From time to time, my smarts escape me and I find myself pondering the stupid decision(s) I made. I recently considered my stupidity at great length as I stood on one leg in a public washroom eyeballing a disgusting blister on my right foot as I ran cold water over my tootsies to soothe them and reduce swelling. I felt even more intelligent when a well-dressed, sophisticated looking lady happened upon me in her building’s ladies’ room. Awesome. (Luckily for everyone, I was wearing pants.)
You see, I’d slid my feet into my new TOMS wedges at 7 am that morning before hopping on a plane to Montreal for work. I hadn’t considered that my feet might swell from air travel, or that it would be hot and humid… never mind that I’d be walking a few kilometres around downtown Montreal in those puppies. Seven hours later, my favourite shoes were no longer my favourite shoes and the comfortable loafers I’d packed in my carry on were at my hotel. Oops.
Your best line of defense against a blister is prevention, obviously. Common sense tells you to wear comfortable, supportive shoes. Fashion sense says “wear what looks best”. Travel sense says “wear the heaviest/largest shoes on the plane.” (Perhaps you can see how I found myself in this predicament, best two out of three and all.)
As we settled into a restaurant after the first couple of kilometres walked, I dug through my purse in search of Chapstick – anything to lubricate my skin and avoid further friction. Friction = ouch. I broke off a chunk of Chapstick and rubbed it on all the places affected by my canvas shoes rubbing against my skin, and slightly dampened the canvas in hopes of softening and stretching it. And then I grimaced for a few kilometres after lunch until we arrived at work facility.
It was then that I made my way to that ladies’ room and watched my dignity go down the drain as I flamingoed next to that sink. Then, I reached for my hand cream and coated my damp foot in Shea Body Butter and slid my foot back into my shoe. The cool water had reduced the swelling and soothe my sore feet, and the lotion helped lubricate my skin. Lastly, sliding my damp, lube-y foot into my shoe meant I would stretch it and break it in a little more, and faster. I hoped.
That night, I had to delicately drain my blisters and I stuck to flats that evening for dinner and all day the next day, soaking morning and night in cool, clear water to soothe my ouchies. Two days later, I’m happy to be back in my TOMS wedges for a half day of travel and the hurt has mostly gone away. This time, though, I put my thinking cap on before my shoes and I picked up some of the following goodies… and packed them in my bag with my flats, just in case.
If you suddenly find yourself with a blister and you can't change your shoes for a while, you might need to get creative. Chapstick worked beautifully for me to lubricate my skin and lessen the likelihood of further friction. Cool water will help reduce swelling, and hand cream will hydrate, soothe and lubricate your entire foot while also potentially softening your shoe. If possible, get off your feet and try to elevate them (it'll help the swelling go down). Or, if you're lucky, you might just go shoe shopping!