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Blisters with running shoes

Hello, I was hoping to get some advice on running shoes. 

I’m newer to running, about a month into 4 runs a week. I was originally running in Nike free run fly knits, but they didn’t have too much support and I started to get blisters on the inside of my foot, right around the ball. So, I bought a pair of Hoka Clifton 5’s from REI, size 9. I’ve put 30 miles on them now, and every other run they cause blisters to get worse after letting them heal. The inside is a little tight, but still could probably go down half a size length wise. I usually get a little bit bigger of a shoe, not because my feet are wide but because they angle out weird causing normal length shoes to not fit. Never tried a wide shoe. 

Anyway, I read the below review on Hoka’s site, and it sounds like a similar fit to what I’m experiencing... so my question is, do you think my blisters are caused by the shoe itself? Or that I need a wide fit shoe? Lastly, part of me thinks I just need to break the shoe in or let calluses build up, and that this would happen to me in any shoe, as evident in the Nikes.

 

any help appreciated!!!

 

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1 Solution

Accepted Solutions

Blisters with running shoes

Hi @Nacho!

I'm sorry you're experiencing blisters. It's so frustrating, but hopefully we can figure out some solutions. Contrary to popular belief, blisters are not a "normal part" of shoe break-in, especially for running shoes. Ideally, the shoe should be a great fit right out of the box.

Socks could definitely be a contributing factor to your blisters. It's important to choose a sock made with either a synthetic material, or a natural fiber that wicks moisture like merino wool. You should not wear cotton or cotton blend socks. The fibers in cotton socks are thicker, and twisted, causing more friction on your feet.

Furthermore, cotton absorbs, rather than wicks moisture, so the combination of movement and moisture could be contributing to your blisters. The fibers in synthetic and wool socks are straight untwisted, which minimizes friction and promotes moisture movement.

I use a variety of synthetic socks for running depending on how long I'm going and the volume (space inside) the shoe, but my current favorites are the Balega Silver No-Show. 

In terms of the fit of the shoe, when you say that the inside is tight, but you could still go down a half size, do you mean that the shoe is too tight from side-to-side in the toebox, or is it too tight on top of your toes and foot? If it's too tight from side to side, it's possible that the shoe is not wide enough, and you might need a wide width shoe. But if the shoe is too tight on the top, it might mean that the up-and-down volume of the shoe is too small for the profile of your feet.

If you feel like the shoe is too narrow, or the volume is too small, you can make an adjustment with your laces by skipping the bottom holes of the shoe, and starting the lacing at the second set of holes from the bottom. This will open up a little bit of room in the toebox. 

If you are buying your shoes too long to accommodate for the "angles" of your feet, there's also a chance that you might be sliding within the shoe itself. To lock your foot better into the shoe and minimize slide or side-to-side motion, you can try the "runners loop", AKA "heel lock" lacing. Check out this Expert Advice article with directions and videos explaining all the lacing styles available to you.

There are many other options for managing blisters; however, the best plan for management is ensuring your shoes fit correctly. Try these techniques and see if they help. If you're still finding problems, we're happy to connect you virtually to someone who can assess your foot size and make other recommendations for running shoes.

Hope this helps, and gets you to some happier miles!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
5 Replies

Blisters with running shoes

Hey there @Nacho 

I am happy that you have reached out to the community and I'm hopeful one of our experienced runners will have some great advice.  One thing you didn't mention were socks.  Can you let us know more about what you wear in your running shoes?

@REI-AnnaL @REI-DaveM @REI-PearlD could you offer some insights?

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Blisters with running shoes

Yep forgot to mention that... I don’t have any socks meant for running, but I have tried all the socks I have with the same results

long and kind of thin Hanes, standard ankle Reebok, and really think no shows meant for vans (lol was experimenting)

thanks!!

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Blisters with running shoes

Hi @Nacho!

I'm sorry you're experiencing blisters. It's so frustrating, but hopefully we can figure out some solutions. Contrary to popular belief, blisters are not a "normal part" of shoe break-in, especially for running shoes. Ideally, the shoe should be a great fit right out of the box.

Socks could definitely be a contributing factor to your blisters. It's important to choose a sock made with either a synthetic material, or a natural fiber that wicks moisture like merino wool. You should not wear cotton or cotton blend socks. The fibers in cotton socks are thicker, and twisted, causing more friction on your feet.

Furthermore, cotton absorbs, rather than wicks moisture, so the combination of movement and moisture could be contributing to your blisters. The fibers in synthetic and wool socks are straight untwisted, which minimizes friction and promotes moisture movement.

I use a variety of synthetic socks for running depending on how long I'm going and the volume (space inside) the shoe, but my current favorites are the Balega Silver No-Show. 

In terms of the fit of the shoe, when you say that the inside is tight, but you could still go down a half size, do you mean that the shoe is too tight from side-to-side in the toebox, or is it too tight on top of your toes and foot? If it's too tight from side to side, it's possible that the shoe is not wide enough, and you might need a wide width shoe. But if the shoe is too tight on the top, it might mean that the up-and-down volume of the shoe is too small for the profile of your feet.

If you feel like the shoe is too narrow, or the volume is too small, you can make an adjustment with your laces by skipping the bottom holes of the shoe, and starting the lacing at the second set of holes from the bottom. This will open up a little bit of room in the toebox. 

If you are buying your shoes too long to accommodate for the "angles" of your feet, there's also a chance that you might be sliding within the shoe itself. To lock your foot better into the shoe and minimize slide or side-to-side motion, you can try the "runners loop", AKA "heel lock" lacing. Check out this Expert Advice article with directions and videos explaining all the lacing styles available to you.

There are many other options for managing blisters; however, the best plan for management is ensuring your shoes fit correctly. Try these techniques and see if they help. If you're still finding problems, we're happy to connect you virtually to someone who can assess your foot size and make other recommendations for running shoes.

Hope this helps, and gets you to some happier miles!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Blisters with running shoes

@Nacho Don't forget to try Injinji toe socks too.  I find these work best for keeping toes from rubbing and causing blisters as well as abating moisture between the toes which can lead to athletes foot.

Blisters with running shoes

@Nacho You might want to try Injinji toe socks. I use them exclusively and do not get blisters wearing them. They take some getting used to but they are worth it.  It used to be the guy that thought he would never be able to stand things between his toes but now it’s all I will run in. 

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