July 8, 2004 10:58 AM   Subscribe

I have a huge problem with buying shoes that feel fine in the 10-second walk around but give me mad heel blisters after walking for 5 minutes. The shoe continously rubs up and the back of my heel/achille's tendon area. Anyone have similar problems and/or know of a remedy? Certain socks, tie your shoes a certain way. something you can buy- I'm all ears (beyond returning them or just not wearing them).
posted by jmd82 to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
moleskin. My feet are like butter, so I cut out a piece of moleskin and put it on the inside of the shoe in the dangerous places. You need to be sure you're keeping the shoes of course. And do it before you bleed because once shoes have tasted human blood they can never be stopped.
posted by dness2 at 11:13 AM on July 8, 2004

Tying your shoelaces tighter might work. Seriously.
posted by cardboard at 11:37 AM on July 8, 2004

I've worn bandanges under my socks. That saves the skin. But moleskin or other padding is a better long-term solution. Professional shoe repair places can put this stuff in there.

But the real lesson here, too late for you, is to try out shoes for 5 minutes rather than 10 seconds. :)
posted by profwhat at 11:38 AM on July 8, 2004

I was going to say what cardboard said. Tie them really tight in the shop, this might make it easier to tell if they are likely to prove too tight. However, the rubbing may also be caused by your generally wearing the shoes too loosely, so tying them tighter all the time might be the solution too. It stops patches of your skin rubbing back and forth across bits of the shoe. (This has worked with sports shoes for me in the past). Take up all the slack down the laces before tying them.
posted by biffa at 11:49 AM on July 8, 2004

It's possible you *might* need orthotics, as a consequence of having a high arch, bad gait, or something. In which the rubbing is actually a symptom of something else. Do the heels of your shoes wear down unevenly on one side for example? Anyway, orthotics will provide better support for your foot in the shoe, and also reposition it. You can always talk to your GP if you think you need them, they will get you a referral to a physiotherapist.

Also, two pairs of thin socks will help prevent blisters, but not necessarily chafing.
posted by carter at 12:34 PM on July 8, 2004

Do you buy most of your shoes late in the day? I did that for a while and got blisters something awful. Your feet are larger in the evening, so if you buy shoes to fit then, they'll be too loose in the morning.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 1:07 PM on July 8, 2004

Hiking socks are designed to reduce friction between your foot and the shoe. They generally have two layers of cloth, something very slick. One of them will stick to the shoe, and the other will stick to your skin. The rubbing takes place between the layers of cloth, and is reduced to a negligible level you won't feel. I don't know if you're talking about pumps or running shoes, but check for hiking socks. They're not all big thick hot wool dealies. Many of them look like ordinary athletic socks.
posted by scarabic at 2:02 PM on July 8, 2004

toughen up. literally. it's possible you need to toughen the skin up a bit in the areas where friction occurs when wearing shoes. If your start developing sore areas or blisters on your feet, cover them up with a plaster (band aid) for a few of days and keep wearing the shoes. The soreness/blisters will go and the foot will develop a slighlty tougher skin to deal with the friction in future.

assuming the shoes aren't too small for your feet of course.
posted by gravelshoes at 3:00 PM on July 8, 2004

I had a hiking boot salesman tell me that toe blisters meant the boot was too loose, whereas heel blisters meant the boot was too tight.

That may seem counterintuitive, but loosening up meant the end of heel blisters for me. (Of course I've also paid more attention to fit around the heel since then).
posted by coelecanth at 3:46 PM on July 8, 2004

plasters on the heel .
the shoe stretches to fit .
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:00 PM on July 8, 2004

I have skinny, skinny heels. My experience will help you:

(a) if you're male, consider women's shoes: they typically have a narrower heel. Applies only when shopping for sneakers. Or, I suppose, cross-dressing.

(b) get Superfeet orthotics. They're reasonably cheap, reasonably good, and will make a big difference to your foot comfort regardless whether they solve the heel problem. I think everyone should be using Superfeet or other better-quality insert. Stock shoe inserts are absolutely effing useless.

(c) get heel grips. They're little padded leather "cuffs" that glue inside the shoe, cupping your foot just above the heel, preventing it from lifting.

(d) use rubbing alcohol to toughen up the skin around the achilles tendon and heel.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:52 PM on July 8, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips all. I think I'm looking for the moleskin/padding approach.

I had a hiking boot salesman tell me that toe blisters meant the boot was too loose, whereas heel blisters meant the boot was too tight.
I actually found the same results- when I tie very tightly, the results are worse than when I tie them loosely. I can't go narrow because it suffocates the rest of my foot. After reading this thread, I think I just have a narrow heel, moreso my right one.
posted by jmd82 at 10:27 PM on July 8, 2004

I had some trouble with my heel slipping up and down, and the salesperson at New Balance showed me a way to tie the shoes to minimize this - works for me.

I can't even begin to describe shoelacing techniques here, but fortunately their site has some cute animations.
posted by mmoncur at 3:46 AM on July 9, 2004

Response by poster: Aye, I already do that mmoncur. Old Cross Country trick it is.
posted by jmd82 at 9:28 AM on July 9, 2004

Seemingly counterintuitively, adding a heel lift can help this. So says the orthopedist at my local mountaineering store, and his mods have worked for me. Now, this is with mountaineering and AT boots, but you could try it with low cut shoes.

Heel murder is quite often a problem with these kind of boots as they have an inflexible platform sole shank for technical climbing. So I might also suggest that you try the opposite and look for shoes with a very flexible midsole.
posted by bradhill at 10:43 AM on July 9, 2004

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