Blisters! The plague of any one walking the Camino de Santiago. But, what should you do about blisters on the Camino? Can they be avoided and if so how? And, what should you do if you get them? Find out more below.
Will I get blisters on the Camino de Santiago?
On the Camino de Santiago you will be walking every day for around one month, assuming that you walk the Frances or the Norte route. Or, for around two weeks if you walk one of the shorter routes. Wearing the same shoes every day and walking long distances may leave you with blisters after a few days.
Although blisters are not inevitable on the Camino de Santiago, it is likely that you will get at least one or two. What’s more, if you don’t take stops to avoid getting them, then you are likely to suffer even more.
How to avoid blisters on the Camino de Santiago?
There are steps that you can take to try to minimise the risk that you will get blisters on the Camino de Santiago. The steps that we try to follow to minimise the risk of blisters on the Camino are:
- Choose footwear that fits well
- Train in our Camino footwear
- Wear socks that help to prevent friction
- Take care of our feet at the end of the day
Footwear on the Camino is really important and we’ve written separately about this here (can I wear trainers on the Camino?) Whilst footwear doesn’t have to be expensive, it must fit well. Poorly fitting shoes are likely to cause some sort of foot issue if you walk for around 25km each day for a month.
Next, we also train in our footwear. This is especially important if you have new shoes as you will want to check whether there are any areas of rubbing and prevent blisters before they occur.
We also ensure that we have the right socks to help prevent blisters (you can see more below on blisters socks.) Emma also has blister prone feet so wears pop socks (stocking type socks – picture shown below) under her blister socks, which she swears by to reduce the severity of blisters. You can find a link to buy pop socks here.
Finally, take care of your feet at the end of the day. This might mean bathing them, checking for any signs of blistering and moisturising them with a good moisturiser like this one. Another good idea is to elevate your feet at the end of the day. Your feet are likely to swell from walking so much and elevating them will help to reduce the swelling.
Best blister plasters on the Camino de Santiago
For the Camino de Santiago, you may want to consider packing a small selection of blister prevention and healing plasters in your backpack. Of course, you can easily pop into a pharmacy on the Camino if you need anything on the way.
- Best for healing burst blisters – in our experience Compeed are the best plasters when it comes to healing blisters. They act like a second skin and also stick well, lasting for a few days.
- Best for prevention – when it comes to preventing blisters, tape is the best solution that we have found. You can use this on any “hot spots” where you start to feel a blister forming.
- Best for sore spots on toes – if you are prone to blisters on your toes, then a plaster or tape may not be the best solution. Try toe protectors like this instead.
- Best natural solution – the best natural solution for blister prevention and care is probably lambs wool. These little pieces of wool can be placed between your toes or in other areas to prevent rubbing.
Best blister socks for the Camino de Santiago
There are a range of blister preventing socks available but not all are created equally. Here are some of the best available in 2023.
- Merino Wool – wool socks are great for preventing blisters as they keep your feet dry when you walk, therefore minimising the blister risk. Something like this for men and this for women are great options.
- Ankle sock – if you’d rather an ankle sock to avoid tan lines on the Camino, then these anti-blister ankle socks are great for women and these for men.
- Compression sock – if you would prefer a compression sock with anti-blister technology, something like this cushioned compression sock for women and this for men is a good choice.
How to manage blisters on the Camino de Santiago?
If you get blisters on the Camino, you might wonder about the best way to treat them.
We are not medical professionals, but the advice that we swear by is to burst them with a sterilised needle if they become too big. Although we understand medical advice warns against bursting a blister, it can be impossible to avoid it if a blister is too large to fit in your walking shoe on the Camino!
We also try to keep blisters covered up and clean if they are burst or the “roof” of the blister has come off. Unless you want to let blisters ruin your adventure, unfortunately you do just have to keep going even when blisters flare up.
For more detailed medical advice on blister management, you can find guidance here on Medical News and here on the NHS website.
John and Emma’s hiking gear. These are items we love to use when we go hiking, find them here on Amazon.
Osprey 40L, Multi, O/S
HOKA ONE ONE Mens Speedgoat 4 Textile Synthetic Trainers
HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Clifton 8
CWVLC Unisex Cushioned Compression Athletic Ankle Socks Multipack
Compeed Callouses 6 Medium Plasters
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking, Walking, and Hiking Poles – One Pair (2 Poles)
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One response to “What to do about blisters on the Camino de Santiago?”
[…] it’s really over. You may feel such sadness that the adventure is over that you even miss having blisters or the constant feeling of hunger. We call this the “post Camino blues.” But, how can […]