Have you ever had a pair of shoes that looked so good that you just had to buy them, but are now languishing in your wardrobe because the straps dig in? Or they move about so much they give you blisters if you leave the car? Or a pair of old faithful shoes that have just stretched a little too much and no longer hold as they should?
Moleskin is a padded self-adhesive product, readily available, that can solve these issues for you. It can ensure that those sandals you fell in love with, or the Sale brogues that you thought would ‘wear in’ can come out and be worn. If you haven’t yet come across it, or used it, then be prepared to be very pleasantly surprised when you try it. It can be applied to the footwear, or the foot, and offers padding and protection so that the shoes do not rub – an issue particularly common on the heel or where straps cross the foot, especially at the sides.
If you are breaking in shoes this will ensure that the process is pain-free, equally if you have a well-loved pair that has started to rub, this is your solution. It’s invisible, and no one will be able to see that you are using moleskin to protect your feet, but your comfort levels will increase no end.
Let’s face it everyone has uniquely shaped feet, and they are never exactly symmetrical, often there is a noticeable difference in both the fit and the shoe wear because of the size difference between left and right. This is very common and often means that individuals struggle to find comfortable shoes that they are happy to wear, moleskin will even out the fitting and mean that one foot does not develop discomfort.
Moleskin comes in all shapes and sizes for different areas of application –large cut to size pads for larger areas, readily shaped pads for heels of shoes or tape, for those strappy sandals mentioned earlier, it even comes in a large roll for cutting down. Read the product description – some can be applied to either the foot or the shoe, some is recommended for application to the shoe.
The cut to size pads or rolls are ideal for larger areas or bigger shoes, the toe areas in heels and the tape is perfect for straps on any shoes. You will be able to see easily which product will work for your particular issue.
The tape is sold in a dispenser, it looks similar to a word correction tape, making it easily slipped into a purse and carried on a night out in case of necessity after too much dancing! The tape is perforated, so no need to carry scissors, and it can be discreetly added to any shoe to make the night last longer.
It’s important that you treat each foot, and therefore each shoe, separately. If it is only rubbing on the one foot – chances are that foot for you is slightly smaller, so only apply the moleskin in that shoe. If you duplicate the moleskin on the shoe that is currently giving your no problems at all then you will create one.
Moleskin can be bought online, at your local convenience store, or at your drugstore. I daresay it’s in the ‘I don’t need to look, that’s the feet section’ part that you have never really browsed, but it’s there and will revolutionise your footwear.
There are a number of both branded and unbranded alternatives on the market for you to choose from across different stockists. As it’s not a high-cost item it will pay you to try one, and if it doesn’t work for you then maybe try another brand. It’s is recommended that if your first experience is not positive you give it a second try, you may get a completely different result.
One common mistake is when cutting down a pad to protect a larger area – and usually this would be a heel in a flat enclosed shoe – is that the application of moleskin is cut too small. If there is an area of rubbing on the back of your heel that you are addressing, make sure that you cut the moleskin at least 0.5cm larger than the area of rub all the way around.
Another common mistake is to cut the moleskin into a square, like a plaster. Always cut a rounded shape to prevent any snagging or catching on the corners – at the very least round off all corners with sharp scissors.
Be careful to cut the pad to be applied off across the top of the shoe so there is no overhang to catch, and so that it is not visible. Always use sharp scissors to make sure that you get a defined edge.
Give yourself time to work with the moleskin and ensure that it is well stuck all around, especially at the edges of the pad, and it is smooth and wrinkle-free. As you start to walk in the shoe loose edges will raise, and then you will get movement in the protective pad which will cause issues. The moleskin adhesive is very strong, and you should be able to get a good bond which will not move at all as you walk. A little time and care will make sure that you get the maximum benefit from the product.
If you are applying the moleskin directly to the foot – and you can then wear your shoe barefoot or with socks – then the same advice is in place regarding size. Cut the moleskin slightly larger than the area of rub, to ensure good protection and that the edges are not in contact with sore skin.
When applying moleskin directly onto skin then always wash and dry the feet thoroughly before application so that the adhesive is able to get the optimum bond with the skin. Having ensured that the cut pad is sufficiently large to cover the area likely to rub take off the backing paper, just like a plaster, and apply to the skin being careful to completely cover any areas of concern. It is not a product for use over any areas of broken skin or blistering.