Spenco Sports Blister Pads

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Finding something that provides blister relief or protection is akin to finding the pot at the end of the rainbow for blister-sufferers, which means most of us at one time or another.

We think the Sports Blister Pads from Spenco could be that pot filled with gold for many. You need nothing more than the pad itself -- other than a swab to clean the location you're applying it to make sure the pad sticks in case you're already mid-activity and sweaty. And these little gems are so tiny and thin that anyone can carry them at any time, be it while backpacking, running, biking, hiking or as a just-in-case in a glove compartment, purse or travel toiletry kit. Even our urban-bound tester in new shoes couldn't stop raving about the relief he experienced.

They stick on smoothly and are ultra-thin, offering no bulk or irritation, and you can leave them on for up to five days at a time to protect from dirt, bacteria and water. Then they come off without any ouch whatsoever. The soft hydrocolloid pad that goes against your skin keeps the area soft to prevent drying and cracking and to promote faster-healing. For the vain, the adhesive is transparent and the pad itself a light brown-ish beige. And for the allergic, it's 100 percent latex-free.

We particularly like the size choices: small (35 x 15 mm) is slight winged and designed for going around toes; medium (62 x 25 mm) is a small half moon that fits well on the sides of feet, for example; and large ovals (70 x 42) can fix up the back of a heel perfectly.

As with any blister pad or bandage, when you need them most is when your skin is its sweatiest or dirtiest. One tester used a couple in an ultra-running event and couldn't quite get the skin clean enough for long-term stick when a couple of pads were applied at mile 27 -- with 23 miles still to go. However, other runners have put them on pre-activity on healing areas or spots predisposed to blisters and had 100 percent success. We'd love to see alcohol swabs at the least included in the package or, even better, tincture of benzoin swabs, to ensure proper application and adhesion. That would make this item a truly perfect and one-stop solution for anybody's kit.

Nevertheless, even with this small criticism, these are hands-down the best blister solutions our team has used.

SNEWS® Applause Meter: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail: $5 (small, 8 pads to a box; medium, 6 pads; large, 4 pads)

For more information:www.spenco.com or 1-800-877-3626

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