feet properly.

Purchase shoes that fit you correctly to limit your chances of developing blisters during the half-marathon. If your shoes are too loose, your feet can move excessively inside of your footwear, which often results in blisters on your heels. If your shoes are too tight, blisters on your toes are common. When you've laced up your shoes tightly, you should have about a thumb's-width of space between your big toe and the shoe's front edge.

Wear socks that fit your feet comfortably and aren't too large or too small. When you pull the sock tight, it shouldn't be so snug that it cuts off the circulation, but it also shouldn't leave excess material at your heel or toes. Consider socks made of synthetic material that wicks away moisture, as traditional cotton socks can remain damp and irritate your skin.

Place a second pair of socks over your existing socks before starting the half-marathon. When you walk, it's common for your socks to rub against your skin, which can cause blisters. When you wear a second pair of socks, the socks will rub against each other. Other options include wearing double-layered socks, which are available at many sporting goods stores, or even knee-high nylon stockings under your socks.

Coat your feet with a lubricant such as petroleum jelly or an anti-blister medication before donning your socks and shoes for the event. Although doing so is messy, the lubricant helps protect your skin from the chafing of your socks.

Items you will need

  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Lubricant
  • Bandages

Tips

  • If you plan to wear extra socks during the half-marathon, ensure that your shoes fit correctly when both pairs of socks are on your feet. If the shoes are too snug, consider purchasing larger shoes.
  • In the event you commonly develop blisters on your feet while training for the half-marathon, place bandages over these areas before the event.

Warning

  • If you develop blisters during the half-marathon, wash your feet thoroughly with soap and water as soon as you can. Shoes can be breeding grounds for bacteria, which can quickly result in an infected blister.
 

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images