My Insanely Elaborate Blister Prevention System

I have something to celebrate: I came out of the TCS NYC Marathon with all of my toenails! Not only that, but NOT ONE BLISTER!

blister bitch bubbles

After last year’s Philly Marathon, my tootsies looked like someone had taken a hammer to them:

black toenails plantar plate tear toe drift

Martyr left 2nd toenail barely hanging on, 2nd right toe “drifting” toward big toe, blisters on the side of each big toe, unexpected and totally rando black toenail on 4th toe.

This year, I could be a foot model. Haha, just kidding. But I was shocked…shocked! to find zero damage after I peeled off my compression socks post-marathon this year.

To partake in my blister-free bliss, I’m going to share with you my Insanely Elaborate Blister Prevention System, because believe me, this blister-free life doesn’t come easy.

Disclaimer: Only guaranteed up to 26.2 miles. Anything over that, I cannot be held responsible. Really, I cannot be held responsible for any blisters you get, ever. Because you’re probably a runner and I’m a runner and runners do stupid things to their feet. Also, only guaranteed if you have my exact same foot shape, bunions and bunionettes, Morton’s Toe, a formerly damaged plantar plate tear, former plantar fasciitis, and callouses on the side of your big toes that never go away no matter how much the nail tech scrapes, scrubs, and grunts (true story). Basically, only if you have feet that are as anatomically messed-up as mine.

Start my making sure you have some grown-out nail polish that is halfway covering your hideous blackened toenails that you got from forgetting that when you run in the afternoons during the first week of school, your feet turn into balloons and you have to go up a 1/2 size.

marathon blister prevention

It’s not blurry. It’s soft-focus.

Next get out your arsenal.

marathon blister prevention

Not seen: Cheap nylon footies.

As a precautionary measure, I still tape down my cranky toe with waterproof tape on my right foot. I find that the generic tape doesn’t stick as well. Buy the J&J stuff.

marathon blister prevention

The taping holds my toe’s ligament in place. Also, who knew a big-toe callus could reflect so much light?

Now the blister prevention can begin.

First, I apply Body Glide stick to my usual hot spot areas – the insides of my feet.  The Body Glide “For Her” was the only thing in stock at the store at the time. It’s for when you want to feel more feminine while you lube up your bunions.

marathon blister prevention

Lube those puppies.

Then, I apply Mission 5-hour Anti-Chafe ON TOP of the Body Glide. Why? Two different viscosities = double protection. If one fails, there’s a backup. I also put some Mission on the tips of my toes and my heels out of an abundance of caution.

Next, I ready my footies. Nylon footie socks are KEY. Yes, the kind you can buy at Target, CVS, Walgreens, etc.

marathon blister prevention

The key to ending your misery.

Blisters form when 2 things (in this case your skin and your shoe) rub against each other. If you wear footies UNDER your running socks, your skin will not have direct contact with the part of your shoe that’s rubbing — it will rub against your sock instead, which is way more forgiving.

Before I put the footies on, I sprinkle in 2Tom’s Blister Prevention Powder, you know, because IT CAN’T HURT.

marathon blister prevention

I might as well throw a pinch of it over my shoulder, too.

IMG_0096

Once the footies are on, I put on my regular socks (for short runs) or compression socks (longer than 2 hour runs) over them. The easiest way to put on compression socks is to roll them down and out before you put them on, then, instead of having to slide them up (which is impossible), you just roll them up. Who am I kidding? They’re still a pain in the patootie to get on. But here’s my regular, mid-weight, wicking socks.

marathon blister prevention

My new favorite, from Wrightsocks.

Now you’re ready for shoes. In theory, if you have good fitting shoes, you won’t get blisters. However, if you’ve got gnarly feet like mine, you might have to make some modifications. Since my bout two years ago with plantar fasciitis, I had custom orthotics made, and they all but cured it. Since my toe injury one year ago, I added a metatarsal pad on the right side. I can’t say enough about what a godsend these things are.

marathon blister prevention

Worth it.

I have bunions on both the inside and the outside of my feet. The outside ones are more problematic for running. One day out of desperation, I grabbed a pair of scissors, took a deep breath, and poked 4 holes in my $160 Hokas; one on each side. It was the best thing I ever did. My feet were ecstatic!

marathon blister prevention

Oh yes I did poke a hole in my Hokas! This was the second pair I’ve hacked.

And there you have it. My Insanely Elaborate Blister Prevention System. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Do you get blisters? What do you use to prevent them? Do you have gnarly feet and just need to vent? Do so in the comments below!

 

 

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6 thoughts on “My Insanely Elaborate Blister Prevention System

  1. Looking at your feet, I wonder if I have little toe bunions (as well as my huge R bunion – I don’t even see yours comparatively! – and the start of one on the L. I always thought it was just that my toes got sort of re-shaped by shoes over the years as shoes are never wide enough. (Even Hokas) 10EE, overpronator w custom orthotics & bunions, that’s me. I have only had (knock wood) one blister but it just hangs around, top of 2nd toe on the R, probably related to displacement due to bunion. And to think I only started body gliding my feet in the last month!

    • My bunions have never really been a problem, except for when fitting shoes. I’ve had “wide” feet as long as I can remember, however, after experimenting with wide widths, I realize that the widest part of my foot doesn’t hit where wide-width shoes can accomodate. I’ve found Hokas to be the LEAST forgiving, and run quite narrow, hence the hole-poking. BTW, outside bunions are called “bunionettes.” Isn’t that darling?

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