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Foot care/preperation - Blister prevention.


Hi does any one have any advice on preparing your feet prior to begining the training to harden the skin and generally toughen the skin up.

Also during training is the any advice to minimize the amount of blisters i am bound to encounter. I know they are inevitable but the less i get the better i think. I have heard various things such as two pairs of socks. One thin pair under issue socks, two pairs of issue socks. Taping your feet? Whats this done with?

Any suggestions, would be greatly welcomed.


Zinc Oxide tape I believe, you can get from boots. It'll take ages to come off, a case of soaking it off rather than pulling it off.


War Hero
Well worn in boots, good quality socks, zinc oxide tape used sparingly on hotspots as they occur, take your boots off and towl your feet when you get a break, even if its only for a couple of minutes


Listen to Clanky - put zinc oxide on hot spots only and not everywhere on your feet. During a decent phys session your feet will swell up a bit and if you tape them too much you impair the blood supply, which is generally considered to be a bad thing! Hotspots tend to be on the side of just uner your big toe and under your little toe as well as around your heel, but everyone is different (the way you distribute weight on your feet is pretty unique).

As you say, getting blisters is inevitable. Get some Compede plasters from Boots for when they do appear.

Personally I'm a big fan of Sorbothane insoles (also from Boots) but lots of people don't like them. They do act like a sponge if they get wet (for example, if you inadvertently fall into a river :( )


War Hero
This is a science in itself and everyone will have their own opinion (because everyone is different) Some principles though, blisters are caused by friction with either your socks or your boots, well fitting boots and good quality cotton socks will help prevent this. Some people wear thick loop knit socks against their skin and a thin cotton pair over the top, the theory is that any friction will be taken up between the socks, it works for some. Some people swear by soft boots (as above) it works for some although with good fitting boots it shouldn't matter too much as long as they flex at the joints and have been worn in ( I have a couple of pairs of rigid boots for alpine use, one plastic and one leather, neither give me blisters because they fit very well (I also use the two socks principle)

One of the most important preventions to limit blisters is to have soft feet, hard skin is less flexible and more prone to rubbing, use skin cream and remove hard skin. Hard skin blisters on the heel are a real bugger, they are deeper, bigger and more painful so limit the build up of hard skin on your heels, there is some "magical" norwegian heel cream which alledgedly gets rid of it although I have never used it.

I'm sure someone will come along and contradict what I've written although I've been hillwalking and climbing for nearly 30 years and these tips work for me :thumright:

PS. Just saw Andy's post re compede, be very careful with compede it can actually make blisters worse, the problem is compede is not breathable, if a blister bursts and weeps into the compede the pressure can become unbearable, there is a little trick involving a needle and thread and compede which seems to work well although I'm not going to advocate it as I've never used it myself. They are good for hotspots to reduce friction, if you actually get a blister far better to let it burst, or if you are nails burst it and apply Iodine or potassium permangenate and then apply breathable oxide tape, you will have to soak it off in the bath though!
At school I used to massage rosin into me feet to harden them for wearing boots. It's the same stuff used as a flux when soldering.


I have a pair of Altberg boots that i used in a previous job. Would i be allowed to use them during recruit training, or do you have to use issue boots. If so would they allow you to bring broken in boots with you? Or is breaking the boots in "all part of the fun and games" of recruit training?


You have to use what you are given re: boots. Otherwise the phrase "uniform" wouldn't really apply!


Where would you get the zinc oxide tape from? Keeping my feet soft would be better than allowing hard skin to form?


War Hero
Babbs said:
Where would you get the zinc oxide tape from? Keeping my feet soft would be better than allowing hard skin to form?

Boots' or any other chemist will sell white oxide tape although I think you have to get it from the pharmacist's counter, failing that sickbay. Yes keep your feet soft, all that stuff about hardening your skin with surgical spirits/ urine etc is not a good idea.


I would advise taking a few runs without socks just boots prior to basic training.
Sounds daft but by the time you join up any grief from PT will be a doddle. Make sure your socks and boots are as tight as possible during PT, its the friction of boot,sock,skin which causes the blisters, and strip them off at every opportunity, just for a breather and no matter how knackered you are .... wash your feet!!
Fucksake, join through it...more pain....

Jesus, I know any cnut can be uncomfortable but fucksake lads get agrip.


War Hero
philthy said:
I would advise taking a few runs without socks just boots prior to basic training.

All RN candidates are strongly recommended not to run in boots prior to joining.

RM candidates are given boots upon successful completion of PRMC to break-in, but are advised to exercise caution with regard running in boots too early as it can cause injury. Thick socks & good insoles are the best way of avoiding shock injury to the heel together with avoiding metalled road surfaces before you join.


Lantern Swinger
Soak your feet in YOUR OWN urine for an hour every day (fresh urine only), told to me by a black belt karate instructor. Never had blisters in my life.


Lantern Swinger
Okay so this is kind of off topic.
But its about shoes!

You know like parade shoes?
Do they come in mens and womens?

(dw i have more questions in a mo)


War Hero
thats exactly the Advice we where given at Royal Arthur,the only other advice is if you are up onto overnight dont take your boots cos you aint gonna get them back on the next or was that Leadership course


Lantern Swinger
old advise but trust me it works.........if you get a blister needle n thread pop the bubble leaving the thread in the blister (entry n exit) the skin will drain n reseal leaving it nearly as it was


Lantern Swinger
Best advice..

You won't get them until you go to pier cellars.

my advice which managed to get me through 7 hours of shit at dartmoore:

Vaseline! Vaseline the back of the boot (inside) up so your heel slips freely up the back of the boot. Thus causing little friction and voila! no blisters.

Although I had the worst blisters i've ever had at pier cellars. Could not take part in the assault course due to them.
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