When Blisters became Callouses (AKA The Importance of Good Running Socks.)

When I first took up running in China I had little clue to what I was doing. Not saying I have much more clue now, but at least I’m getting better at avoiding injuries or blisters.

In my first 2 weeks of ‘proper’ running training (i.e. running everyday) I encountered a new problem; blisters on the arches of my feet.

They caused me pain, rubbed on socks and after lancing them to release the goo my feet had this strange rough patch on skin I had formerly never through much about before. I didn’t know how to get rid of them and worse I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong. I wasn’t sure if it was my shoes, my technique (for what it was) or just the fact it was a new repetitive action my body wasn’t used to.

I did the most logical thing I could think of. I ran through them.

Every day I went back out there, maybe with 2 pairs of socks on instead of 1, and went back at it. The foot pain only lasted a few minutes and at least if I felt it there I could say that it was because I was exercising. Weeks past and the hard skin formed, the pain lessened but the damage was done, the scar tissue was setting in. I didn’t even care.

While on Pinterest I read up on how to avoid blisters for the future. Socks! I needed better socks.

I changed trainers to ones with a lower instep and that particular section didn’t rub anymore, but if my feet got sweaty or wet (running through puddles etc) then my feet would rub and blisters form. I hadn’t even thought about it. Socks were socks in my book, but I was mistaken.

On my next trip to Guangzhou I made a point of buying socks. I went to Decathlon, which seems popular in China and stocks (ahem) ‘Western Sizes’.

Who knew socks were this complex?


I bought some generic ‘sports socks’, ‘tube socks’ or whatever they are called and also tried out these; Kiprun Intensive Socks. They have more support round the middle section, which was giving me bother. I’ve ran in them plenty now and they are much better than the thin cottony efforts I was using before. They seem to absorb sweat (yum) and the extra elastic means they don’t move around as much, something I wasn’t even aware of until I tried better socks.

My advice to you, dear reader, is that if you want to be able to keep running without pesky blisters then invest in not just the shoes but the socks to go with them. The skin on your feet is delicate and it’s not worth the pain if it can be avoided so easily.

My own feet have since healed, the hard skin has gone but the areas the blisters were are still scarred, a noticeable difference from the rest of my foot. In truth, I don’t even mind. The red patches remind me that everyone can learn from their mistakes and not give up.

You can do it. 😉



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