One of the most common foot ailments of skiers and hikers are blisters. Half the problem stems from imperfectly fitting shoes or boots. The other half from the manner in which blisters form.
The common solution, one I’m adamantly opposed to, is to apply duct tape over the existing blister, or as prevention over a known zone of trouble. Duct tape has to be one of the stooopidest solutions to this problem I’ve ever encountered.
The cure is rather simple: eliminate or reduce the friction. Putting Duct Tape over a potential blister zone only increases the friction by increasing the contact with the epidermus via the glue on the tape. The slick outer surface of the tape has been known to occasionally help, but this is not a reliable condition. Even if duct tape does work by providing a slippery surface over your skin there are far better ways to achieve the same thing.
One method is to apply a patch of slippery material to the inside of the footwear causing the blister (not the foot). This is what Engo patches do. I haven’t used them myself, but have no doubt that they do what they say they do. However they only reduce the friction between your sock and footwear, not between your socks and skin! Thus, this is only half a solution and the least effective half at that.There is a simpler solution. Create a slippery barrier between your skin and socks. Socks are typically the medium that transmits the shear force to your skin, causing the blister. One way is to apply talcum powder to your feet before putting your socks on. For a short period of time, or for well ventilated shoes this might work. However, with boots the talcum will inevitably soak up sweat, transforming from a lubricant to a friction enhancing material. A simpler, more reliable solution is to wear a pair of knee-high nylons next to your skin, then slip your socks over those. I recommended this solution to friends when skiing the Sierra High Route. They were grateful for the tip, and the extra pair of knee-highs I brought for them.
For severe, recurring blister problems you should consider a three pronged approach. First, get new shoes or boots, or have them adjusted so they conform more closely to your foots unique anatomical shape. Secondly, wear knee-high nylons under your socks. And if those two don’t completely eliminate the problem, add a pair of ENGO patches.
Freedom from Friction