For myself and when providing foot care at ultramarathons
Preventing blisters on the feet can be tricky. So much so that people skip prevention and rely on treatment.
I get foot blisters very easily (you can read about my epiphany here). I can wear the best sports shoes and the best moisture-wicking socks and I can still get a blister at the back of my heel on a 20 minute walk (or less)! So as you can imagine, I’ve hunted high and low for something that works. And what I found in 2009 was ENGO Blister Prevention Patches.
While not without their limitations, there's a reason why they work when other things don't. This is why I choose to use ENGO Patches for my blisters. And why I rely heavily on ENGO when providing foot care at ultramarathon events.
Why ENGO is my blister prevention strategy of choice
1. Your shoe still fits perfectly
The first thing you’ll notice with these patches is they go on your shoe. This is great because patches that apply to your skin have to be replaced every few days. But this is just the beginning. Each patch is only 0.38mm thick. And so unlike donut pads and cushioned insoles, ENGO Blister Patches don’t change how your shoe fits.
2. Blister protection for 500kms!
When you stick something to your skin (like blister taping or Compeed) you can only expect it to last a few days - at most. That’s just the reality of the situation. But when you stick it to the shoe, it can stay there indefinitely – in theory. To be of any use, such a product would have to adhere well. And it would have to be durable enough to last more than a few days.
That's what’s great about ENGO Patches. Although not without their limitations, the adhesive is strong and patches extremely durable. Lasting more than a few days, you can expect ENGO Patches to last day after day, week after week, month after month - for a good 500kms.
This has become the new reality for longevity in blister prevention. And it has taken blister management for the following scenarios to a whole new level:
- Runners and hikers who cover long distances
- Race situations where you don’t have time to stop to apply blister products
- People who are blister prone and just want to be able to put any shoe on … and go
3. A super-low friction level
Of course, a durable patch that sticks to your shoe will never be any good unless it drastically cuts down friction levels. And it does! Let me give you the technical bits.
- The blue patch surface is made of a material called Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
- PTFE was discovered accidentally by DuPont in 1938 as a non-stick and low friction material
- It lead to the production of what we know as Teflon
- You can read more about the remarkable material PTFE here
- The blue PTFE film surface on ENGO Blister Patches has a friction coefficient of 0.16. That’s really low friction! Research by Carlson (2001) and Polliack and Schenberg (2006) compared the friction coefficients of several materials used in shoes and for blisters, as you can see in the graphs below. Take a look at the COF values and remember ENGO's is 0.16.
Reducing friction is how ENGO works. That doesn’t mean it reduces rubbing. Please read this revealing article about what it means to cut friction levels and how that helps blisters. It’s quite important!
4. You can use ENGO to maintain good friction
Now this is going to sound like I’m contradicting myself...
Friction is not bad. In fact, friction is necessary. We need friction for traction. Traction for our foot within the shoe is important. Without traction (like when you put Vaseline all around your foot) it’s too slippery and your foot slides around too much. You’ll find this has a detrimental effect on the efficiency of your push-off, on how you change direction and on your balance!
Use ENGO Patches to target high friction blister areas only. Minimise 'bad' friction to avoid blisters whilst maintaining 'good' friction elsewhere to maintain traction. And your biomechanical function will be unimpeded. This is the best way to go.
5. ENGO allows the sock to protect the skin
Because ENGO Patches apply to the shoe, they’re able to protect the skin better than other strategies like lubricants. Lubricants reduce friction between the skin and the sock. ENGO reduces friction between the sock and shoe! What does this mean for your skin - watch this video to see. Hint: it's about how ENGO Patches release the sock from the shoe's grip, allowing the sock to protect the skin.
6. ENGO is a time-saver!
If you’re a runner and you run most days, you’ll recognise the wasted time spent taping your blister prone areas. Or the mess of applying powder or lubricant to your feet each time. Or if you’re blister prone (like me) and you have to apply your preferred blister strategy each morning, you’ll recognise what a drag this is - day in, day out!
ENGO changes that. Once in place, you're protected day after day, week after week, month after month. It saves time, it's not messy and it works!
7. Great at preventing blisters … brilliant at treating them!
I alluded to this article under the third point – did you read it? Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite in case you didn't. It’s about how to heal blisters faster.
"But if you miss the blister prevention boat and a blister develops on your foot, you can make it heal faster and make it less painful by reducing friction (making it more slippery) where your blister is. Most people don’t know to do this (because they’re caught up with thinking friction is rubbing). It’s like a best kept secret. And it’s how I can get ultrarunners back up and running comfortably again, even with the worst blisters under their feet."
More of what you need to know
> ENGO’s Limitations
ENGO Blister Prevention Patches have some significant limitations you need to know about. Read about ENGO's limitations here.
> Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply ENGO Patches? What if my shoes get wet? How do I know when they’re worn out? FAQs answered here. Plus video tutorials. Head to the ENGO FAQ page.
> Money-Back Guarantee
We’re so confident in ENGO’s ability to help with your blisters that we guarantee your satisfaction. Learn more about our guarantee policy here
Written by Rebecca Rushton
Rebecca is an Australian podiatrist with over 20 years experience. She has spent a lifetime dealing with her own blister prone feet in her sporting and everyday life. Rebecca specialises in helping athletes and sports medicine professionals figure out how to manage foot blisters with ease. And for kicks, she enjoys providing blister care at multiday ultramarathon events.
Rebecca is the founder of Blister Prevention and author of "The Blister Prone Athlete's Guide To Preventing Foot Blisters".