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Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu

Training in Thailand - Blisters & Torn Skin: the Foot Issue

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Depending on where you train, the floors of gyms can range anywhere from really nice mats everywhere to absolutely no mats anywhere. The canvas of the ring can tear up your feet due to the heat and humidity (you'll see trainers watering the ring for this reason), the concrete floors can give you some intense blisters, and sometimes the only way to not slip from your own dripping sweat is to have a strip of carpet pulled up near the bag... which also tears up your feet.

For the first two years of training in Thailand I was always dealing with the bottoms of my feet getting blisters and then tearing open. Now I still get these slices occasionally, but it's more rare and it heals quickly.


1) toughen up your feet before you get here; walk around barefoot and build callouses. We wear shoes ALL THE TIME in the west and our feet are sissies for it. 

2) when you get these blisters, keep your feet clean and put Vaseline or coconut oil on them before you go to sleep at night (wear socks if you can handle the heat while you sleep) to keep the skin softer. Tough skin that's already torn will tear more.

3) use bandaids and tape to fabricate some kind of buffer

4) eventually you'll have some blisters bad enough you have to wear shoes in training and look like a total goober

5) as you're getting used to the floors of your gym you can use some kind of slipper in an on-again-off-again rotation to build up the tolerance of your feet. I used ballet slippers during my first year, which helped when I already had blisters but I was too embarrassed to wear frequently enough to avoid the blisters all together. These "half toe ankle yoga grip" socks are a better option than the ballet slippers and probably better than socks due to the grips on the bottoms. If those barefoot running shoes are still a thing you can try those as well. Different price tag.

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Thanks for this - I've just ordered a pair from Amazon!

Not that I'm going to Thailand (unless Santa decides to be super-nice) but I do taekwondo in a hall with a really horrible floor and my big toes are suffering, which then makes doing Muay Thai painful. I go barefoot a lot at home, but it just isn't enough!

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