This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.
Getting a new pair of shoes has always been a bittersweet occasion for me. Once the joy of finding that perfect pair—and the tiny, happy rush of the purchase—has worn off, I’m left to grapple with the comfort conundrum: those awful initial wears before your new shoes are broken in (or is it your feet that need breaking in?). Whether it’s the highest heels or the lowest flats, I’ve yet to find a pair that doesn’t literally rub me the wrong way, from the common heel blister, to the painful chafing on the tops of my toes, to those more unexpected issues like booties that bite at the ankle.
That all changed after I hobbled into the office after a full day of running around New York City to different Fashion Week shows—in heels, of course (it’s a hazard of the job). Our kind associate fashion editor, Flavia Nunez, took pity on my poor feet, dug into her bag, and produced a small miracle.
A seasoned marathon runner, Flavia knows a thing or two about blisters (and shoes) and, thankfully, how to prevent and treat them. The product she handed over is from a brand called Compeed, that, unlike other bandage companies, focuses almost exclusively on blisters. At $9 for a pack of six, they’re a little more expensive than a traditional pack of self-adhesive strips, but hear me out—they’re well worth it. According to their website, the products “use hyrdrocolloid technology that fits like a second skin and stays on all day long.” They’re not kidding. The blister cushions certainly do feel like a second skin, are waterproof, adhere smoothly, do not budge, roll, or wrinkle, and will stay on for days, until you pull them off yourself. You’d probably spend the same amount on bandages that wind up needing to be constantly replaced.
I now keep the conveniently-sized packs in my purse at all times. I’ll pop one on at the first sign of chafing or rubbing, but the tiny pads also prevent blisters from happening in the first place—and instantly make the shoe in question wearable. Taking more unorthodox measures, I’ve also used the larger size on the balls of my feet for shoes that don’t have enough padding, put on a double layer to cushion an already-existing blister (immediate relief), and cut the cushions to size to fit an oddly shaped contour or wrap more neatly around a tormented toe.
They can be a little tricky to find in stores, but luckily we have Amazon for that—and yes, they are qualify for Prime.