How To Avoid Blisters on the Trail

How To Avoid Blisters on the Trail

With the sun shining bright, everybody is back on the trails. We take pride in the fact that our shirts make taking on your favorite trails in spring and summer heat a little easier with their lightweight feel and moisture-wicking capabilities, all while being eco-friendly. You’ll stay cool and dry on the trail for hours, but that’s not the only thing you have to worry about when you want to just keep trucking. 


Everybody knows the anguish of a good blister, and they can be serious buzzkills. That said, there are some remedies and methods you can practice to mitigate the effects of these annoying sores. We’ll tell you a few of them today so you can barrel on up the mountain comfortably and pain-free!

Shoe Fitting & Breaking Them In

As with most things these days, you get what you pay for. It’s important that you invest in a quality hiking shoe or boot that’s built for the shock absorption of any treacherous trail terrain. Even more important is ensuring the correct fit. It may seem like a no-brainer, but a quick jaunt around the REI discount rack won’t give you a good representation for how the fit will hold up in the woods. We’ve also found that trail shoes are more comfortable, quick-drying and breathable than hiking boots. 


To break them in, start on small hikes, ideally less than five miles. This will help you identify any areas where friction occurs. A helpful piece of gear to always keep on hand is Moleskin Pre-Cut Blister Dressings. That or climbing tape will be useful if you know of any areas on your feet that have given you trouble in the past. Apply them to any friction points as early as possible to stay one step ahead, pun intended. 

Find the Right Socks

Another crucial point of investment for overall comfort on the trail is the pair of socks you wear. Carrying at least two pairs of them on the trail, and potentially a third as back up, is never a bad idea. What’s also worth trying out are Sock Liners, which fit the form of your feet and help to avoid the friction caused by your skin rubbing and shifting against your sock or shoe. Throw a pair of synthetic or wool socks on top of that and you’ll be feeling golden. 


It’s also key to avoid cotton socks, as cotton traps moisture and makes your feet hot, sweaty and prone to chafing. Moisture-wicking socks are a plus as moisture in the feet is one of the primary causes of blisters, which brings us to our next point. 

Keep Your Feet Dry & Clean

Air them out every so often on the trail. Take a five minute break to let them breathe, and try to identify any problem areas. This is where the moleskin patches will come in handy. Keep them dry, but also clean, as even the tiniest speck of dirt can be the culprit for the most unforgiving blister if left unchecked. 


This type of maintenance goes for your shoes as well – brush out any loose debris and give them a upside down good shake. 


We know it can be hard to pass up a good lake dip after a hot day on the trail, just make sure your feet are 100% clean and dry before you boot back up and hit the road. 


How To Treat Blisters

Sometimes you take every precaution against them but they still happen, but as long as you have a few medical treatments on hand you should be okay. An antiseptic or alcoholic wipe is ideal for cleaning the affected area before further treatment or coverage. 


Depending on the severity, piercing the blister is up to you. You could also avoid this with the neat trick that REI recommends called the donuthole: Cut a shape the size of the blister in Moleskin then frame the blister with this patch, leaving the wound uncovered. Then, apply an additional layer of moleskin on top of that. This will help “stabilize” the wound area and help better protect against friction. 


If you decide to pierce and drain, do so carefully and cleanly then treat with antibiotic ointment to avoid infection. Cover it up with gauze or a bandage.


Hopefully with the steps we’ve outlined, it won’t come to this, but keeping these tools on hand will help avoid a good deal of pain.



We know we aren’t the only ones piling up their adventure kits for the next outing with Summer around the corner. As you take inventory, make sure you aren’t missing an American Backcountry piece to rep stunning outdoor-inspired art on the trail. It’s kind of like wearing a band’s shirt to their own concert, right? 


Our REPREVE collection is spun using recycled materials from plastic water bottles, and our Solar Performance tees which fend off heat at UPF 50+. We have something for every type of traveler, with a wide range of colors and designs to pick and choose from. Shop now to see what’s waiting for you today!