Blisters in Soccer [Complete Guide – Prevention and Treatment]

Have you ever heard of youth or amateur players getting blisters and can’t play soccer for some time? Of course, I have seen that often. While that used to be the case for professionals, it doesn’t happen anymore. It looks like they found out how to manage them and even play through them. While the root cause explanation can often be a bit hand wavy, the prevention and the treatment are so straight forward, that it’s a shame not to steal their methods. Let’s walk through the common causes and how to handle blisters in soccer.

What are blisters? Why do soccer players get them?

Blisters are areas of skin covered by a raised, fluid-filled bubble. Soccer players get them on their feet usually, caused by friction injury or trauma. Often referred to as chafing, it happens when there is rubbing of the skin, leading to irritation. Other blisters, such as hands or thigh blisters are not uncommon with soccer players, but they are not specific to soccer. Also, they are often related to overuse (weight-lifting or pull-ups, for example) or improper gear (too tight shorts or no gloves).

What are the root causes of blisters in soccer?

Wrong gear

The most common reasons of chafing is improper gear. Almost everybody have experienced some blisters when they buy new shoes and they spend some time adjusting. However, if this keeps happening and the blisters stay, then it’s not about time. The definition of insanity is keep trying the same thing that failed and expecting different outcome. So, instead of attempting to adjust your body to the gear, make the gear fit your body. If it’s the clothing – make sure it is not too tight or too loose, so it forces unnatural movements.

When it comes to cleats, make sure you understand the cleats that are good for you. Firstly, you have to understand what kind of feet you have – narrow, normal or wide. Secondly, you have to get the right size. Too small and too large can cause huge problems. In fact, the quality of the cleats matter less than the right size. So, if you are buying for your kid that grows super fast – get cheap cleats with the right fit, rather than expensive ones that are simply too big for them.

Wet gear or clothes

Even if you have the right gear, if they get wet while playing soccer in the rain, you won’t get far. In addition, to getting heavy and cold, they will likely cause you blisters. To prevent getting your feet wet, we recommend Sleef cleat covers. You can buy them straight from (use RONDOCOACH code at checkout for 25% off) or through Amazon.

We have reviewed various clothes and gear that we recommend and use for playing soccer in the rain and the snow. They are overlapping significantly, as the goal to stay warm and dry is the same, but there is some difference. Check them out if you are in for a gear refresh for the wet season.

Wrong physical movements

This is tricky and requires a bit of analysis. About a decade ago I broke my ankle (fractured fibula with ligament tear, but that’s just technical details) playing soccer, of course. Months later I recovered after physical therapy and everything else required. However, when I went back to playing soccer, it wasn’t the same. I didn’t feel completely free to do all the movements that I used to do. So, I started stopping short and not doing full turns. I felt like walking on eggshells. The result was not just playing worse than before, but also blisters! I started to put pressure on parts of my feet that I shouldn’t have, causing friction on my toes and my heel. It took time to relearn how to run and move again. It was crucial that I was aware of that and could correct it myself.

Most kids run naturally, but not all of them. For various reasons, some kids develop wrong muscle memory and run in harmful ways. They don’t lift their knees, or twist their ankles, or move their arms at all. We shouldn’t blame them for that, but help them instead. Small adjustments will go a long way over time. So point out the issue, show them the movement and ask them to repeat. Sooner or later they will likely correct and see a great improvement. If that doesn’t work, the player might need to go to a podiatrist.

How to prevent blisters in soccer

Well, sometimes the chafing is a bit too much. No worries, there is a simple solution for that, too. You will need to lubricate the area that has the potential for developing blisters. Obviously, you don’t need to do this just because you’ve seen others do it. However, if you have parts of your feet or thighs developing blisters, this is the way to go.

Wear things in!

As we said earlier, one of the reasons blisters show up is when there are new shoes or gear. It takes some time to get used to them. While I want to tell you there is a shortcut, there really isn’t. However, we can create a system that you should follow to minimize issues. It worked for me multiple times as I switched through various cleats over time. I usually try to have 48 hours between the steps, providing there are no issues.

  1. Go for a walk with the new gear! If you cannot walk with the gear, what makes you think you can run and sprint? Simple rule – if you are wearing cleats, walk on grass or at least turf. You don’t want to walk on concrete or asphalt. We say practice as you play, so this is a no-brainer.
  2. Go for a run! Don’t forget that there are movements and areas of impact that are not going to be the same between walking and running. The most common place that causes issues while running, but not walking, is the area just above the heel where the cleat ends. The ankle moves significantly more and often aggressively, compared to a simple walk.
  3. Practice with the new gear! I’ve seen players going straight to a game with new cleats. In addition to not having the right feel and misplacing passes and shots, you won’t feel comfortable. You want to feel everything fitting like a glove and not spend time trying to understand the new gear. The delta between winning and losing can be that small!
  4. Play the game! At this point, you are ready to go. This might mean that it took a week to get to the game. Hopefully, it was worth it!

How to treat blisters in soccer

Once you already have blisters, it’s important to treat them properly. Failure to do so will result in developing much bigger problems. You can get traumas or infections, which might require going to the doctor. Instead, these are the steps to treat blisters, as soon as they start to show up.

  1. Identify the area of the blister. Even if the current state is nothing more than redness and swelling, treat it immediately. There is no reason for the area to develop painful blisters.
  2. Clean the blisters. Of course, you will wash the area anyway, but it is important to pay attention and wash the area and keep it clean. Furthermore, dry it well to avoid any bacteria development.
  3. Apply lotion to help the area recover quickly. Since most of the damage is on the skin, that needs to be treated first.
  4. Apply a bandaid if needed to protect the direct force and cushion the impact. Obviously, limit activity, but you don’t want to be prevented from walking.


We have covered the common causes of blisters in soccer, ways to prevent them and how treat them if they have already occurred. This should give you a step-by-step guide to remedy any issues that you have run into. Soccer should be a safe activity that we enjoy and with the right gear (often with character) and treatment we will achieve that. Good luck and have fun playing soccer!