It’s not uncommon for people to get blisters from new athletic shoes, even when the same people aren’t typically susceptible to this sort of issue. This is one reason we talk about “breaking in” new shoes — it’s a phrase that’s essentially meant to convey that shoes need to be loosened up and molded to feet, so that the two might “conform to each other in harmony,” as The Wall Street Journal put it. Before we get to that satisfying “broken in” point though, stiffness and friction can in fact lead to uncomfortable blisters and sores.
In some cases this issue is very difficult to avoid. Just as the right socks can help you to mitigate the problem though, there are also some steps you can take when selecting new shoes that will decrease the likelihood of blisters.
Know Your Fit
Part of the reason that new athletic shoes can give you blisters really is simply that they’re new. The “breaking in” process is real and necessary! However, a lot of people make the problem worse by getting shoes that may not fit properly, even if they’re only off by half a size. Last year, an article on Who What Wear described a survey in which a third of men and almost 50% of women revealed that they bought shoes that didn’t completely fit. The survey wasn’t about athletic shoes specifically, but it speaks to the bizarre but undeniably fact that in general, a lot of us don’t know our true fit and size! So the first step to avoiding blisters with new athletic shoes is simple: take the time to measure and determine your true, accurate size (factoring in whether or not a given brand may run long, short, narrow, or wide).
Seek Real Advice
When shopping for athletic shoes, a lot of people have a tendency to trust in-store salespeople with recommendations and opinions. Sometimes those recommendations and opinions are valid and helpful, but they’re also hit-or-miss, and you never really know the background or experience of a store salesperson. In the past, there weren’t too many alternative options. Now, however, you can seek out real advice — from sneaker YouTube channels and social accounts, online forums, and even dedicated online networks organized for this purpose. As something of a pioneer in this space, SoleSavy asserts that through online communities people can now “unlock” the world of sneakers through discussion, news updates, recommendations, and more — all of which goes well beyond what you get in a store.
Granted, much of this interaction revolves around style, but if you’re looking for advice about fit and comfort an impassioned online sneaker community will still be helpful.
Trust Past Experiences
Finally, you should also remember to take your own past experiences into account! If new shoes from a given brand have given you blisters multiple times, you might consider a new brand; if you’ve had better luck in one size than another, try to remember the preference when you shop for new shoes. There’s always excitement when you’re picking out new shoes, and it’s surprisingly easy to get swept up in it to the exclusion of even your own experiences and memories. Often enough though, those same memories will help to steer you in the right direction regarding comfort and fit (and hopefully the avoidance of blisters!).
These simple but important tips will put you in the best position to pick out shoes that will keep your feet healthy and comfortable as you go about your activity. And of course, beyond your shoe selection you can always explore bandages and pads to guard against blisters, as well as browse Wright Sock for input on anti-blister socks. But it all starts with the shoes themselves, and a careful process will land you with some that may not cause blisters to begin with.