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How to Avoid Hot Feet, Skin Damage and Chafing When Running

With the hot weather and summer coming up, the heat will affect the chafing especially on our feet when running.

We might experience hot feet or a burning sensation during a run. Due to the heat and humidity our feet will naturally heat up as we run, and this overheating may cause problems, interfering with our runs.

What is a Hotspot

Running-induced Hotspots refer to feelings of slight discomfort or pain at the bottom of the feet, or around our toes, especially after running for a long distance.

It is actually defined as a pre-blister state on the skin in most cases.

Think of hotpots as our body’s way of warning that our skin is getting stretched more than it should and that we should protect our feet skin.

Symptoms of Hotspot

If we notice a skin area on our foot getting reddish or painful during a run, it is likely a Hotspot. The skin around that affected area may seem warm and saggy.

Often symptoms of Hotspots occur on the ball of the foot, big toe, and heel.

Although we might feel that we can run through it, Hotspots can only worsen if left ignored. Sooner or later, it will force us to alter our gait or stride and affect other running issues.

The Causes of Hotspots During Running

Running-induced Hotspots serve as a warning sign. They’re basically a blister in the making.

Blisters caused by Hotspots tend to be more painful and might affect us for a few days.

Runners’ Hotspots tend to include the ball of the foot, the Achilles tendon, and the base of the big toe, with also most bunions form.

What Causes Hotspots in Our Feet While Running.

1. Improper Running Shoes

Running shoes that don’t fit well, especially when too tight, will often cause Hotspots, especially if we run in them for a long distance and time.

This is caused by the continuous friction between the foot and shoes as they’re stuck tougher with little space to breathe. A narrow tox box can irritate the big toe, leading to a Hotspot.


The most obvious way to prevent, or reduce the risk of a Hotspot is by wearing proper running shoes.

As a rule, the running shoes should feel comfortable. That means that they should feature structural support, have proper cushioning, and provide optimum impact absorption, and high-quality fabric.

Runners with a flat foot and or tend to pronate excessively, should consider running shoes with a large toe box.

This should limit the breaking down of the skin caused by undue friction from the decrease in range of motion in the big toe. On the opposite, runners with narrow feet, if running with large toe box type of shoes will cause more chafing and Hotspots issues.

2. Improper Tying

Even if we’re using the ideal running shoes for our feet and gait, we can still form a Hotspot if we do not lace our shoes properly.

Lacing running shoes too tightly can limit blood circulation or even irritate the top of our feet, or lacing them too loose can cause heel slippage and increase friction inside of the shoe.


The shoe should properly envelop our heel, ankle, and arch after tying them. This lowers the risk that the shoes will create chafing and friction with our foot.

We should avoid lacing up our running shoes too tightly since this could hinder blood circulation. We should be able to slide our finger under the knot. If we can’t, then it’s too tight.

Remember that our feet will swell as we run long-distance, and we might need to loosen up our laces mid-run in some cases.

3. Moisture Inside of Our Shoe

Running long-distances can sooner or later build up a sweat in our feet, creating a moist environment inside of our shoes. Our foot skin can become more to Hotspot when it’s wet in the presence of friction.

When this occurs, our shoes, socks, and feet begin rubbing against each other, resulting in hotspots.


Having proper socks can help us decrease the amount of friction inside of the shoe.

The right pair of socks can help limit friction, keep our feet moisture-free, and regulate the temperature inside of our shoes.

We need to make sure that our socks are not too thick and that they fit properly. This helps prevent them from wrinkling, which can cause rubbing.

We should avoid cotton socks as these soak up all the moisture and keep our feet wet, which is something to avoid for running.

4. Bad Running Technique

Our running form might need some improvement.

Inefficient stride or too much heel striking can place excessive strain on our feet, forcing the skin to overstretch. It can contribute to Hotspot formation.


Although there’s no way of avoiding friction inside the shoes while running, improper technique can increase the amount of this friction, and increase the risk of Hotspots.

We should consider performing a running gait analysis to evaluate and fix our running form.

5. Structure

Runners who have high arches, or hollow feet, are more vulnerable to Hotspots than those with normal feet form.

High arched feet tend to be very flexible, which forces the skin on the bottom to stretch too much. When this happens, a lot of pressure is being put on the arch, contributing to a Hotspot.

Also, the opposite foot version, like having flat feet can also make us prone to the Hotspot.


We should consult a physical therapist and ask them for proactive treatment options that follows our running lifestyle.

Using orthotics is a good option. We can find a variety of orthotics on the market that can provide our arches with needed support and structure. These are typically made in the form of insoles.

If we have flat feet, we should consider getting a running shoe with a larger toe box. It will help prevent our skin from breaking down due to undue friction from a limited range of motion in the big toe.

6. Decrease Friction & Anti-Chafing

Another way to reduce friction inside our shoes is to lubricate our feet.

I recommend an anti-blister or anti-chafing product such as Gurney Goo (my favourite) or Body Glide. These good anti-chafing products should also be used on different sections of our body- underarm, chest, inner thighs etc.

A slippery foot with anti-chafing will have less risk of getting irritated or damaged.

We can also apply blister plasters or zinc oxide tapes to blister prone areas in our feet, especially if we have some toe injuries or damage.

Protect Your Feet And Skin While Running, Enjoy Not Feeling Intense Chafing and Hotspots, Enjoy a Great Run!


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