Monday, June 20, 2011

I Get Nasty Blisters with my FiveFingers... Why ???

A buddy of mine, which converted to FiveFingers minimalist footwear 6 months ago, came to my lab a couple weeks back and we discussed his issues with massive blisters on the great toes, on the side of the foot and heel.

This, according to my friend, appears to happen after a 8 or more miles run. Joe does not wear socks just like many of us VFF-ers .... Blisters that he never had before and, so far, are a recent occurrence.

So I proceeded to elaborate on blisters, causes, effects, and remedies. (A little science is always fun)

It turns out that blisters are pretty common among athletes, that they wear socks or not. Blisters develop when the feet and the footwear continuously rub together, causing the outer layers of the skin to separate from the inner layers; the gap created is then filled with lymph fluids. Then come the pain.

Blisters normally will heal on their own; the lymph fluid is reabsorbed and disappear and as you shed your outer skin everything looks good soon after.

Some blisters will pop (or sometimes we do it our-self) causing them to become infected. Medical attention is highly recommended if you see blood and some yellow liquids coming out of the blister bubble.

On such injuries I always use MoleSkin from Dr. Scholl's or whatever is similar to "MoleSkin". This product provides a waterproof shield and really relieves the pain associated with blisters. I clean and dry the area to be treated, cover the hot spots with patches of MoleSkin , put my favorite footwear back on and keep going.

What are the culprits in causing blisters on your feet?
  • Moisture
  • Heat
  • Friction
  • Slippage footwear not properly secured or too big
  • Fungal infections of the skin
While walking downtown to get a good cup of Java, Joe asked me if my feet were slipping in my VFF's . After telling him that I never had such problems I decided to get a closer look at his problem.

While quizzing Joe about his running habits I found out that he cleaned his VFF's on average once a month., runs every days for at least 1 hr and wear his VFF"s for at least 10 hrs a day.

Then Joe tells me " I feel like my feet are slipping in my VFF's after I wear them for 30 minutes ..."

Then I thought ..... Oh Yeah ... Dead skin, Sebum, body fat, ....... !

So, I told Joe to give it a try to my methods:
  • Clean your VFF's every nights,
  • Make sure they are dry before you wear them again
  • Clean your feet before you wear your VFF's .....
  • And let's see what happens.
He agreed.

Just got a call from Joe this evening .... Will be having coffee tomorrow PM .... And the good news are that Joe has been blister free for 2 weeks; he is a pretty happy camper again.......

Yes, it's a fact that poorly maintained FiveFingers and poor hygiene will cause all sorts of problems including nasty blisters that will most definitely hamper your exercise routine.

Have Fun and Keep it Clean !

Agent Orange Blossom.


Probably the easiest way to clean your VFF's is to jump in the shower with them, and when you are done, use the suds as you are rinsing, a quick rub then rinse again and you are done.  All you have left to do is to let your VFF's dry in a coll, well ventilated area overnight.

Also see my article on the topic: Link below.


  1. Hi! I have a huge love-affair with my five finger trek sports... Just recently I have upped my running, but have been plagued with HORRIBLE fivefinger stink as well as blisters (only on my left foot) despite my fivefingers fitting snuggly, working up to my distance, etc etc. Last weekend I was googling for advice and came across your blog... While I am usually pretty good at the oxiclean wash once a week, I did no maintenance in between. This week I've ran every day doing the shower-rinse out of my trek sports after my run...the result has been amazing!! No stink! But, better yet...the blisters on my feet are finally healing!!!! Thank you for the advice!!!!!! :)

  2. I'm glad it helps ..... Enjoy your VFF"s

  3. I commented on your other blog. Yes. I had horrible smelling VFF's in the past. Wearing them hours running; also along with PX90 workouts. Detergent with Oxiclean solution works well. This get rid of the slippery foot beds and odor.