How To Avoid Blisters When Kayaking (Hint: Don’t Overdo It)

The last thing you want to worry about is a blister when you’re out on the water. But if you don’t take the proper precautions, blisters can quickly ruin your kayaking trip. 

In this blog post, I’ll share some of my top tips for avoiding blisters when kayaking. 

Following these simple tips, you can focus on enjoying your time on the water instead of nursing a painful injury.

Key Takeaways

  • Wear shoes that fit snugly and cover the entire foot.
  • Wear socks that are made of moisture-wicking material.
  • Apply a lubricant to areas of the foot that are prone to blisters.
  • Break in your shoes before kayaking.
  • Be mindful of how your feet are positioned while kayaking.
How To Avoid Blisters When Kayaking
How To Avoid Blisters When Kayaking

Here’s The Answer To How To Avoid Blisters When Kayaking

As a beginner kayaker, blisters are one of the most common problems you will face. Blisters are caused by friction and usually form in areas of repetitive rubbing.

The most common place for blisters when kayaking is on the hands, specifically between the thumb and first finger, known as the “paddler’s thumb.” There are a few ways to avoid getting blisters when kayaking. 

One way to avoid getting blisters is to use paddling gloves. Paddling gloves help reduce friction by providing a barrier between your hand and the paddle shaft. They also help keep your hands dry, which will further reduce friction.

Paddling gloves come in a variety of materials, including neoprene and Lycra. If you use paddling gloves, ensure they fit snugly so they don’t slip while you’re paddling. 

Another way to avoid getting blisters is to properly grip the paddle shaft. Many beginners hold the paddle with a death grip, which can cause friction and hotspots that lead to blisters.

A loose grip is more effective for paddling and will reduce your risk of developing blisters. To find the right grip, hold the paddle shaft in your dominant hand with your fingers wrapped around it loosely.

If a blister does appear, there are a few things you can do to treat it so it doesn’t become too painful or interfere with your ability to paddle effectively.

Wear Kayaking Gloves

Wear Kayaking Gloves
Wear Kayaking Gloves

It’s not just your hands that can get blisters. The same is true for other parts of your body, too. You may have heard harrowing tales from friends who attempted to kayak without gloves and suffered from chapped thighs or blistering palms.

If you don’t like wearing gloves while kayaking because they seem awkward or excessively thick, think about this: The alternative is considerably less pleasant.

Blisters can make it difficult to steer your boat and even harder to grip the paddle tightly enough so that it doesn’t slip out of your hand during a sudden gust of wind.

Apply Lubricant To Areas Susceptible To Blisters

  • Use a water-based lubricant.
  • Apply the lubricant to areas where your skin is rubbing against itself. This helps prevent blisters from forming.
  • Select a high-quality product, one designed for this purpose. You don’t want to apply the same petroleum-based product you use on your car engine, or your chain saw to your feet because it will not have the desired effect and could even lead to more blisters.

Wear Shoes That Fit Snugly

Wear Shoes That Fit Snugly
Wear Shoes That Fit Snugly

There are two considerations for finding the right shoe: comfort and fit. If your shoes aren’t comfortable, you won’t enjoy paddling.

This means you won’t want to do it as much or as often—and at that point, it becomes a vicious cycle where you’re too occupied with life to go out on the lake and work out.

Once you have discovered a pair of shoes that fits comfortably but snugly (this varies from person to person), make sure they’re fitted properly so they don’t rub against your feet while paddling.

When purchasing shoes in your size range, a good rule of thumb is to go with the sizes if the retailer has lots of stock available.

Break In Your Kayaking Shoes Before Using Them

The best way to break in your kayaking shoes is by wearing them as much as possible, including around the house.

If you cannot wear them for long periods, then an alternative method would be to put on a pair of thick socks and walk around the house with the kayaking shoes on until they’re broken in.

Depending on how frequently you use and wet your kayak shoes, this could take a few days or even weeks.

You should also ensure that whatever footwear you choose has good traction on slippery surfaces like rocks or wet rocks and logs because one slip could be all it takes to cause injury while paddling.

Wear Socks That Wick Away Moisture

Wear Socks That Wick Away Moisture
Wear Socks That Wick Away Moisture

When your feet start to get hot, and you’ve already tried everything else, it’s time to go sockless and let your toes breathe.

You’ll probably want to wear fresh socks after taking off the old ones.

If you’re not feeling too grossed out by the idea of wearing a foot-shaped sock liner, I highly recommend that route. It’s not technically necessary, but it might help keep your feet dryer longer and prevent blisters from forming in the first place if they are prone to getting wet easily (i.e., most people).

Otherwise, just use some powder in your socks before putting them back on—this will absorb excess moisture and prevent rubbing between sweaty toes during exercise.

Inspect Your Kayaking Equipment Regularly

Inspect your kayaking equipment regularly. If a piece of your gear is in rough shape, replace it before you put yourself in danger.

Worn straps or frayed bits can come loose while you’re on the water and cause an accident, not to mention that they may be more likely to break under pressure. Also, keep an eye on screws: if one is loose, it might fly off while you’re out there.

The integrity of your boat’s hull is another thing to check regularly. Most inflatable kayaks are designed with this principle in mind; however, some less-expensive models have been known to have weak spots or puncture easily during use.

If this happens with yours (it should be obvious), do not continue using the boat until an expert has repaired it—the consequences could be fatal.

What Are Some Home Remedies For Preventing Blisters?

What Are Some Home Remedies For Preventing Blisters
What Are Some Home Remedies For Preventing Blisters
  • A thin layer of Vaseline on the area where blisters are likely to form can help prevent them from forming.
  • Covering the affected area with a bandage can also help keep moisture from entering the affected area and causing blisters.
  • Wearing socks that wick away moisture can help prevent blistering as well. These types of socks come in different weights, so choose one that suits your needs best!
  • Shoes that fit snugly will prevent movement inside them, which could cause blisters or other problems later down the road (or right now).
  • Breaking in kayaking shoes before using them is another good way to avoid getting blisters when kayaking because it allows you to get used to wearing them while doing other activities like cycling or running around town on errands!

How Can You Treat Blisters Once They Occur?

If you’ve got a blister, don’t worry. It’s not going to ruin your day of kayaking—but it can be an annoyance and cause some pain if left untreated.

The first step is to clean the affected area with soap and water, rinse with cool water, and dry completely. Next, apply antibiotic ointment to the blister (not too much).

Cover the affected area with a bandage or sterile gauze pad large enough to cover the entire blister surface area and secure it with tape or adhesive bandages.

Make sure you’re putting clean hands into your kayak every time you take off or put on your life jacket.

If your blister is larger than about 1/4 inch or so in diameter or has popped out of its original position (it will look like a small dome), see a doctor immediately—you may need stitches.

Should You Popped A Blister, Now What?

If your blister does pop, don’t be tempted to put anything back on it. Your skin needs as much air as possible to heal. You can apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage or dressing if you need to, but otherwise, leave it uncovered.

Suppose you get blisters while kayaking, follow these tips and keep them clean until they heal. You should also avoid popping the blisters (unless they’re super painful).

See a doctor if you have any doubt about whether or not they are infected.


Blisters can ruin a good day of kayaking, but there are some things you can do to avoid them. Make sure your feet are dry before getting in the kayak. 

Wear shoes that fit well and provide good support. Apply a barrier cream to areas that are prone to blisters. Finally, take care of any blisters that do occur immediately.

Following these tips can help prevent blisters from ruining your next kayaking adventure. And if you do get a blister, be sure to take care of it right away, so it doesn’t become a bigger problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Blisters, And Why Do They Occur?

Blisters are sore, with red areas on the skin. They usually form when water and air seep into the skin and cause friction.

What can I do to reduce the risk of developing blisters when kayaking?

1. Make sure your feet are dry before kayaking.
2. Wear comfortable and supportive shoes.
3. Apply a barrier cream to areas that may be prone to blisters, like the back of your ankle or around the ball of your foot, where water can easily pool.

How do I prevent blisters from forming when kayaking?

Follow these tips to reduce the risk of blisters forming:
-Make sure your feet are dry before kayaking.
-Wear comfortable shoes that will provide good support and fit well.
-Apply a barrier cream to sensitive areas on your skin, like around the ankles or ball of your foot, where water can easily pool.

What are some common causes of blisters when kayaking?

-Wearing the wrong shoes.
-Water getting inside the kayak on a hot day.
-Wrong way of paddling.

If you want to avoid blisters when kayaking, there are some simple tips and tricks you can follow! In this blog post, we’ll show you what to do (and what not to do) to keep your hands safe and blister-free.