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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Case of The Blister Vs The Shoe, Sock and Runner

Blisters aren't a runners friend and if you've been running for any period time you've encountered these irritating buggers, that seek to sideline us or at a minimum slow us down.  There's a segment of the foot care industry devoted to keeping runners on their feet and hitting the pavement daily.  This is pure speculation on my part but, I can imagine a fanatical runner wanting to continue running with a blister and as a result the blister band aid was born.  Soon the market would be flooded with wicking socks, foot powder, Body Glide and Blister Shield

Hoka Cliftons and Injinji Socks
Blisters get a bad rap, shoes get blamed for the cause and point to socks as the culprit, after all they are closer to the feet so they must be guilty.  The smartest one out of the bunch, the runner takes a hit for the blister but, seldom jumps to assume responsibility. 

Blisters know how they are formed, add a little friction moisture and presto you've got a blister.  The case was scheduled to be heard before the RFCD-(Runners Foot Counsel on Dryness). Before the RFCD handed their ruling we took to social media court of public opinion and let's just say things weren't so cut and dry-the opinions spanned the trinity, shoe, sock and runner.  And for good measure some tossed in Obama and the republicans, must have been the runners high talking.

Injinji's felt strange...  Now I think of them as mini comforters for my toes
The only time I got a blister was while cross training in my Newton Gravity's and a pair of Nike compression socks.  For the record, your honor I'm not blaming the shoes or the socks.  Did they play a part in the hot spot? Yes, by default because they just happened to be the gear I was wearing at the time.  Newton's aren't designed for cross training and when I slipped on the socks I didn't like the feel but I loved the color.  It was a rookie mistake.  Since that experience I've been in search of the perfect sock for me and like my kicks I've tried just about every brand on the market.  Below are a few of my faves and they were  also mentioned the most in the social media court of public opinion in preparation for this piece:  Balega, Feetures, Injinji, Swiftwick and Thorlo Pads 12 

Socks play a critical role in making my feet smile
"Proper socks have changed my life"  according to Leslie.  As the responses came in I realized that runners are just as passionate about their socks as they are about their kicks.  Rae said Balega's are my favorite socks.  Tonja recalled: "The one and only time she got a blister was during a race, but I ran a full and a half marathon in the same day." Tonja later added: "I wouldn't recommend this as a best practice."  Beastmode or Crazy I don't judge!  Jeff whole hardly believes that blisters are the fault of the runner, "The runner is always to blame, the runner is the only one out of the three that can monitor the situation make decisions take action and learn from the situation."  Elsie firmly believes that it's the runners fault, her #1 rule is "As soon as you feel a blister coming on stop and take care of your feet."  The court room erupted as the plaintiffs attorney objected, "Your honor you can't allow that it's highly prejudicial and I ask that her testimony be stricken from the record". Really?  Yes I am aware that if you aren't properly fitted for running shoes and wear cotton socks these factors can invite a blister.

I came across this blog by momslittlerunningbuddy-(I think there's an additional buddy) on IG which had 5 Ways to Prevent Blisters While Running and thought I'd share it with you.  I would like to enter it into evidence.  After hearing all the evidence the RFCD had this to say prior to ruling on the case: "blisters will continue to haunt runners and while we have measures in place to reduce friction and treat blisters and hot spots after the fact, runners are strange birds stubborn and tenacious who run in circles to simple round off their run so as to not end on an uneven note."  For those who are new to running they will be granted a pass for obtaining what some consider a badge of honor but, for those season veteran runners the RFCD has determined that, the responsibility for a blister lies squarely on the shoulders or should I say toes of the runner.  



  1. Its the shoe manufactures' fault. If the shoe manufacturers didn't consistently change shoes and discontinue shoes from one year to the next, then you could put the blame of blisters on the runner. Since a shoe is a moving target year in year out the blame has to go to the shoe manufacturer. Great Post though!!

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