There is nothing more annoying than wearing a pair of shoes only to find that a few hours later that they are hurting your feet and you’ve been left with painful blisters. I know when this has happened to me before I’ve thrown the offending shoes into my closet and vowed never to wear them again. This isn’t obviously a sensible solution, especially for expensive shoes so here is how to fix shoes that give you blisters.
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Why Are My Shoes Causing Blisters?
There are plenty of reasons why your shoes can cause friction. Here are just some of the most popular reasons for foot blisters.
- Ill-Fitting Shoes – If you buy shoes that don’t fit properly then you are likely to get friction hot spots which hurt.
- New Shoes – New shoes often need breaking in. If you don’t do this you can get blisters and shoe bites.
- Shoe Without Adequate Support – Unsupportive shoes allow more foot movement which causes friction.
- Shoes Made From Stiff Materials – Certain materials such as stiff leather are harder on your feet.
- Sweaty Feet – Moisture and sweat are one of the prime reasons why people experience blisters. Choose natural materials that breathe.
- High Heels – Heels put your feet into an unnatural position and that can cause pain and discomfort.
- Friction From Socks or Seams – Ill-fitting socks with seams or seams in shoes can rub against your foot.
- Physical Activity – Running or Hiking can cause blisters because of the increased motion and intensity of movement.
- Foot Abnormalities – Heel spurs, bunions, and hammer toes tend to protrude in your shoes creating points where your feet rub.
If you want to know how to fix shoes that give you blisters then you need to identify which of these issues is the culprit to solve the problem.
Do Blisters Mean Shoes Are Too Small?
Whilst wearing shoes that are too small for your feet can certainly cause blisters it isn’t the only cause.
Wearing shoes that are too large or ill-fitting can also start blisters forming because of the friction as your foot moves up and down. You can read my post on “how much heel slip is normal?” to get a better idea of how your shoes should fit.
Foot blisters can also be created because of shoe materials, sweat, repetitive intense motion, seams, and the height of your heels.
Getting shoes that fit properly in the right natural materials is usually a good place to start if you want to prevent chafing and reduce friction.
How To Prevent Blisters From New Shoes
If you want to know how to fix shoes that give you blisters start by buying shoes that are the right size and shape for your feet. When you buy new shoes make sure that the shoe material is natural and that the shoes aren’t stiff and unforgiving.
As an example, I’ve talked a lot about Doc Martens in previous posts. Whilst these are robust shoes it is well known that the leather the shoes are made from is tough on your feet during the initial break-in period. If you select shoes like these then expect to spend a couple of months breaking them in slowly before your feet get used to them.
When I buy a new pair of shoes I’m older and wiser and look out for problems that might cause me foot pain right from when I try them on. Any shoes that pinch, have rough edges or seams, and don’t have extra padding or comfortable insoles get put right back on the shop shelf.
I now choose slightly softer leather shoes with arch support, and comfort insoles to prevent rubbing and to reduce movement. I rarely need to break in my shoes using this method.
If you are worried that you won’t find anything fashionable this is rarely the case. Shoe manufacturers have definitely become better at creating comfortable shoes that can also be fashionable as well.
How To Fix Shoes That Give You Blisters – Stretch Them!
If you have some shoes that do feel too small don’t despair as there are plenty of ways that you can stretch them to make them fit your feet better.
My favorite method is by using shoe stretchers to increase the size of your shoes. Typically you can buy shoe stretchers that increase the length and width of your shoes usually by up to one size. You can also buy ones that increase the depth of your shoes which can be useful if you have any problems with foot abnormalities like hammer toes.
Shoe stretchers are really easy to use. You just place them in your shoes for 24 hours and tighten them to create pressure on the shoe material. Usually, when the stretcher is taken out you should have more room in your shoe.
Shoe stretching sprays also help you to make your shoes slightly larger. All you need to do is spray the inside of your shoes and then walk around in them to allow the stretching spray to create more room. Shoe stretching sprays can also be used in conjunction with a shoe stretcher.
Use a hair dryer to stretch your shoes if you don’t have anything else around. Just wear some thick socks and put shoes on your feet. Now aim the hairdryer at the problem area of your shoes. The blow dryer needs to heat the leather but not burn it. As you wear the shoes the leather should expand slightly and give you enough room to move your feet without rubbing in the future.
Softening Your Shoes To Prevent Them Hurting
The type of material your shoes are made from can also cause rubbing and friction. Preventing blisters in this case means either buying shoes made from softer materials or softening the shoes that you already have.
Hard leather shoes are often the cause of problems especially when they are brand new. This is why I always recommend you spend time breaking in your shoes by wearing them for short periods only whilst the shoes mold to your feet. This allows your feet to get used to the shoes and adapt to the shape of your foot.
If breaking your shoes isn’t working or isn’t fast enough them you can soften leather using products like leather conditioners, dubbin or mink oil. Just remember to test a small inconspicuous part of your shoe first to make sure the leather conditioner doesn’t change the color of your shoes.
To use dubbin just apply the product onto a soft cloth and massage it into your shoes. Use a hair dryer to heat it slightly so it rubs in better. Don’t use too much product! Apply it thinly and allow it to dry before buffing your shoes or boots.
Why Are My Shoes Suddenly Giving Me Blisters? – The Problem of Sweaty Feet
If you have been wearing your shoes quite happily without them giving your problems and then suddenly they start giving you blisters then friction from moisture may be the culprit.
Summer is a prime time for this problem to start as the weather gets hotter and that means your feet start to sweat more than normal.
Cotton socks or moisture-wicking socks can help to draw moisture away from your skin and can help to lower the problems with friction. However, my preferred product for stopping sweat is the wonderful Carpe Antiperspirant Foot Lotion.
This product is like magic in the summer and helps to keep your feet dry and cool. Just rub a small pea-sized amount on your feet and the sweat just stops.
High Heels May Cause Friction and Shoe Bites
If you want to know how to fix shoes that give you blisters you may want to reconsider wearing high heels.
High heels especially the taller ones push your foot into an unnatural shape and force gravity to push your foot forward in your shoes. When this happens and your foot is sliding forward it can start to rub against your shoes and cause blisters.
I have a whole post on how to stop your foot sliding forward in heels that you can read to help you with preventing blisters or foot pain when you are wearing them.
In the longer term think about saving the high heels for only special occasions and choosing shoes with lower heels to keep your feet in a better position.
Protect Feet From Blisters By Wearing Seamless Socks
Believe it or not, certain socks can also cause problems with blisters and rubbing especially if the seams are in the wrong place.
Wearing the right socks doesn’t just keep your feet dry but can also help with blister prevention. Seamless socks prevent ridges from your socks from hitting the inside of your shoes and causing problems.
You also should make sure that any shoes you buy don’t have any problem seams or raised sections inside your shoes as they can cause problems as well.
If you do have an issue with a shoe seam causing a problem either cover it with duct tape or my preferred method which is using cushioned moleskin to smooth out the inside of the shoe.
Wearing Shoes For Sporting Activities
One big area where people experience problems with rubbing or friction is when they are wearing running shoes or other types of sports shoes.
Sports footwear differs from ordinary shoes because you are often moving around more whilst wearing them and are moving at a great intensity than you would be walking.
My sister and brother-in-law are both keen on marathon and trail running so know a lot about how to prevent blisters when they are wearing their running shoes for long runs.
They always make sure they visit a specialty running store before buying their shoes so that they get the perfect fit for them. Running stores usually have experts and equipment to video your running style so that they can find shoes that suit their feet. If you do the same you are less likely to experience problems.
If they do have any issues they apply anti-chafing balm to the areas that are rubbing to lubricate the area. This creates a barrier between your skin and the running shoes which in turn prevents friction.
You might also want to think about different lacing techniques to help stop your shoes from moving on your feet. One of the most popular is the “heel lock” lacing technique which prevents heel blisters by making your shoes more secure on your feet.
Does Vaseline Stop Shoes Rubbing?
Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly as it is also known as a way of preventing friction in shoes and sandals however it isn’t my preferred choice because it can stain your clothes!
Anti-chafing balms for your feet are a much better lubricant to use and less messy. These really don’t cost very much and are usually small enough to fit in your pockets or bag in case you need to reapply them during the day.
All Shoes Give Me Blisters – Foot Abnormalities
Whilst most of my top tips should work there are of course exceptions and often this is because of foot abnormalities that are causing problems.
If you do have a problem like hammertoes or bunions then you might need to wear special shoes to reduce friction and stop foot pain.
I have a post you can read which discusses the best sandals for hammer toes and that should give you some ideas of the footwear you could wear if you have this problem.
If you have bunions then think about buying shoes that have a wide front and that are made from softer materials so that the point at which your big toe protrudes is less likely to be irritated by harsh materials. These WHITIN Women’s Wide Minimalist Barefoot Shoes are a perfect example of a shoe that is ideal if you have bunions.
Ankle Blisters From Shoes – Wear Insoles
Finally, if you want to stop issues with ankle or heel blisters you might want to consider wearing insoles or orthotics inside your shoes to change your foot positioning.
Many people find that their shoes tend to hit their ankle or Achilles Tendon at just the wrong spot and when that happens they get blisters and foot pain.
Cushioned insoles can help to raise your foot slightly higher inside your footwear so that this spot is avoided.
Cushioned insoles are only one solution. You can also get heel wedges, orthotics, and half inserts to alter the way your foot sits inside your shoes. These can make a big difference in blister prevention and comfort.
So if you want to know how to fix shoes that give you blisters run through each of my tips to see which is the best solution for your particular problem. My advice should help you to keep your feet comfortable, reduce rubbing and stop your foot pain.
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