Blisters suck. They make training painful, and if they get really gnarly they might even prevent you from heading out on a run, or cause you to cut your training time short. We don’t want anything to disrupt our blissful relationship with running, so we keep a few tricks up our sleeves (or down our socks) to prevent blisters. If the ol’ fashioned Band-Aids or moleskin aren’t cutting it for you, it’s time to crank up some new anti-blister strategies. Here are some things to think about as you chase your chafe-free dreams.
Properly fitting socks go a long way for blister prevention. Too-loose socks can cause bunching, which can lead to hot spots or blisters. If you are between sock sizes, then you might try sizing down to ensure a good fit. The fabric content of your socks is also particularly important if you are blister prone. A synthetic sock (as opposed to a cotton version) will help prevent chafing by wicking moisture away from your skin. You can browse our Men’s running socks or Women’s running socks to find the right fit for you.
We’ve all tried on a shoe, fallen in love, but then come back from that first long run in the shoe with a big painful blister or two. The love affair isn’t necessarily over – often your foot just needs a little time to adjust to a new shoe – but if you find this happening long after your shoe purchase, or every time you get a new pair of shoes, you may need to rethink how you’re picking shoes.
Blisters can happen because running shoes are too tight or too loose. If your foot wiggles around in a shoe, the constant friction is a breeding ground for blisters. In these cases, you may need a narrower shoe, or you may want to play around with lacing your shoes tighter. Shoes that fit too tight will often cause blisters on the sides or tops of the toes, or around the arch area. In this case, try out a shoe with a higher volume fit, consider sizing up a half size, or maybe even look into a wider width.
Advanced Blister Protection
For even more help keeping blisters in check, keep these products handy:
- Bodyglide Liquified Powder 1.6oz: This anti-chafe warrior rubs on as a cream, then turns into a dry ‘shield’ to protect your feet from blisters on the run.
- 2Toms BlisterShield Powder: Designed primarily for use on the feet, this powder repels moisture instead of absorbing it, to help keep you going without developing hot spots.
- Pro-Tec Liquicell Blister Protectors 8-Pack: If you want to try powder-free blister protection, then these little enclosed liquid bandages might be just the ticket. The liquid inside each bandage freely circulates in response to pressure to protect your skin from irritation.
Take a look at all of the blister prevention products we carry to find just the right solution to maximize your comfort.
We’ve seen it in footwear: shoes that give you just enough of what you need, and take out all the extras. Slimmed down, sleek and fast. This season, New Balance offers up an apparel collection that’s in sync with the design philosophy of the New Balance Minimus footwear line. Featherweight fabrics, nearly seamless construction and intense breathability make this apparel a must for athletes who demand ultimate performance from their run gear.
How Did They Do It?
The NBx Minimus Singlet and NBx Minimus Short Sleeve are both constructed with highly breathable open mesh, with even more open mesh in key sweat zones like the chest. These pieces are designed with no side seams, to eliminate chafing.
The NBx Minimus Split Short is lightweight with a half split to allow for full range of motion, and mesh in the back to up the ante on moisture management.
Our Testers Say
“This apparel line almost feels like there’s nothing there. There aren’t any irritating seams. It’s so airy and breathable that when you’re running you won’t have to think about what you’re wearing, and you can focus on your run.” – Taro
“There aren’t a whole lot of pieces, but the engineering and build quality of the collection is impressive. I like the short sleeve best, for greater coverage and a featherweight feel.” – Matt
Shop New Balance NBx Minimus apparel here.
In February 2013, Pearl Izumi is introducing a brand new line of road and trail shoes called E:Motion. Their goal when developing this line was to create the world’s most fluid running experience, without the use of gels, air bags or other inserted midsole technologies.
The result was the development of the E:Motion midsole, offering a smooth transition and what the company calls a “dynamic offset” that changes as the foot goes through its stride. Better yet, all E:Motion shoes are designed to be under 10 oz (Men’s size 9) according to Pearl Izumi’s measurements.
We haven’t yet run in any of the E:Motion shoes, but we’re impressed with how light and flexible the range is. See more details below on each model we’ll carry. All weights and stack heights are Running Warehouse measurements.
Weight: 7.7 oz (M) / 6.9 oz (W)
The lightest road shoe in this lineup, the Road N 1 is designed for a nimble, smooth running experience for race day or faster training. MSRP $115
Weight: 9.1 oz (M) / 8.5 oz (W)
The Road N 2 balances light and fast, offering just enough cushioning and durability to serve as your go-to trainer. MSRP $120
If you and your significant other both run, lacing up and heading out together can be a great way to maximize your quality time. Here’s just a few of the benefits of running with your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or special someone:
1. Build a Stronger Bond
Maybe you logged your longest run, or maybe you just made it through a tough speed session without calling it quits. Either way, the thrill of success is exhilarating. Being able to share that feeling with your partner can strengthen your connection, as you conquer challenges together. Although you may have different training goals, working as a team can help you both improve – your fitness and your relationship.
2. Motivate and Encourage
Running with a group or team can help motivate you on those hard-to-get-out-the-door days. In the same way, you and your significant other can encourage and motivate each other to get off the couch and push through training challenges. By mutually supporting each other’s running goals, you can develop your abilities to support each other in other areas of life as well.
3. C’mon, Get Happy
Every runner who has experienced that ‘runner’s high’ knows that running can make you feel on top of the world. When you run, your body releases endorphins, which can alter your mood in a positive way. If you and your partner head out on a run together, you both can feel jazzed. And who doesn’t want more happiness with their special someone?
Do you ever run with your significant other? What do you enjoy about sharing your run?
Mizuno’s Wave Inspire series is one of the most popular daily trainers in the support category. The winning blend of cushioning, a smooth ride, and moderate stability is topped off with a great fitting upper, all coming together into a shoe with a considerable fan base.
With a sizeable decrease in weight expected for version 9, we think the Inspire series will continue to be a big win for Mizuno.
What to Watch For
- Revised Upper: A new overlay pattern increases forefoot flexibility and improves overall fit. The Inspire 9 gets some bold, bright colors too.
- Lower Weight: Both Men’s and Women’s models are slimmed down, with Running Warehouse measuring sample shoes at 10.1 oz (Men’s size 9) and 8.3 oz (Women’s size 8).
- Carryover Platform: The mid/outsole from the Inspire 8 will continue in the updated version.
Inov-8 has several new models on the way for Spring 2013. They’re expanding their road-focused models, adding to the Trailroc line, and introducing a few other noteworthy trail shoes.
In addition to the 255, 245 and 235 that are releasing in August 2012 (read about them here), the Trailroc lineup expands next spring with several new models.
- Trailroc 150 – For the most barefoot-like experience in the Trailroc series, the 150 offers lightweight, minimalist performance with a low-profile, zero-drop platform. The shoe is supremely flexible with an estimated weight of just 5.3 oz. MSRP $100.00
- Trailroc 226 – The 226 (Women’s version of the 235) is a zero offset design that, like all Trailroc models, offers three sticky rubber compounds of various hardness for optimal wear and grip. MSRP $130.00
- Trailroc 236 - Suitable for trail racing or training, the 236 is the Women’s version of the 245. Its 1 arrow Shoc-Zone gives the shoe a 3mm offset. MSRP $130.00
- Trailroc 246 – This is the Women’s version of the 255, offering the most cushioning and protection in the Trailroc range with a 6mm offset, along with max grip on loose or dry trails. MSRP $130.00
Joining the Road-X line in Inov-8′s road offerings, the Road-Xtreme lineup is a group of lightweight, high-grip road running shoes. We plan to carry the Road-Xtreme 138 and Road-Xtreme 118, the lightest and lowest models in this line.
- Road-Xtreme 138 – This shoe is designed to tip the scales at just 4.9 oz, with a zero offset, anatomic fit, lightweight mesh, and minimal material underfoot. We’ll have a White/Blue/Red color, which was not available as an early sample to photograph. MSRP $100.00
- Road-Xtreme 118 – Weighing just 4.2 oz with a zero offset, the Road-Xtreme 118 offers a minimal run experience. A mixed mesh upper is designed to give great breathability. We’ll have a White/Yellow/Pink color, which was not available as an early sample to photograph. MSRP $100.00
Other New Models
- Roclite 243 - This model is an update to the Roclite 285. As the name suggests, this performance trail shoe gets lighter by almost half an ounce, and it also lowers down to a 3mm offset. MSRP $120.00
- Mudclaw 265 – Great for steep or soft terrain thanks to its studded platform, the Mudclaw 265 will have a 3mm offset and join the Mudclaw 300, releasing in August. MSRP $120.00
New Balance enters the ultra running category with the MT1210 / WT1210. Inspired by the Leadville Trail 100, the 1210 supplies ultramarathon runners with everything their feet need to get through a grueling test of trail endurance.
A departure from their popular minimal trail shoes, the 1210 comes to market in a more traditional-looking form to provide cushioning and support. It also has a flexible and near-seamless upper designed for maximum comfort for the duration of a long trail run. New Balance lists weights of 10.3 oz (Men’s size 9) and 8.1 oz (Women’s size 8).
What to Watch For
- Overpronation Support: A medial post behind the arch provides just enough stability to account for fatigued arches during long-distance running.
- Hybrid Outsole: The moderately lugged Vibram outsole should provide traction on a range of terrain and perform well even on road surfaces.
- 8mm Offset: On a sample received from New Balance, we measured stack heights of 22mm in the forefoot and 30mm in the heel.
Grey/Red Men’s 1210
Purple/Pink Women’s 1210
- Low Profile: Stack heights of 15mm in the forefoot and 18mm in the heel keep the foot close to the ground.
- Flexible Rock Plate: A lightweight woven rock plate runs from the midfoot forward to provide extra protection from what lies underneath, without completely sacrificing flexibility.
- High Traction Outsole: The sticky rubber outsole features a lug pattern that offers solid grip on most terrain types.
The Kinvara TR is the most minimal of Saucony’s trail run lineup, which also includes the Peregrine (View Men’s and Women’s) and the Xodus (View Men’s and Women’s). This performance-oriented shoe features low stack heights, delivering a fast and close-to-the-ground feeling, though this means the amount of impact protection supplied is limited and best suited for shorter runs and races.
The Kinvara TR’s outsole offers excellent grip. Though the lug pattern is not the most aggressive available, it does deliver confidence inspiring traction on all but the most technical terrain. Our testers felt that the flexible rock plate only provided some protection from rocks and debris. If the trails you run are peppered with a bunch of sharp and rocky hazards, a more protective shoe may be needed.
The shoe features a snug- fitting upper, especially towards the base of the laces and the toebox, delivering a secure, locked down sensation that’s great for fast running. Our testers also noted that the shoe shape provides an increased range of motion at the ankle joint and arch. Those who tend to overpronate should exercise caution due to the hyper-mobility offered in this shoe.
The Kinvara TR, with its low weight and fast feel, makes a strong case to serve as a race day shoe in the serious trail runner’s collection, or even as a stripped-down daily trainer for the speedy billygoats among us.
“This is definitely a shoe best suited for runners with excellent biomechanics – the ankle mobility offered by the Kinvara TR exaggerates even slight overpronation.” – Jonathan
“I can run an hour to an hour and a half max in the Kinvara TR before my legs feel trashed. Anything longer and I’d want a more substantial shoe with more underfoot protection.” – Erik
“The low profile and snug, secure upper give this shoe a performance feel. I’m bringing these to my next trail race.” – Taro
The MR/WR10 was one of the first shoes in the New Balance Minimus line when it launched in early 2011. Come March 2013, it’s finally time for an update to the groundbreaking road shoe. The MR10 v2 and WR10 v2 pump new life into this lightweight trainer model – expect stack heights and offsets to remain about the same, now joined by a more flexible open mesh upper, more durable outsole and a significant decrease in weight.
What to Watch For
- New Upper: Flex points at key areas along the lightweight mesh upper allow it to move better with the foot for improved barefoot comfort.
- Updated Outsole: Vibram rubber provides long-lasting durability and excellent traction while keeping weight down.
- Reduced Weight: According to New Balance, the MR10 v2 will weigh in at 6.5 oz (size 9), while the WR10 v2 will tip the scales at 5.2 oz (size 8). That’s over an ounce of weight reduction from the original.
Yellow/Blue Men’s MR10 v2
Blue/Pink Women’s WR10 v2