Blisters suck. I still remember walking around a beautiful garden in South Africa, gritting my teeth because the sides of my toes were swelling and rubbing in my (cute but very uncomfortable) sandals.
The founder of BlistWool has a more intense story. After breaking her leg in two places and spending months healing, she became prone to horrible blisters, even on short walks with her dog. On a trip to New Zealand, she discovered the method of using sheep’s wool to prevent blisters. Upon returning to Canada, she sourced wool, shared it with her friends and launched BlistWool.
BlistWool uses 100 per cent Canadian wool grown by sheep in the western and prairie provinces. The wool is naturally washed and processed (without the use of harmful chemicals!) in Alberta. Rather than using fine Merino wool, BlistWool has the qualities of fleece that allow it to bind to your sock and stay in place on long hikes when your boots might otherwise rub. To compare, Merino is 18 to 21 microns, BlistWool is 22 to 28 microns, and a human hair is 70 to 100 microns.
One 0.5-ounce package costs about $12. I decided to test a little with my new hiking boots that were rubbing my second toe on my right foot.
The instructions on the side of the box leave a lot to the imagination, but a quick look on the website showed me how to use it. Since I was only experiencing discomfort on one toe, I opted to wrap the wool around that "hot spot" exclusively, rather than threading it through all my toes.
It was easy to pull off a piece of the wool, though it kept breaking into smaller sections when I tried to “tease” or stretch it. When I first wrapped it around my toe, it seemed like an excessive amount of puffiness—but that quickly eased when I pulled on my Smartwool sock, slipped my foot into my boot and started hiking.
After a short trek, I pulled off my sock to see the wool was still securely around my toe, and it had compressed a bit. Perhaps I simply have the wrong size of boots or socks, or I didn’t wrap my toe securely enough, because I still felt discomfort. However, I was happy to see a blister had not started to form. The instructions say to toss out the wool; though I must admit, I was hoping it would be reusable (it is compostable).
I could see this product working for boots that are too big rather than too tight, especially in places like the heel and the top of the foot. It might also offer relief for long-distance hikers, trail runners or marathon runners. (Follow these tips for more ways to prevent blisters.)
Overall, it's great to have an all-natural option made in Canada that can replace plastic blister pads and bandages. I’ll definitely be trying BlistWool again—as the “how to” page mentions, it takes a few tries to get it right.
Disclaimer: Product was supplied in exchange for an online review.