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How to Banish, or treat Blisters / Roller Derby Style. 

Anyone who's ever bought a new pair of skates - from fresh meat skaters, to seasoned roller derby skaters changing skates or boots - know how much a blister can hurt. A bad blister, in a reoccurring spot, can you put you out of action for a game.  Narsty and Ace Vegas from Better Bearings have been there - and here, Narsty shares a few tips to avoid, cure and work with blisters.

First and Foremost, what is a blister?

Blisters are caused from friction against the foot with an object (ie, skate boot).  

The outer layers of skin rub together, separate and fill with fluid.

Blisters can be caused by poorly fitted boots (or really rigid boots) to wet feet caused by non-absorbent socks.

Continuing to let blisters go untreated can cause real infections and ongoing hassles.

Be Proactive

Get the right roller derby skates - no really!  You're going to get new skates - but they feel pretty tight - then they're probs the right size!  Your toe should be right against the tip of the boot and they should fit snug - not toe-binding tight - but tight. Take the advice of a specialist to fit them, as they need to understand heaps of variables in fitting the right pair of skates for you (not your bestie).  They should ask questions around your experience, where you skate (surfaces), how much you weigh, ad infinitum.  Think about it, you need your skate to be reactive, so if your skate is nice and close to your foot, theres more chance it will be faster to do what you ask of it.

Before you take your skates out for a roll, pre-tape likely spots for blisters (see below).

Put a Sock on it ... or two!

One of the quickest ways to stretch your boot (and potentially avoid blisters) is to double up with two pairs of socks.

While the leather is wet from your sweat, it will stretch and with two pair of socks, you will need to stretch them for less time.

Choose the right socks, socks that will soak your sweat up - roller derby takes heaps of energy - you'll sweat - wear absorbent socks.


Pre-tape on the back of your ankle (or spots where you're likely to blister).

Don't just put a bandaid on it - tape from the lower part of your heel, to the top of your skate boot (and a bit past)

First, use pre-tape (so you don't take layers of your skin off) - ie Noba White Pre-Tape.

Over the top, use Sports Kinesiology Muscles Tape - the skin colored type.

Don't be stingy, tape all of the area potentially to be affected, and use enough tape. Don't wrap the tape around and round your ankle, as it will restrict movement.

Bum - I got a Blister

Sometimes, it doesn't matter how proactive we are at preventing blisters, we just get them.

Here's some advice ... if a blister isn't too painful and isn't preventing you from walking, then it's best to keep it intact (that is swollen, and full of fluid) for as long as possible. 

A blister is formed, as your body's way of healing itself, so for as long as possible, avoid popping it. 

If you have to pop a blister - do so using sterile equipment and let it breath for as long as possible, without bandaging it.

You have to go to training and you have a blister ... heres a little trick I learnt from two former team-mates - Penergy and Juke Nukem.

Cut a section of condom out (a bit larger than the whole circumference of the blister) and place it directly over the top of the blister, it acts as a second skin.  Then, as above, bandage it.  Think im fooling you - this shit may be bananas - but damn it works!

Hope this blog has been helpful?  We'd love you to share your tried-and-true methods for preventing blisters? Share in the comments below, or get in touch with us at

Happy Rolling

Narsty 999