My feet are similar to yours, Suz. I tend to blister pretty easily. I don't mind getting some blisters with a new pair of shoes; for me, that is just part of breaking them in. I remember as a kid getting terrible blisters when wearing new shoes for the first few times. After that, they were fine.

I do wear Body Glide whenever I'm concerned about blisters, and I try to make sure that I don't wear a new pair of shoes on a day where I will have to do a lot of walking. I gradually try to increase the amount of time I wear the shoes. If I can tell that I'm getting a blister because one part of the shoe is too tight, I will heat the shoe up with a blow dryer and then put on a pair of socks and walk around in the shoe a bit, to soften up the leather. This is similar to what Isabel was talking about.

I admit being surprised at people who don't tolerate blisters when breaking in a pair of shoes, probably because my lifetime experience has been one of new shoes = blisters.

I have virtually no patience for breaking in any shoes anymore, despite the fact that I used to commonly wear shoes that killed my feet. Indeed, during the school year I do so much walking daily that I simply cannot wear shoes that hurt, so if they cause pain or blisters I am likely never to reach for them again. During the summer, I will sometimes buy a pair of four hour sandals because I can wear them for a period of time and then change. That's much harder to do during a busy day, but I've "broken in" sandals that way occasionally. I wear them just until they start to hurt and then I change to something else.

Last year I bought several pairs of sandals that I was able to wear with no pain at all, even in very humid and sticky weather. They were comfort brands, but they were wearable all day without pain from day one.

A single blister is too much for me lately. I've been having foot problems, though; it's made me so much less tolerant of anything that even irritates my feet a little bit. I've become a grumpy, get-off-my-yard old fart LOL

I usually get blisters on the first wear of any shoe, but if it's more than that, I have zero tolerance. I can no longer abide an uncomfortable shoe! Years ago, if they looked good I'd wear them anyway, but no more. And it seems like if they don't break in after the first wear, they never break in.

My tolerance is close to zero.

But then, I don't walk as much as you do.

I live in the suburbs, and walking just to the closest store (which happens to be a Walgreen's, go figure) is 2-3 miles away. I drive to work, and my longest walk is from the parking lot into the building.

I have a desk job and sit most of the day, and if I do have to walk out to the shop for any reason, I wear my steel-toed boots I keep under my desk.

Interesting question. I honestly hadn't even thought of it, and I think that's because in general, I don't get blisters. Yes at the beginning of the season, I do need to do a bit of "hardening off" as I start to wear shoes with bare feet again, but I think I just do this slowly, with minor issues. But I'd also not wear bare feet if I knew I was doing a lot of walking... I'd put on something tried and true.

That being said... I wore "our" new Franco Sarto sandals the other day, and the buckle rubbed a raw spot on my left ankle. I am a bit concerned about this. I also went for a longish (45min) hard walk in my Ecco sport sandals two days ago, and got a bit of a friction burn on the front pad of my feet. I don't expect this to happen again, as my feet toughen up. It was a very humid day - those shoes are normally not an issue at all.

I do think you do far more walking than the average Joe. I've always been amazed that you generally do it in "normal" shoes, as I tend to wear more "walking shoes", or at least choose specific shoes I know are up to the task, when I know I have lots of walking in my day. Most of my weekday walking is optional, other than car to office, and to the odd meeting.

Thanks, Isabel, for the idea of stretching out sandals by wearing indoors with socks -- that sounds promising! I will try it next time I have a new pair.

And Gigi, thanks for sharing that your experience is similar to mine.

I am pretty sure that if I didn't walk the way I do, I wouldn't get blisters. And if I lived and worked in an air conditioned climate, I probably wouldn't get them either. It's the combination of factors -- foot shape and type, tendency to perspire (plus summer temps and humidity that make that likely), and daily heavy city walking. Well, this is my fate, I guess, and I'll keep Dr. Scholl's and Nextcare and Body Glide in business!

Those Sofft Innis sandals you posted, Suz, are my favorites. I have 4 colors and replaced the suede taupe after 2 summers of wear. I have walked miles in those sandals.
The Crocs Leigh are amazing. Weightless, with a cushion feeling when you walk.
The Steve Madden Nonstops, which also exist in 4 colors in my closet, have lasted me for several summers and - despite the heel - remain among my most comfortable shoes.

No blisters!

Sorry 3style we are talking blisters not osteoarthritis!

Cardiff girl, sorry too.

The problem with long threads and sporadic posting over the course of several years is that continuity for complex information is hard to manage.... This whole conversation stemmed from my asking Suz about acceptable risk of blistering when purchasing new shoes. If you had read a few of my previous posts relating to feet and knees, you’d have noticed my discussion about having Rheumatoid feet and the correspondingly extremely small range of footwear which doesn’t aggravate this condition. I can wear without joint or soft tissue pain maybe 1/5000 shoes which are manufactured and available in the USA. Typically, the foot pain which concerns me is arthritis, tendinitis, several varieties of neuropathy or plantar fasciitis.

At the moment, mercifully my immune system isn’t aggressively attacking my feet, and the damage I’m left with strongly resembles osteoarthritis.

Thus, seemingly shoes which create some blistering would be an acceptable price for not aggravating the arthritis. However, unfortunately one of the corresponding symptoms of RA and/or the drugs used to treat RA is the tendency for frequent infections. I’ve had to get treatment for foot infection related to my weird toenail growth pattern at a frequency of more times than I can readily count.

So the deep question for Suz was more about how long is it reasonable to tolerate a brief period of infection risk while starting wearing shoes which miraculously don’t aggravate the arthritis. I think that her idea of preemptive bandaid use might be just the ticket with the particular sandals prompting this conversation.

I’ve never needed to preemptively bandaid because on top of everything else, my feet are so low volume and narrow, that they make minimal contact with most forefoot straps which I can tolerate on account of the RA. So I’m not actually accustomed to blistering, in spite of my litany of other issues.

Oh poor you .l had an aunt with Rheumatoid Arthritis and it is a nasty disease and a hard cross to bear.I hope that you are able to find shoes that you can tolerate with as much comfort as possible.

I blister easily too. The front of my feet is wide, with a narrow heel, and they are very fussy. Every year, I have a problem finding sandals that fit, that are comfortable as much as possible and are flattering enough to wear with skirts. In spring when I stop wearing socks, I'm extra careful to start with last-year sandals because they are usually most comfortable, and at the beginning I wear them only for short walks or a quick visit to the supermarket. So I give my feet time to get used to sandals again. When I introduce a new pair later in the season, I always go slow, gradually, when I know I will have to walk for hours then either I choose a pair that I can count on or don't wear sandals at all. If I'm not sure, then I wear them around the house for a few days before. My favourite brand for sandals is Ecco, and Flash models tend to fit me best. In my mature age I'm getting less and less tolerant for uncomfortable shoes, so finding the right sandals is harder every year.

I actually have more trouble with blisters in closed shoes like slip-on sneakers (no-show socks can help). But I have had trouble with sandals rubbing too, and sometimes previously comfortable sandals have started to become uncomfortable — they’re all gone now!

I don’t have much tolerance for a break-in period anymore. Soft leathers, more minimal styles with fewer straps (I am loving slides for this reason), and styles that are cut further up on the foot (no more peep-toes or styles that cut across the toe unless they are ultra-comfy) help me.

I’m glad I’m not alone in having trouble with gear sandals — I agree they can be the worst. I’ve wondered if I just have thin, sensitive skin on my feet because they always feel scratchy and rough to me. I’d rather wear full hiking shoes with socks.

I rarely get blisters but my lifestyle is very similar to Thistle's - I drive to work, work at a desk job, have no nearby shopping. I walk to the park with my kids but it's only half a block away. I have dozens of sandals but only one or two that I know for certain that I can walk miles in. The others just haven't been tested or I know they're only good for short distances (which is my normal life). Also, my climate is dry so my feet don't sweat that much which probably helps prevent blisters.

3style, I think the special blister bandages worn before a blister appears could be just the ticket for your issues. You might have to experiment to find a brand that works well for you and these bandaids are sadly more expensive than regular bandaids. I like the clear ones from NextCare. They stay on very well. Some others I have tried simply come off in the humidity.

I am fortunate in that I don't really risk infection with blisters since I tend to heal quite quickly and don't have underlying foot issues apart from plantar fasciitis. You have a much more difficult situation -- you have my sympathies!

Thanks everyone, for your thoughts and ideas!

Cardiff girl, thanks for your support.

I’ve actually had decent success with dressy sandals this year. I’ll do a full post when I’m not responding on mobile phone and can create proper Finds.

I’m realizing that sporty sandal straps need to be tighter than those of other styles which I usually wear. Tight sandals are necessary in order to maintain a degree of ankle stability over rough terrain. So preemptive bandaids can help me with this. With these olukai sandals which prompted the conversation, I’ve pretty much decided not to decide yet. They’re from Zappos and I will try a few other alternative options, probably a few different Chaco and maybe the Keens with the toecap which LTS recommended up thread.

I’m particularly cranky on this subject because my podiatrist had me prioritize relieving foot pain with rigid shoes which landed me in knee PT. Now I try to balance out the needs of all the joints.

I’m overdue for rotator cuff and carpal tunnel surgery. I’m trying to square away my summer and early fall wardrobe in preparation.

I got a pair of Camper lightweight spring/fall shoes as per Angie which seem to work well with my orthotics. I’ll do a review when it’s cool enough to give them a proper test drive.

Suz, I feel ya and use your strategies.

The tops and sides of my feet are babied 6 months of the year with layers so heaven forfend they have to deal with straps on bare skin haha.

Ironically I got some of my worst ever blister wearing the house brand (Abeo?) from The Walking Company. The leather straps were fine with body glide...but the heel and instep area has the logo debossed and with 8 miles of walking I ended up with hideous underside-of-heel blisters. Escaped the instep ones due to high arches. Dumbest design ever and on my list to complain to them not just here.

After wearing a newer pair of sandals in Nashville and getting a blister on the top of my foot that left a small scar, I have no tolerance for uncomfortable footwear! But, I think I've become better at choosing well-fitting sandals and shoes.

Vix, I use these things to cover up annoying embossing and stitching on my sandal footbeds. (Born is the worst offender IMO - why do they insist on having all that stitching all over the footbed of an otherwise comfortable shoe?). The summer soles work pretty well to prevent those kinds of blisters, and they are pretty thin so don't look weird or get in the way.

Diana, those look amazing and maybe they would be a solution for me as well!! My feet would not perspire in the same way! I am going to try them out. Thank you!

Diana, thank you...and would you believe I have a zillion various things like that?

Just didn't even think to cover that stuff up (trial runs had been shorter distances). You can bet it was the first thing I did next wearing. And you're so right about Born's stitching.

I have ordered a pile of those soles -- I'll report back. I honestly think they might be the ticket for me!

Fingers crossed they work for you, Suz! They’ve definitely saved some of my shoes.

Heel and toe blisters are common for me when breaking in new shoes or walking great distances in anything other than trainers or hiking boots. I am somewhere in the middle and will stay away from shoes that have given me blisters and wear my comfy shoes until they are worn out.
Like you, totally flat shoes don’t work for me, I need more support, so finding those comfortable shoes is often an expensive exercise.

I'm in the zero tolerance for blisters camp.

I have noticed that my feet are more sensitive to blisters shortly after a pedicure. When I remember, I ask them to please not slough off all the rough skin - it's there for a purpose!

Otherwise, for those in the zero tolerance camp, these sandals are sublime:

Perfect if you don't mind the boho look. The sole is made out of recycled yoga mats and the straps are tee shirt material. My toes normally don't tolerate thong sandals but these I can tolerate no problem. These sandals have really spoiled me and make it difficult to wear anything else. Like walking on clouds.

Not sandals but I'll put in another plug for Allbirds. I now own three pairs. Two wool runners (white and grey) and a pair of tree runners. These are the *only* sneakers I can wear sockless. I wore the tree runners for the first time the other day to walk miles in 90 degree high humidity, no problem. No blisters. Nothing. My feet were perfectly happy -- and cool.

I'm over letting my feet suffer just to fit in a pair of shoes these days. Just keeping it simple, if it isn't comfortable then I don't want it.

Lots of good information shiny. I’m happy with my lighter sneakers from altra but they are perforated and not for cooler weather. I’m beginning to look for warmer sneakers for fall. Which style of allbirds do you find the warmest? All of the photos kind of look the same. Thanks.

Like Shiny, Allbirds are one of the very few shoes I can wear sockless (they're not sandals of course).

3style -- any of the Wool versions should be plenty warm. The Runners are probably better for long walking, but I ended up with the Loungers because they fit my feet a little better. I wear Altras for hiking and running, and the Allbirds are a perfect casual sneaker for me -- not nearly as clunky looking as Altras -- and the Loungers also ended up being my go-to slippers/house shoes all winter long. The "Tree" styles are more ventilated, as they are made with a eucalyptus fibre mesh (basically Tencel). If you're really into the idea of merino sneakers, there are a couple other companies doing their own versions now -- Giessweins are super cute, and I think New Balance now offers a couple models with a wool upper.

I've tried those Sanuk Slings that Shiny links to as well. They seem super comfy and much more secure than flip flops, but I wish they offered a wide width or a men's version. My forefoot spilled over the sides.

Sorry to let this thread drift a bit far afield, Suz!

Gee, my feet usually HURT, with or without footwear, but rarely get blisters. Maybe it is because I don't live in a humid climate? I also rarely wear sandals if I will be walking more than a mile or two because I feel that I need the support of shoes if I will be walking that far.

The Fly Londons below are my most supportive sandal and lasted nearly six hours on the marble floors of a museum. I like to be able to loosen the laces as my feet swell. And no, I don't own these in green. Mine are silver and starting to show their age. I pretend my Fly Londons are fugly.

I thought the Tevas below would be comfortable, and they are, but they just don't provide the support I want for real walking.

My feet seem to need a hug for support, and the cognac sandals seem to do the trick. My little toes often hurt (but rarely blister!), but I think Angie's silicone sleeves will do the trick. Hooray!

Another plug for Allbirds sneakers. I have the ones below in cream. They are machine washable.