Leukotape is the Best Blister Prevention
Blisters suck. Probably the most obvious statement ever for someone whose ever had them, but beyond the pain there are serious consequences to untreated blisters.
Infections are possible and an infected blister is left untreated it could actually be fatal. President Calvin Coolidge's 16 year old son, Calvin Jr. famously died from a Staph infection he got from a small blister on his toe while playing tennis within a week of sustaining the minor injury.
Today we have antibiotics which could treat such problems, but it's not impossible to imagine a situation where someone wouldn't have access to those lifesaving drugs. Look at Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, where millions of people were stranded without power or communications for days and in some cases weeks.
Blisters can make walking nearly impossible. Not something you want to be dealing with during an emergency or evacuation. That's why we recommend you take a look at Leukotape, our favorite way to avoid getting blisters.
NOTE: Leukotape contains latex, should you have allergies to it.
How-to Avoid Blisters
The best way to treat blisters is to avoid them altogether. That can be tricky for a few reasons. First you need to avoid heat, moisture, and fiction: the three things that are going on in your shoes when you start moving. In warm environments avoiding heat might not be possible.
Moisture created by your feet can be reduced with a good pair of socks, such as the Darned Tough brands offerings. Environmental moisture (rain, flood, etc) may be impossible to avoid.
That leaves us with friction, the only thing we really can prepare for and avoid.
Let's start with your shoes since they are typically whats causing the blisters in the first place. They should fit you well and not be loose. They should also be broken in before any long walks, especially any pair you are planning to use in a Bug Out evacuation or emergency. If you aren't used to wearing hard boots all day long there is an adjustment period when you start.
Next up: Socks. The right socks can help with moisture control (as we mentioned) via "wicking" as well as friction control. This can be a personal preference and not all socks are created equal so test many types before you commit to any for an emergency kit. Avoid cotton socks which are just the worst for blistering.
Last up: Your Feet. You can moisturize them with some anti-friction lubrication cream. That works in the short term but needs re-application. Otherwise what you'll want to do and what we recommend is to create a physical barrier between your feet and the friction causing socks/shoes.
There are dozens of products on the market that claim to aid in prevention, but many of them don't live up to their marketing hype... and thats where the quiet majesty of Leukotape comes in.
There is a great article about taping up your foot with Leukotape here. I *borrowed* the photo above from it because, you don't want to see photos of MY feet trust me.
Leukotape is a Rayon-backed tape with an aggressive zinc oxide adhesive. It sits nice and flat and can stay on for days, even after showering. I've had it stay on my feet even after swimming in the ocean, still worked fine. One trick to keep the adhesive from getting on shoes or socks is to "round" the corners of the tape. This keeps it from rolling the corners and getting goo on your socks.
Some say to apply tincture of benzoin if you have it to increase the adhesion to the skin before putting the tape on although I've never tried it. This stuff sticks on good enough already as far as I'm concerned.
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I've used Leukotape over not-severe popped blisters. I left it on all week so it would heal up (hopefully) and I wouldn't pull the blister skin off. It worked but thats not an ideal situation. In an emergency do what works to get you out of the situation as needed, hopefully you can heal up later in a safe place.
Leukotape has high tensile strength and is theoretically hand tearable, although I've found that a little help from scissors or a knife makes that easier. Once it's off the roll it sticks like mad to anything you attach it too. I've attempted to carry small amounts with me wrapped around a deodorant stick but it was nearly impossible to get off without making a mess of it.
Good idea, but doesn't work for me. You can see all the adhesive stuck to the top side of the tape. I've read somewhere that you could attach pre-cut pieces to the slippery back that comes on name tag stickers, guess I'll try that someday. For now I just lug the whole thing around with us when we travel and I stuffed a spare roll in my Bug Out Bag.