For those of us who bust out our boots at the beginning of September—and who happen to be running around Fashion Week as we speak—Fall means one thing: blisters. Is there any beauty (or life) situation more dire than an agonizing, swollen blister on your foot? We genuinely don’t think so.
Fortunately, thanks to years of ballet, we are nothing if not experts in preventing, treating and dealing with blisters. Here are our very best tips, tricks and hacks to banish blisters forever and ensure you live a pain-free life
Get a perfect fit.
The best way to deal with blisters is not to get them in the first place, and let’s face it—we all have a pair of shoes or boots that are just a little too tight. The easiest way to prevent these blisters? Stretch out your shoes. Dampen a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and rub it around the inside of your shoes (but not on the sole). Then put on two pairs of thick socks and walk around in your alcohol-damp boots for about half an hour—the rubbing alcohol will encourage your shoes to stretch a little, and as it dries, they’ll mold to the contours of your feet, ensuring a perfect, customized fit…with zero risk of blisters.
Most blisters are caused by friction; so if you get rid of the friction, you eliminate the chance of painful blisters. That’s why Band-Aid Active Friction Block Stick ($5.99, drugstore.com) is so life-changing: apply the clear, deodorant-like stick over any places where your shoes rub or you’re especially blister-prone, and you’re officially protected. The lubricating formula doesn’t stain or discolor shoes, even delicate satin or velvet, and it doesn’t leave your feet feeling slippery which is a huge plus. Definitely a boot lover’s best friend.
Bonus tip: This stick only works to protect your feet ahead of time from blisters caused by rubbing—it won’t stop a blister once it’s already formed, and it won’t help you against cuts caused by shoes that don’t fit properly. Just a little heads up from us to you.
In case of blister emergency.
If you don’t have Blister Block, don’t worry: a silicon-based hair serum will work just as well. Just apply a few drops to the part of your foot where the shoe rubs, and you’re good to go! (Don’t apply it to the outside, though, especially if your shoes are satin—it will stain.)
Bonus tip: A lot of people suggest using deodorant on your feet as a lubricant—we find that this marks shoes. Serum or the dedicated Friction Stick all the way!
Clear nail polish.
This is a very old ballet trick—but even though it’s unconventional, it really works. If you have a small friction blister that hasn’t yet filled up with fluid, you can paint over it with a couple layers of clear nail polish. This acts as an occlusive agent, keeping the skin covered and protected, and stopping the blister from popping. Even though we have no proof of this besides our own anecdotes, we swear that it keeps our blisters from swelling up as much as they otherwise may have done.
Bonus tip: If your blister has popped, do not put nail polish on it. It will hurt, and you will sincerely regret it!
Another ballet trick: if you’re prone to blisters on your toes, you might want to look into Ouch Pouches ($24, capezio.com). Designed to protect feet from the rigors of pointe shoes, Ouch Pouches are thin, gel-filled mini socks that cover your toes and the ball of your foot. Not only do they provide a barrier between skin and shoes, they also add a little extra padding where it really counts—all without adding any bulk, so even your sleekest pumps will still fit. They’re invisible when worn with most shoes and don’t slip around when you walk, and with regular hand-washing, a single pair will last you forever.
The best band-aids.
IF, even after all of this, you still somehow manage to get a blister, you have to keep that sucker covered while it heals. Enter Band-Aid Tough Strips ($7.99, drugstore.com), the only bandaids powerful enough to actually adhere to our feet through heels, boots and strenuous workouts. These bad boys really stay put; you never have to worry about them peeling off or accidentally sticking to your already sore spots. The regular size Tough Strips are perfect for blisters on toes and the tops of your feet; the Extra-Large Tough Strips ($3.49, drugstore.com) are ideal for blisters on our heels. Get these and never look back.
Bonus tip: Don’t bother with the waterproof version of these band-aids. They don’t adhere to skin as well and they’re just not as good.