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Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011

Ski Strong: Beat Blisters

Outsmart stiff boots and constant heel lifting with these anti-friction tips.

by: Evelyn Spence

Dynafit TLT5 Mountain (Courtesy Photo)
Dynafit TLT5 Mountain (Courtesy Photo)


>> Keep feet dry.
Moisture means hot spot-producing slippage and friction. Always start your day with dry liners. On multiday trips, dry them every night: Take them out of your boots and air drying in a warm (not hot) place, or in your sleeping bag footbox.

>> Swap socks.
There’s no need to wear two pairs—with today’s fit and boot-liner technology, you’ll get just as much warmth with one. But bring extras, says bootfitter Larry Houchen. He changes socks every four hours to combat moisture and preempt repetitive-motion hot spots.

>> Pre-tape.
Have problem areas? If you don’t already have a blister, apply a few layers of duct or athletic tape to the skin. If a blister has already formed, apply moleskin or a blister cushion such as Nexcare’s active waterproof bandages ($5). Reinforce it with duct or athletic tape.

>> Use absorbent powder.
Sprinkle talcum, Gold Bond, or even cornstarch into your socks to help sop up moisture. Apply to your bare feet and dust off excess before pulling on socks.

>> Buckle up.
If you feel hot spots, “tighten your boot’s second-highest buckle,” says Houchen. You’ll walk and climb slightly slower, but securing your foot in your boot helps prevent friction.

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