“My new shoes give me blisters”, he said, and demanded a refund. Twice. The thing is, I couldn’t find anything wrong with them or the way they fitted.
Sure, it frustrating when you buy a brand-spanking new pair of shoes, and they’re not as comfortable as your old ones. It’s even worse when you get blisters all of a sudden. Blisters where your old shoes were perfectly comfortable. Blisters where you’ve never had blisters before. But is it the shoe’s fault? Is it the shoe store’s worker who fitted them for you – is it his/her fault?
There’s no doubt some shoes might cause blisters
Either because they are too big; too small; worn out in a certain area; or whatever. But I believe, many times, it’s not the shoe’s fault you’re getting blisters.
When your new shoes give you blisters
I saw a chap a while ago – he drove 7 hours to consult with me! He does big walks to raise money for charity. He bragged about how he got refunds on two pairs of shoes after heated arguments with the owner of his local shoe store – for selling him bad shoes that gave him blisters. They were comfy to wear for the first few hours but after several hours of walking, he’d get blisters.
The thing is, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the shoes or the way they fitted. Not as far as I could tell anyway.
Blisters aren’t always caused by ill-fitting footwear
No one can tell you with certainty that you won’t get blisters with a certain shoe. They just can’t. If you ARE getting blisters, there’s not always a visible reason that’s got anything to do with the shoe. It could be:
- the way your foot is shaped
- or how your foot works
- the surface/terrain you’re running/walking/playing on
- or the environmental conditions of the day
- the pack weight you’re carrying
- or your level of exertion on a particular day
- the integrity of your socks
- or a toenail you didn’t trim adequately
- an injury you’re carrying making you run/walk/play differently
- Or a combination of all of these factors
So yes, sometimes there’s something very visible about the shoe that we can put our finger on and say “this is what’s causing your blister”. But more often than not, there’s nothing.
So, if you feel you’ve done everything to get shoes that fit well, but you’re still getting blisters, don’t be too quick to blame the shoe. Simply move on to a more sophisticated prevention strategy for your blister locations.
And please don’t pick fights with the guy in the shoe store because you’re getting blisters with the shoes he sold you. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for the shoe you walk out of the store with. So be active in the decision-making process – don’t leave it up to the store-person to decide for you. By all means take note of their advice. But a big part of getting the right shoe is acknowledging HOW COMFORTABLE IT FEELS.
Initial comfort feel
It seems too simplistic to be important but it is VERY important. How they look on the treadmill / video when you walk or run in them is one thing, but don’t let that over-ride how they feel when you’ve got them on. The way they FEEL when you put them on and walk around the shop or run on the treadmill is VERY important. And ONLY YOU know how they feel.
Have you done all you can with shoe-fit? But you’re still getting blisters?