the reward of a long run or hike is a big, fat blister. Most are minor, but some can be painful and even become infected. Blisters form as a result of friction, when the top layers of the skin separate from the bottom layer and the space fills with fluid. A common cause is ill-fitting shoes; moist and hot skin increases susceptibility. To stop a blister before it develops, try to prevent rubbing of the skin against the shoe or at least take action as soon as you feel a ‘hot spot’. Make sure your shoes are not too tight or loose. When buying hiking shoes or boots, the store may have a sloped surface where you can test the fit. Padded insoles or arch supports may help prevent blisters caused by uneven pressure on your feet. Wear socks made from synthetics that wick away sweat – that is, move the moisture away from your skin. They should be seamless and snug enough so they move with your feet and don’t bunch up. If your feet tend to sweat a lot, try applying an anti-perspirant, especially one marketed for excessive sweating.