By Michael Lanza

I deserve to be plagued by blisters. I field test a dozen or more models of hiking, backpacking, trail-running, and climbing shoes and boots every year. I’m constantly wearing new footwear right out of the box, often hiking 15 to 20 miles or more miles a day—usually without doing anything more than trying them on, almost never allowing for any break-in time. And I almost never get a blister. Best of all, the tricks I use to avoid them are simple and easy for anyone to follow.

This article shares the tricks I’ve learned over three decades (and counting) of dayhiking and backpacking as a longtime field editor for Backpacker magazine and running this blog.

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

First of all, remember that blisters require three conditions to occur: heat, moisture, and friction. Eliminate any one of those factors and you prevent blisters.

Simple, right? Well, not always. But blisters are a problem you can control. I’ve listed below the strategies I follow to dramatically reduce the occurrence of blisters.

Be sure to read the comments at the bottom of this story, where readers have offered their own excellent suggestions. Please comment on what you think of this article or add your own suggestions, too. I try to respond to all comments.

A hiker on Bondcliff during a dayhike of the 32-mile Pemi Loop in the White Mountains, N.H.
” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ width=”900″ height=”600″ src=”″ alt=”A hiker on Bondcliff during a dayhike of the 32-mile Pemi Loop in the White Mountains, N.H.” class=”wp-image-46474″ srcset=” 1024w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Mark Fenton hiking up Bondcliff on a dayhike of the 32-mile Pemi Loop in the White Mountains, N.H.

1. Buy Boots That Fit

Friction happens when your shoes or boots don’t fit your feet well. Eliminate friction through perfect fit, and you eliminate blisters. Buy footwear in a store where the staff knows how to measure your foot size. Try on a variety of brands because they all fit slightly differently; find the brand that fits your feet best. Until
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