Since I’m sure you all were curious about the status of my feet, I thought I’d give you a little update. Currently, I’m recovering from an attempt to break in a new pair of seemingly harmless ankle boots, and if my ankles could scream, you wouldn’t be able to hear anything else.
And I know I’m not alone. People complain all winter long about the (admittedly aggressively first-world) struggle of having to break in the new boots they bought specially for the season. It doesn’t matter if they’re ankle boots, OTK books, Bean Boots—no foot is safe from the imminent pain of new-boot blisters. And while preventing them entirely might be a near impossibility for some (read: me), there is a way to keep your poor little feet safe. Here are a few of them:
1. Blister Block
Someone told me about this back when I was in middle school and was first making the real move from Converse to ballet flats, and I remember thinking that it was a miracle product. Basically, it’s a balm that you roll over any part of your foot that could potentially be an at-risk-for-blisters zone, and it does all the protective work for you. Unfortunately, it’s not entirely foolproof—depending on the severity of your shoes, how long you wear them, and how often you walk around, you could still experience some degree of painful rubbing, but it’s not nearly as bad as it is without.
2. Big Band-Aids
Just slap a bandage on the sensitive area and, voila, you’re done. I recommend the bigger fabric ones, mostly because they’re more flexible to the backs of your ankles and they don’t come loose as quickly as smaller Band-Aids do.
3. Blister Band-Aids, for when your big Band-Aids ultimately fail you
The gels in these Band-Aids are raised in order to protect the blistered area from further rubbing once the bandage is in place. These were a godsend after I got a blister the size of a large grape on the side of my foot after my first music festival experience.
4. Thick socks
I’ve heard tell of people doubling up on socks in order to protect their feet, but that just sounds like it would aggressively warm. Getting a good pair of thick socks should do just fine. These Smartwool ones got me through a few frigid winters and many pairs of boots in my college days, so they should work for you, too.
5. Prep time
The best way to ensure that your boot-wearing experience is as comfortable as possible is to take some time to break them in before you actually wear them out into the world. If you’re not doing anything one afternoon, instead of flopping down on the couch, just throw on your shoes and walk around your living room for a while. It’ll loosen up the boots, and you’ll know what you’re in for, foot rubbing-wise when you do ultimately want to wear them out.