How To Tape Your Feet To Prevent Blisters

Runners and hikers know all too well the pain of dreaded foot blisters. These stinging sores can make walking an agonizing process.

sticking duct tape to soles of feet to protect from blisters
sticking duct tape to the soles of feet to protect from blisters

Blisters are the result of friction from your foot rubbing against your boots or shoes. They can also be caused by chemical exposure and extreme heat but usually, foot blisters are from excessive rubbing.

Different footwear companies have tried to combat this with ergonomic boots or socks designed to reduce friction, but the truth is unless you’re diligent about taping your feet you will get them, even if you are a seasoned hiker.

Blistering can be painful and if left untreated, could pose a route to infection. It’s important to be prepared with the right knowledge and proper equipment.

Of course, sometimes the best medicine is a preventative one. This is why a lot of people pre-tape their feet in hopes to mitigate the chance of getting blisters.

If you’re unfamiliar with the topic, this article will teach you the pros and cons of taping your feet to avoid blisters. This issue is very common among hiking enthusiasts.

If you’re experienced in the realm of blistered feet, this could be a great refresher with some new tips.

What Causes Blisters On Feet?

Why Do Your Feet Get Blisters?

Essentially blisters are pockets of fluid in the uppermost layer of skin, generally caused by excessive rubbing.

Hikers and runners will often see this happen because of the amount of friction taking place in their shoes.

This doesn’t just happen with dry feet, though. Moisture build-up between your feet and your socks is also a prevalent culprit.

Another common cause of friction caused by moisture is when you complete river crossings. As your wet feet keep moving, blisters will start to show up quicker.

This is a bit of a side note, but don’t pop any blisters that have formed anywhere unless you are taping them up or it pops naturally.

Since they are a bubble of liquid they provide an insulating barrier to the damaged skin underneath. This is why they sting so much when you pop one.

Popping a blister also opens an entryway for infection, since the wound is now opened.

Blister taping toes heel and ball of foot | How to tape to avoid blisters | RockTape

How To Tape Your Feet To Prevent Blisters

Pre-taping your feet can help avoid potential blistering if the process is done correctly.

The nice thing about taping your feet (aside from preventing blisters) is that the technique is transferable to use on any foot size or shape.

Of course, the footwear you are using is also a factor in getting blisters as they need to be the right shape and size for your specific foot.

Spot Taping And Area Taping

These are two methods by which you can tape up your foot. Spot taping is more precise and is designed to keep a specific spot from rubbing up against something.

Area taping is more common when you’re not sure what spots will rub. When you tape an area it protects a larger part of your foot but can also make you sweat more because your skin can’t breathe.

Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney - Blister Prevention Taping Technique 1

Pre-Taping Your Foot

Applying tape to your foot isn’t difficult to do but there are a couple of steps to complete before applying it.

Ensure the area that you’re taping is clean and free of debris (this applies to all parts of the foot). This may mean cleaning your foot or going over it with rubbing alcohol and letting it dry.

If you want to be secure be sure to apply an adhesive promoter product before using the actual tape.

Toe Taping for Blister Prevention

Pre-Taping Your Toes

This process can be done in two ways, one where you wrap the individual toe in tape and another where you apply it between the toes, where rubbing may happen.

If you’re wrapping the toe in tape try not to tape it too tight or you can have circulation problems throughout the day. You’ll want to use low-friction tape so that the neighboring toes don’t rub up against the tape and cause blisters.

Taping The Side Of Your Heel

Another common hotspot for pre-taping is the side of your heel. This part of the foot experiences a lot of friction against your shoes.

Most people will use area taping on this part since it provides a nice layer of protection against friction.


Pre-taping your feet is generally done when you are prone to getting blisters, regardless of any efforts you attempt at prevention.

Getting blisters on the trail that are caused by sweat makes it difficult to adhere the tape to the foot. When pre-taping, the skin is a lot drier which makes the tape stick a lot better.

Your taping job will be more secure if you do it ahead of time. The adhesion will become stronger by the next day which gives it less of a chance to come off while you’re being active.

The adhesion will be even greater if you applied an adhesive enhancer to the area before taping the foot.

If you’re a runner or hiker, taping up your feet on the go can take up precious time. Taping up your feet before the activity can spare you the downtime needed to properly tape up your foot.

If you do it incorrectly the first time you’ll have to spend more time doing it a second time.


There is always the chance of the tape coming undone during the activity which could cause unwanted friction.

Another problem could be that it’s more difficult to check if there is a blister from the tape without taking it off, this would require you to apply new tape.

Best Tapes For The Job

3M is a tape manufacturing company and they seem to have the best products for a variety of situations. Here is a list of some of the best types of tape to get for your feet.

TapeDry Skin AdhesionWet Skin AdhesionThickness Of TapeFlexibility of Material
3M Micropore TapeGoodPoorThinInflexible
Leukotape P.GoodPoorThinSemi-Flexible
Elastikon TapeGood (Can fray)PoorThickFlexible
Duct TapeGood (Can fray at the edges)It will work but may slip offThickFlexible

If You Know Your Body, You Know Where To Tape

Doing the taping ahead of time allows you to work out all of the hotspots in your foot. A hotspot is where your foot will be rubbing against your show more than other parts.

The way your foot can rub will be different more often than not, which is why it’s good to practice beforehand.

It’s a good idea to duct tape your feet before an activity if you have new footwear.

You can start with the usual spots you have to tape and then adjust as you go for a hike. Bring extra tape with you so that you can patch up your feet on the trail.

As your body adjusts to the level of activity you’ll be doing, your feet are going to swell up. This can cause a circulation problem, which can lead to injury.

Knowing how your feet will act is important before pre-taping as you can adjust the length of the tape to accommodate the swelling in your feet.

Foot taping - Blister prevention for Ultra running

Emergency Blister Kits

Most people have a first aid kit that they keep with them and these are filled with a lot of generic items that can treat a wide variety of ailments on the route.

Aside from this, you should have a section inside your medkit or a small separate one that handles blisters.

Commonly, blisters happen on the feet because of walking or running. They can also form on your hands from doing the same motion multiple times.

This occurs in things like chainsawing, firewood processing, and shoveling. Having a blister kit ensures you can handle them quickly, and the items in a blister kit can be used in conjunction with your existing first-aid setup.

Here is a list of items that you should have in your blister kit for emergency use.

  • 1 pair of gloves (nitrile works just fine)
  • Sterile cotton swabs
  • Iodine wipes
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Sterile Cutiplast dressing
  • Oval sterile dressings
  • Toe sleeves
  • Adhesive enhancer
  • Your favorite blister tape

Final Thoughts

Blisters are one of the most painful wounds that you can have, especially if they are constantly rubbing up against something. Preventative measures such as pre-taping your foot can be an important tool in the fight against avoiding blistering feet.

how to prevent feet blisters pinterest

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