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June 2005 Hiking Boots

The Fix: Boots That Cause Blisters

Don't throw big-ticket boots in the bin when a quick makeover will do the trick.

Don’t pitch your pricey leather stompers just because they’re giving you a hot spot (best case) or a blister (worse case). If the problem is a pressure point–rather than fit or break-in–you can work it out just like a cobbler would. This two-step trick also lets you customize your boots for bunions, heel spurs, and other foot problems.

step 1 Remove the laces and pull back the tongue. Apply a dab of mink oil (found at most hardware and shoe stores) to the inner leather at the troublesome spot. Massage until the oil is absorbed to soften the leather. (For non-leather-lined boots, skip the mink oil and go to the next step.)

step 2 Knead the offending area with a hard, smooth, blunt object like the end of a broomstick or a closed pocketknife. Use a circular or back-and-forth motion and a healthy bit of muscle. The extra space this effort creates should eliminate the problem.

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