As a runner, your feet endure a lot. If you're not careful, you may end up with blisters, which can cause you pain and are prone to infection. Blisters are a silly reason to have to sit on the sidelines during the next race, so follow these tips to avoid developing blisters as a runner.
Buy good socks.
Running is an inexpensive sport, but you do need to spend a little money on the right gear. Cheap socks from the discount rack are not in your best interest. Instead, buy a few pairs of cushioned running socks made from breathable, wicking material. These socks will keep moisture from building up against your skin when you sweat or run through a puddle. Your skin is less prone to blisters when it stays dry. Good socks also reduce the friction between your foot and the shoe; friction is another contributor to blisters.
Run on dry surfaces when possible.
When your feet get soaked, even the best socks won't keep them dry enough to prevent blisters. Try to avoid running on really wet roads and through puddles. If you are running a route that gets wet at certain points, try to plan your route so you run through the wet part last. This way, you won't have long to run once your feet do get wet. If you have a long run to do on a wet day, stop to change your shoes and socks partway through.
Sanitize your shoes.
If your shoes are laden with bacteria, they will weaken your skin and may make you more prone to blisters. If you do develop blisters, they are more likely to get infected. You can buy sanitizing shoe sprays to use after every run. You can also put your shoes through the washing machine periodically to keep them clean.
Buy shoes that fit.
When your shoes fit well, they don't move as much as you run, so you don't get as much friction. The shoes that fit you well a year ago may not fit you so well now, especially if you have gained or lost weight or if your running habits have changed. Visit a running store to be fitted for shoes about once a year so you always have shoes that fit.
If you continue to develop blisters after following the tips above, see a podiatrist. They may recommend a shoe insert to keep your foot more stable and prevent rubbing. Companies like Scola, Jere A can offer more information.