How to Tape Your Feet for Blister Prevention

Foot Taping for Long Distance WalksI’ve had some great results from pre-taping my feet prior to long hikes and can now walk around 40 miles, confident that I won’t get blisters. Even on this year’s London2Brighton challenge where the weather conditions were appalling and I ended up wearing two pairs of unfamiliar shoes, I managed 57km feeling physically broken but with my feet still intact – not a single blister.

My Blister Prevention Routine

  • Keep your feet in good nick – in the run up to your long walk you should keep your feet free of callouses and moisturise to prevent cracked skin.
  • Practice taping before your big event – there is a knack to applying tape so start practising early.
  • I apply tape to my own feet so I can flex while I’m applying it to make sure it is not too tight.
  • After taping, dust down with talcum powder to absorb any excess adhesive
  • Wear Bridgedale lining socks on top of the tape.
  • Put the hiking or running sock on next, being careful not to introduce creases.
  • During the event, change the lining socks regularly and check the the tape is still secure.

Zinc Oxide Tape for Blister Prevention

I’ve worked my way through a number of different brands of zinc oxide tape and have now settled on Leukotape P. I’ve found this to have excellent adhesive properties and a good degree of stretch. It somehow manages to avoid leaving adhesive on the non-sticky side of the tape, which is a big bonus and a problem I’ve noted with every other roll of tape I’ve tried.

Tape Adherent

A lot of guides suggest that you purchase an additional spray adhesive to apply to the foot before adding the tape. I’ve tried this technique but I’ve stopped using it because there is a fine balance between too little and too much stickiness. If you get a decent tape you shouldn’t need extra glue and you don’t want to have any extra adhesive on the outside of the tape as it will stick to your socks, increasing the chances of fabric folds under your feet. I apply a liberal sprinkling of talcum powder before I put on my socks as well.

Where to Apply the Anti Blister Tape

Ideally you will have slowly built up your long walks or runs and should now have a clear idea of where you tend to develop hot spots. When I first started training for 100km walks I would get blisters forming after only 10k when wearing hiking boots, and they would always be in the same place. Mine started under the heel and across the ball of my foot and for good measure, the back of my heel would regularly rub raw.

I chose the taping technique illustrated in the video below, as it covered all my weak points. If you develop hot spots in other places you may need to extend the covered regions.

Pre-Taping for Blister Prevention

  •  Start by applying anchor strips along the inner and outer sides of your foot.
  • Join the two anchor strips with a piece that goes across the heel.

Foot Taping for Blister Prevention

  • Start applying strips across the underside of your heel, with a slight overlap on each strip.
  • Be careful not to introduce creases and keep your foot flexed upward (dorsi-flexed) so that you don’t apply the tape too tightly.
  • Continue with more overlapped strips on the ball of your foot.
    Foot Taping for Blister Prevention
  • Finish by re-applying the anchor strips on either side of the foot.

Let me know how you get on……

11 thoughts on “How to Tape Your Feet for Blister Prevention

  1. Moomin

    Are you using normal Elastoplast for the strapping?

  2. warriorwoman Post author

    Hi Moomin
    I’ve tried various zinc oxide tapes and have now settled on Luekotape P which I get from FirstAid4Sport. You want something that is sticky enough to stay put but won’t leave adhesive all over the place.

  3. Moomin

    Thanks. Will order some and trial it next week on a short walk before I hit The Ridgeway on the 9th.

  4. Marie

    Hi -planning on doing the West Highland Way (20 miles per day) – in the near future and plan to use the leukotape you have recommended. Just wondered how to get it off as I have heard it can be practically impossible to remove and painful too. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

  5. warriorwoman Post author

    Hi Marie
    Good question.
    I don’t think I have any particular problem getting it off.
    I would suggest making sure you don’t have any hairy bits under the tape and then when you want to remove it, soak in the bath for a while.
    I snip the tape that I use around my toes and just peel off the the tape around and under my feet. It doesn’t hurt.
    I also find that the tape on my feet will last longer than one day, dependant on how wet it gets but I will change my toe tape more regularly.

  6. Carol Clark

    Any idea on how to tape a little toe that curls under? Causing me huge issues prior to our L2B challenge at the end of May! Need to stop it rubbing the next toe and stop it blistering – nightmare

  7. warriorwoman Post author

    My second toe has extra special needs and I wrap that in a toe tube (from Boots etc Gel Tube) before wrapping in tape. You just cut it to length then pass tape across the top and then around. It sounds like you need to try this on the toe next to your little one. I took a little kit with scissors and tape on the L2B so I could repair at rest stops if required. Good luck.

  8. Carol Clark

    Thanks for that, will certainly give it a go. Went to a physio who “professionally” taped it, that sort of worked but was so painful without walking for the first 24 hrs!

  9. goingroundandround

    Hello,

    I tried Leukotape on a short backpacking/hiking trip, and I’m not sure if I applied it correctly. I often have a hotspot on the ball of my foot and I just applied the Leukotape on that area and on the outsides of my big toes where I tend to get callouses. It worked great at first, but when I tried to remove the tape it took off a lot of skin. I reapplied Leukotape the next day and at the end of the day it caused a huge blister next to the ball of my foot. I see here that you apply it to most of the foot. Is that what I did wrong? I didn’t get the chance to soak it before I tried to remove it. I don’t get heel blisters so I’m not sure if I need the Leukotape there. Should I just wrap it all the way around my foot so it covers where the hot spot is and the top of my foot, and then wrap the big toes completely?

    Thank you!

  10. Rachel Legg

    Hi im going to try this as i do get blisters , im walking with macmillan 2018 on the jurrasic coast and i dont want blisters , Thanks Rachel

I'd love to hear from you....