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What Causes Hiking Blisters?

A man helping his partner over a rock during a hike

If you love hiking but hate the blisters that come with it, you’ll likely want to know what causes them in the first place. After you know why blisters form, you can take action to reduce the risks of them happening and ensure you have a comfortable hiking experience. Find out more about the primary causes of hiking blisters and how you can prevent them while you’re out on the trail.

6 Main Causes of Hiking Blisters

The primary cause of hiking blisters comes from friction. When you’re hiking, your socks and boots will rub against your feet. This rubbing creates friction that makes your skin’s thick outer layers move more than its thinner inner layers. Eventually, this friction creates a hot spot where the inner layers separate from the outer layers. With the layers separated, fluid fills the area between them, causing a blister to form.

While friction is the primary cause of hiking blisters, a few other factors can accelerate the process. Take a moment to review them below:

Tight boots and shoes

Since friction plays a major role in blisters forming, you can probably guess that tight shoes and boots can increase the chances of blisters. The longer you wear ill-fitting footwear, the more your skin will rub against your socks and shoes, causing more friction. This friction then creates blisters, making appropriately-sized footwear a must.

Excess moisture

While out on the trail, you’ll often run into rain or wet conditions that cause your feet to get wet. This excess moisture raises the chances of blisters, as it increases the friction between your skin and your socks. If your feet get wet, your skin will soften and weaken, raising the chances of a blister forming. 

Dirty feet

When your feet are dirty, they can blister much faster. Besides the risk of faster blistering, dirty feet can also cause the blister to become infected. An infected blister can hurt a great deal and cause other problems, so it’s always best to clean your feet before slipping them into your boots or shoes.

Excess heat

Another common cause of blisters is excess heat. When you wear socks and shoes or boots with poor ventilation, heat can get trapped inside and raise your skin’s temperature. As you hike, your physical activity will continue to increase your skin’s temperature. If too much heat builds up and raises your skin’s temperature, the effects of friction will grow, causing blisters to form. 

Heat and moisture trapping socks

Your socks can also play a major role in blister formation. When your socks don’t naturally wick away moisture or release heat from them, you’re more likely to suffer from blisters. If you’re hitting the trail, you’ll want to avoid socks that trap heat and moisture, especially if you’re walking long distances.

Not wearing anti-blister hiking socks socks

Do hiking socks make a difference? The short answer is yes. When you set out on a hike, you need socks that are ready to keep up. Here are some essential considerations in finding the right socks for your hike:

  • Sock Fit and Feel: Check the sizing guide to ensure you order the right sock fit for you. Poor-fitting socks can actually make blisters worse than wearing no socks at all by adding another source of friction in your shoes. 
  • Sock Materials: You will also want to ensure you are selecting the right material for your adventure. Overly thick socks in the summer can make your feet more prone to harmful moisture. Meanwhile, thin socks in the winter can leave your feet vulnerable to winter rash and enhanced irritation. 
  • Sock Length: Take a moment to match your socks to your shoes or boots. Socks that are too short may leave you with blisters on your ankles or lower calves from your hiking boots. 

You can make the most of your adventure by choosing the right socks for you. Particularly, anti-blister socks are ideal for hiking. These socks are designed to protect your feet against all of the factors that contribute to blistering. You can read more about how anti-blister socks work here

5 Tips to Avoiding Hiking Blisters

While multiple factors can cause hiking blisters, you can take action to avoid them the next time you go out on a hike. If you’re planning on heading out into the wilderness soon, check out the top tips to avoiding hiking blisters below:

Wear hiking boots or shoes that fit

Before hiking, ensure your footwear fits comfortably and isn’t too tight. Since friction creates blisters, shoes or boots with a relaxed fit are ideal. Keep in mind that you also don’t want your feet to slip or slide in your footwear, so try on a few different options to find the perfect fit. Supportive insoles can also be an excellent option to compliment your footwear, as they can help stop your feet from sliding around.

Ensure your feet stay clean

While it can be more difficult to keep your feet clean while hiking, it’s well worth the few minutes it’ll take to wash off any dirt or grime. When your feet get dirty, rinse your feet out at a stream of water and dry them off before you slip back into your shoes. When you camp for the night, it’s also important to remove any dirt or grime so your skin can heal while you sleep. 

Stay dry on your trails

Since excess moisture can cause blisters, you’ll want to avoid hiking with wet socks or shoes. If your feet get wet, dry off your feet and swap out your socks before you get moving again. You can also hang your wet socks off your backpack for the rest of your hike to let them dry out and be ready to use if your feet get wet again.

Change your socks

It’s best practice to bring at least a couple of pairs of hiking socks when you’re going on an extended hike. Throughout your adventure, your feet are likely to sweat. You might also cross rivers, puddles, ponds, and other conditions that make your socks get wet. Even with moisture-wicking technology, it is best to keep a change of socks in your bag. Having an extra pair of socks to change into midway through your hike can protect your feet from excess moisture and prevent blisters.

Wear anti-blister socks

Blister-free socks are one of the best ways you can guard yourself against blisters. These socks should be made from synthetic or natural fibers designed to wick away moisture and release heat. By investing in socks with anti-blister technology and designs, you can greatly increase your comfort and lower the chances of blisters.

Turn to Wrightsock for Anti-Blister Socks

At Wrightsock, we know how important a good pair of socks is for preventing blisters. Due to our commitment to delivering the best hiking experience possible with our socks, we’ve created anti-blister socks to ensure you stay comfortable while out on the trail. We offer our blister-free socks with synthetic and natural fiber options, and we use double-layer technology to give you maximum comfort. We even have a blister-free guarantee, meaning if our socks don’t satisfy your needs, we’ll give you a refund.

Review our selection of hiking and trekking anti-blister socks today. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Shopping for New Socks? Learn the Benefits of Wrightsock

person lacing up an athletic shoe

Are you looking for new anti-blister socks? Wrightsock is ready to help you and your feet stay happy—no matter where your trails may take you. Here is a look at some of the top benefits you can find in our blister-free socks here at Wrightsock. 

The Wrightsock Blister-Free Guarantee

Our socks are designed to prevent blisters during even the most rigorous activities—from hiking and athletics to active military training and everything in between. When investing in blister-free socks, it can feel like a risk without the right support on your side. That is why we developed the Wrightsock Guarantee. If you are not 100% satisfied with your socks, you can send them back for a full refund.  Our Wrightsock Guarantee ensures you (and your feet) will be satisfied with our socks. 

High-Quality Socks Made in the USA

Wrightsock is a family-owned business making high-quality and affordable socks right here in the USA. Unlike other sock manufacturers, we do not outsource our production overseas. Our American-made anti-blister socks are manufactured at Wrightenberry Hosiery Mill in Burlington, NC. When you choose Wrightsock, you are supporting our country and boosting our local economy. 

Patented Double-Layer Blister Prevention Technology

While blisters have been around for ages, newer solutions are making them easier than ever to prevent. Our socks are designed with our patented Double Layer® blister prevention technology. Our double layers work by absorbing friction, heat, and moisture—all of the factors that lead to blisters. This can also have the added benefit of reducing odor, discomfort, and foot health risks. 

ECO Sustainable Socks Made from Plastic Bottles

Are you looking for a way to protect your feet and the environment? Wrightsock’s ECO line is made from REPREVE® recycled yarn and Recover RWool®. Let’s take a closer look at the environmental impact of these products:

  • REPREVE®: This durable, high-quality, and soft material is made from recycled plastic bottles. Our lighter and wool-blended socks—like the Eco Explore Multi-Sport Quarter Socks—recycle nearly 2 plastic bottles into each pair. Meanwhile, socks made only with REPREVE® materials—like our Eco Explore/Travel Crew Socks—save 3.5 plastic bottles from the oceans and landfills.
  • Recover RWool®: What happens to the clothes that are no longer worth wearing? Many of these materials end up in landfills. Textile waste is becoming increasingly problematic, with the EPA reporting 11.3 million tons within our landfills in 2018 alone. Recover RWool® takes old textiles and spins them into new yarn—letting us make high-quality socks without the environmental impact. You can find this sustainable material blended into many of Wrightsock’s ECO lines, including our popular Eco Hike Crew Socks.

As hikers, trekkers, and adventurers, you can find high-quality, blister-free, and sustainable socks that help keep the terrains you love protected.

Something for Everyone

Wrightsock has something for everyone and every adventure. We have designed and redesigned our socks to meet different styles, fits, sizes, and performance needs. 

Wrightsock Blister-Free Socks

Wrightsock is ready to help you get the protection you deserve. Explore our sizing guide to find the right fit for you, and order your blister-free socks here online today! You can also grab a mystery bag for surprises and savings—while supplies last. 

Do Kids Need Anti-Blister Socks?

picture of a child lacing their shoe

As a parent, you naturally want to protect your children in every way possible. One challenge that can be hard to stay ahead of is childhood blistering. Why do your children keep getting blisters? Do your kids need blister-free socks? The experts at Wrightsock are here to answer all of your questions about blister prevention for children. 

Why Do Children Get Blisters?

So why do children get blisters in the first place? Understanding the driving factors behind these nuisances can help you be on the lookout for issues.  There are a few different reasons why children are especially susceptible to blistering:

First, children tend to be more active. 

Between running, playing, sports, recess, and other activities, children tend to be on their feet more than parents. The friction, heat, and moisture of these activities cause blisters. (You can read more here about the science behind blisters).

Second, kids have sensitive feet. 

In general, a child’s skin is thinner than an adult’s skin, which makes it much more sensitive. A study published in the National Library of Medicine reports that children’s skin starts to gradually thicken once they are two months old. It does not fully develop until age 13-15. 

As you might know from experience, blisters can find teens and adults as well. However, until the skin is fully developed, your child will be especially prone to blisters and other wounds. 

Third, growth spurts lead to poorly-fitting shoes. 

We have all heard the term “growing like a weed,” but many people do not fully understand this saying until they see how quickly their child can grow overnight. It might seem like your child is growing faster than you can buy new shoes. When their shoes become too tight, they magnify friction against the skin—quickly leading to blisters. 

Conversely, many parents understandably choose the next shoe size up when shopping for children. This helps avoid paying for shoes that their child will quickly outgrow. However, loose-fitting shoes create constant movement and friction against the skin. 

An additional challenge here is that new athletic shoes can create blisters. Because children outgrow their shoes so quickly, they constantly have to “break in” new shoes. This stiff material can be less forgiving than worn shoes—making them more likely to cause blisters. 

Finally, children often wear the wrong socks.

Especially with younger children, you might find that your child wants to dress head-to-toe in clothing representing their favorite characters each day. This often extends to the socks they want to wear. While these animated socks might look fun, they are often designed more for appearance than they are for quality or protection. Thankfully, like these children’s anti-blister socks, you can find socks for your kid that are fun, attractive, colorful, and affordable while also providing high-quality protection. 

What Should I Do If My Kid Gets a Blister?

So what can you do when your kid is getting blisters? If your child is getting uncomfortable blisters, the two main areas of focus you can jump into are treatment and prevention. Let’s take a closer look.

Treatment: How to Treat Children’s Blisters

So how do you treat blisters that your child might get? Here is a look at children’s blister treatment. 

  • Keep the area clean: Blisters leave your child’s feet vulnerable. To avoid infection or worsened pain, keep the area clean.
  • Do not pop the blister: Again, for emphasis, do not pop your child’s blister. The fluid inside the blister helps keep the area clean, prevents infection, and promotes quicker healing. If they pop on their own, you can treat them with a dab of antibiotic ointment. 
  • Bandage: Should you put a bandaid on a blister? Some experts believe that leaving the area uncovered can help speed up the healing process. During the day, you might consider covering the area with a bandaid if you fear it will face any irritations. Bandaids can also help keep any topicals (like antibiotic ointment) intact. 

As the blister heals, you can take some time to focus on blister prevention for children. 

Prevention: How to Prevent Blisters on Kids

As you might suspect, prevention is always the best recourse when it comes to childhood blisters. So how do you prevent your kids from getting blisters?

Thankfully, the solution is simple: anti-blister socks for kids. One of the easiest ways to prevent blisters is to buy your child blister-free socks. These kinds of socks absorb the friction and heat that tear away at your child's skin. They can also help prevent moisture, lessen foot odor, and improve your child’s comfort. Best of all, anti-blister socks like those at Wrightsock are proven and guaranteed to keep their feet protected. 

For added prevention, you will want to partner your anti-blister kid’s socks with well-fitting shoes. While it can be hard to maintain properly fitting shoes for quick-growing children, you can adjust the laces to help prevent blisters and replace the shoes when necessary. 

Children’s Anti-Blister Sport Sock

So do kids need anti-blister sports socks? The short answer is yes. One of the primary culprits for childhood blister is sports. Not only can blistering put your kid’s feet at risk, but it can also slow them down on the field. 

If you know the feeling a blister creates with each step, you know how hard it can be to ignore. Even so, most adults can push past this pain to enjoy their hike, walk, or athletic adventure. Kids, on the other hand, have much more sensitive feet. As such, blisters will slow them down much more than they would for an adult. Kid’s blister-free sports socks are the one-stop solution. 

Anti-blister sports socks are perfect for soccer, baseball, track/running, volleyball, skating, tee-ball, kickball, football, cheerleading, and more. 

Wrightsock Blister-Free Socks For Kids

The experts at Wrightsock create blister-free socks for all ages—including a line designed especially for children. Our patented Double Layer™ system is guaranteed to prevent blisters—or you will get your money back. You can view our sizing guide here, explore our collection of Anti-Blister Kid Socks, or contact us with any questions you may have to get started today!

What are the Best Military Boot Socks?

What are the Best Military Boot Socks?

Our military servicemen and women undergo seemingly impossible tasks on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the heat, sweat, and friction from military boots create a perfect storm for blisters and discomfort—making the challenge of active duty even harder. So how do we protect those who protect our country? Here is a look at military-regulated, blister-free boot socks. 

What are the Military Sock Regulations?

Military sock regulations vary slightly depending on the context. For PT (physical training), socks must be black or white and they must cover the ankle bone. Socks must also not display any logos or insignia above the shoe line. When wearing combat or organizationally issued boots, socks can be tan, green, or black calf-length, cushioned, and stretch type. For more information, page 143 of The Department of the Army’s Pamphlet 670–1 details the different styles and guidelines required by the army.

Where Can You Buy Military Approved Socks?

Can any socks that meet these requirements be worn in the military? Not exactly. Military socks must be durable, cushioned, lightweight, breathable, and able to support military-grade performance. With that being said, you can buy military socks from most major sock retailers. So how do you choose which military socks to buy? One key feature to look out for is blister protection. Let’s take a closer look at why blister prevention is so important with military boot socks.

The Problem: How Military Blisters Form

The heat, moisture, and friction from military training can wear down the layers of the skin. It doesn’t help that the same thick, heavy boots that protect soldiers’ feet intensify all of these factors that contribute to blisters. With each step, march, run, and climb, the layers of skin gradually separate from one another. Eventually, these openings fill with fluid—thus creating a blister. Not only are blisters painful, but they are also highly susceptible to infection.

The Solution: How to Prevent Blisters in Military Boots

So how can servicemen and women keep their feet protected? Socks need to address all three of the factors that contribute to blisters:

  • Alleviating heat and hotspots
  • Wicking away or absorbing moisture
  • Preventing friction and irritation

The military guidelines permit a two-sock system with a standard liner sock for additional protection. While this may help alleviate friction, an extra sock can worsen heat and moisture while creating uncomfortable bulk. As such, many active-duty military members and those in PT turn to military-grade anti-blister socks.

How Anti-Blister Military Socks Work

So how do blister-free military socks work? Wrightsock’s Military/Tactical Anti Blister Socks contains a patented Double-Layer™ System that comprehensively prevents blisters without creating additional discomfort. It works similarly to the military two-sock system, but with a cushioned design tailored specifically for military protection. Not to mention, our socks can offer less laundry, bulk, moisture, and odor than the two-sock system. We have military-regulated colors, and we moved our discreet logo to the toe line to prevent any insignia violations. While every company believes they have the best military boot socks, ours are of the few backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee

Blister-Free Military Boot Socks | Wrightsock

So are you ready for military socks with powerful protection? Whether you need a gift for your military loved one or are ready to treat your feet to protection on the job, Wrightsock is here for you. Our family-owned business produces American-made socks manufactured in North Carolina, and we only partner with the highest quality materials. We invite you to view our sizing guide, contact us with any questions you may have, or explore our military-approved socks here today. 


To all of the military men and women protecting our country, thank you for your service.