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The fear of blistered and bruised feet often keeps even the most hardened pros from running out of transition without socks in their shoes. Here are some tricks of the trade if you want to try going sockless on the run.
Written by: Melanie McQuaid
1. Talcum Powder
Use any kind of talcum or foot powder to help absorb any moisture from the swim or the bike and protect it from chafing. Anything from drugstore-brand baby powder to fancy foot powder works equally well. The bonus is that your shoes are almost never smelly.
2. Petroleum Jelly
If powder alone can’t protect you from blisters, try putting Vaseline on any seams or contact points in your shoe. Under the tongue of your shoe, at the back of the heel and in the seam along the arch are three spots where a shoe can be irritating. Plus, your shoe will go on fast! You’ll want your elastic laces to be appropriately tight so you don’t end up losing a shoe somewhere out on the course. (This is particularly important if you are racing a muddy Xterra event.)
3. Duct Tape
I’ve seen pro athletes wrap their toes with duct tape when they get blisters on the undersides of their toes. Skip the main part of your foot because something as inflexible as duct tape would not facilitate good run mechanics.
4. Cutting The Shoe
This is a drastic measure that should only be used if you have a terrible blister already. A number of pros, myself included, have cut out a portion of the rear of their shoe to prevent rubbing on a raw spot on their foot. This will drastically reduce the life of your shoes, so use only as a last resort.
5. Try A Size Down
If you are getting a lot of blisters racing it could be that your shoe is not form-fitting enough. I find that I like to race in a shoe a half-size smaller than what I would train in. Also, I train with socks, so this also affects what size I find comfortable for racing versus training.