Running through blisters

I got new trainers a few weeks ago, which I'm pretty sure are well broken in by now. I moved from a neutral to a mild support shoe at the advice of my running shop, since - ironically - my neutral shoe was giving me blisters at the front of my foot.

The new trainers have fixed this, but I'm getting blisters at my heel where the support is now. Some days it's worse than others, but I got a bad one on Sunday so I went back to the shop on Monday for some advice.

I've got good socks, the trainers are otherwise great, and the owner of the shop (who I trust implicitly, having swapped my old trainers for the current ones without charge) says my feet are just prone to blistering and she had a similar problem a while ago. The advice is that I should get the Compeeds on, keep running, and things should eventually improve.  

And so to my point (there is one, honest). I'm quite happy to take this advice, and grin/grimace and bear it for a while, but I just wondered if anyone has experienced anything similar? Any advice to make it easier would be great too, I really don't want to stop running if I can help it.

Thanks in advance. 


  • Rugby players use surgical spirit to harden up their feet.  Worth a try but if I was you I would try to find some trainers that didn't cause blisters. 
  • Shimmy, this sounds unbelievably stupid, but I think it's taken you to say that to make me think I should maybe try and get a second opinion. Am I being too loyal to my usual shop? I'd feel really guilty for going elsewhere!
  • I know what you mean but how painful are the blisters?  I would rather get a second opinion than run with blisters.

    your running shoes should feel like a comfy pair of slippers and they shouldnt really need breaking in.  I can put on a new pair of my Mizunos then go out and do a long run without any rubbing at all.

  • Pretty painful. They've been relatively minor for the last couple of weeks, but as I said, a big sucker appeared on my left foot on Sunday. I sorted that with a needle and some surgical spirit, then got one on my right foot yesterday! I'll see how they feel tomorrow, but I'm not sure I'll manage a run the way they feel at the moment. It's really bloody annoying because I'm a fairly new runner (just started 'properly' towards the end of last year) and I feel like this has come just as I've built up a pretty good level of fitness.
  • Defo go and get a second opinion.  You should not be in this much discomfort.  What ones are you in at the mo?
  • Asics GT2140, moved from Brooks Glycerin 6.
  • I thought you might be saying Asics.  They either fit your feet or they dont.  Many people cannot wear them at all (me included) and others swear by them. 

    I would try a different shoe.  How many did you try or did you just go for the ones they suggested?

    If the neutral ones were pinching at the front then maybe you just needed an extra half size up.  Were you wearing the same size as you would wear in normal shoes or did you have a shoe half a size too big?  you really need to go for the extra half size to allow for foot swelling.

    Did they say that you needed a support shoe for pronation?  or was it just because you were getting blisters?

  • i just got asics gt2140 the other week and they blistered my arch.  i use racers twice a week for speed sessions so that gave my feet a break.  i also put an uber sticky plaster on (from work, no idea what brand).  they took a couple of weeks but they're fine now.  you can grin and bare it for only so long though.  alternating new shoes with old shoes can sometimes help if there is going to be a problem with blistering, especially if you run every day.  compeed are good, but as a long term solution will be expensive.  i'd def go back and speak to the guys in the shop once more, or go and get advice elsewhere, and make sure you're in the right shoes. 
  • I tried two other pairs of Brooks, both of which I quite liked, but the advice was the 2140 was one of the safest shoes around. Don't get me wrong, it felt really good in the shop.

    The neutral shoes were actually a full size smaller than what I'd normally take, eg for work shoes. But they did say my foot was rolling in a bit on the toe-off, and there has been no problem at all at the front of my feet with the Asics so I think that bit of support has helped.

    Is it uncommon to have this much trouble finding the right shoe when you're new to the sport?

  • try taking the insole out of the new shoe and replacing it with the stock insole from an old may be somthing as simple as the insole of the new shoe catches your foot to cause the blister or there may be some rough stitching in the new shoe, chack raound the inside of the shoe for this......, obviously difficult to say without seeing your feet, but it may be as simple as this or it may be the shoe just doesn't work for you

    good luck

  • Cheers JB - wearing compeed is getting pretty tiresome, and as you say, expensive! It's not even as though it's sorting the problem, either.
  • Blimey a full size smaller?? that could be part of the toe blisters.  Try the same shoe in the correct size.

    Were you getting any other pain ie knee pain, ankle pain that would suggest that you had a pronation problem?

  • I used to have bad knee pain, but got physio for ITBS and it's right as rain now. No other pain apart from that, no. They did show me the video analysis though and I could see what they were talking about. I think I will get a second opinion though, it's really frustrating.
  • That would be the best idea.  Good luck!! image
  • Thanks Shimmy, and thanks a million for your help, it's really appreciated.

    Thanks to you too footman, I'll have a look for hidden scratchy bits and maybe see if they feel any different with my old insoles.

  • No problems.  Any time image

    Let us know how it goes.  Especially the insole idea.  good idea that

  • Here's a few things to try: 

    It's often claimed that good trainers no longer need wearing in. This is simply a generalisation. Even a pair of good shoes with a good fit may cause blisters and discomfort for a couple of weeks, especially if the last/brand is different from your previous pair. Feet and gait adapt to the shoe, and it takes alittle time. Callouses on the foot are a part of this 'adaptation'.

    I run up to 140km per week, and at that volume persistent discomfort from blisters can have a noticeable affect on gait/stride and quickly lead to injury in other areas.

    I had similar problems when I first started out with my current 'best' pair of marathon shoes - deep blisters around the heel AND under the ball of the forefoot. I did a bunch of things to get me through the difficult first two weeks. NOTE: If the problems persist after a couple of hundred km of training then chances are the shoes just aren't right for you.

    Here's my recommendations in no particular order:

    1) Buy a pair or two of twin-layer socks. They're designed specifically to alleviate/prevent blisters. In my experience  they work brilliantly. E.g. Ron Hill 'twin skins' - expensive  but worth every penny

    2) Use a shoe/foot powder after running, I find it helps with blisters but don't know exactly why. One possibility is that it sucks the excess moisture out of dead/near-dead skin. I don't know.

    3) Use a pumice stone to smooth out any rough edges on old callouses/blisters.

    4) Occasional moisturising of dry areas of dead skin - helps keep the skin live and elastic, prevents tearing.

    5) This worked brilliantly for me - I padded out the area either side of my blister/friction-point with a little rolled-up toilet roll. It relieved the pressure and friction at  the blister and allowed me to continue running while my shoes softened up.

    6) Experiment a little with the lacing of your shoes. Relieve the tension around the upperfoot and add tension to the lower foot and vice-versa. Try different lacing patterns - there's a great article on the US version of this site (.com) and maybe it's here too...

    7)Plasters are obviously a temporary fix and frequently come off. A more radical solution is to use the very strong,sticky and effective surgical tape that is normally used for holding down bandages/padding. The glue on this stuff is very strong, and it isn't quite meant for the following purpose: I sometimes apply this directly to the skin if I have a sore-spot/imminent blister/freshly burst blister but want to guarantee zero discomfort during a race. This is something you should avoid doing regularly - post race you'll probably rip most of the dead skin off your foot when you remove it. Potentially painful, and liable to temporarily exacerbate the problem post-race.

  • Last time I cahanged my trainer I got a fair few blisters, particularly after I ran a half marathon. I found once I had a blister it was liabile to keep coming up, despite popping it each time I ran. In the end it took a good few weeks for the skin underneath to recover, and the hard outer layer of the blister to come off. Since then I'm been fairly much blister free.

    Oh and each time I ran I COVERED my feet in plasters, over all the areas I'd had previous blisters. I found compeed too expensive so went will run of the mill plasters and they seemed to work.

  • My advice (and you can see there's many opinions)
    - I use thick thorlos socks now (I got worse blisters with 2-skin socks than ever)
    - I stick to neutral shoes - the supposedly correct support ones gave me endless blisters
    - get the right size ... I now go up 1/2 size to what I used to & use the lacing techniques to tighten & stop movement
    - find the right shoe for your feet ... I now mainly use Mizuno & New Balance, both plaster & blister free
    - hit any sore spots early - I use liberal rubbing of germolene before a run - to stop any friction
      (and more if it's likely to be wet - that seems to increase chances of rubbing)
    - have a few pairs of shoes (to vary sore spots)

    - if you do get blisters - I use fabric dressing strip & fabric strapping - both sold in metres or more, just cut to length as needed

  • Blisters usualy form when you have damp socks.Try some foot deodrant.
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