3style asked in another thread of mine: "I was just looking for an opening to ask you how you decide what an appropriate level of blistering in sandals might be."

I thought it might be a good question for the group because I'm sure we'll get a variety of answers. I'm certainly no expert because I've only ever owned one pair of sandals that did not cause blisters, and if I'm honest, even those gave me blisters on my first wear.

I'm sure some here will say that one blister is too many.

If I said that, I would never wear sandals at all, in which case I'd be dealing with major bottom of foot callouses from going barefoot. Either that or hot, smelly, feet.

I usually count on about 3 wears for full "break-in." I know some people say you should never have to break shoes in. That would be nice. It's a fantasy for me.

So here's my shopping method and my strategy for dealing with a situation that I've come to expect. My heel is narrow, my front of foot is normal width, and without straps of some kind or laces, shoes fall off my foot. I shop for sandals that do not pinch or hurt on first try-on. I don't buy them if they feel as if they will rub -- but I accept that once I get outdoors in humid weather, they will rub, anyway. That's just how it is for me.

I avoid most peep toes (cuts the front of my toe). I like suede and soft leather. I look first at brands that have been dependable before for me, including "comfort" brands but not limited to those. I wear body glide on my feet, and if there is a place where a strap is pressing more, I will use prophylactic blister bandaids just in case. I try to wear the sandals for a short outing first -- a walk downtown or something -- no more than a mile.

Inevitably, I will get blisters anyway at some point. So my strategy is to alternate. I have several sandals in different styles, with straps in different places, and if I have blisters from one pair, I simply wear another for a while.

I also distinguish between "out for the evening" sandals and "all day wear" sandals. There are some that I know will be great for 3 or 4 hours, or in non-humid weather, or if I'm not doing a ton of walking -- and some that really go the distance. Um...once they are broken in, that is.