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Whether you just couldn’t wait to wear your new shoes before breaking them in – or you’re running your first marathon. The answer is: Paper tape.

You know, the medical tape sold in drugstores to hold on gauze? It’s thin and flimsy, but it can prevent blisters. In fact, it works better than powders, antiperspirants, lubricants, Band-Aids or adhesive pads. That’s according to ER physician Dr. Grant Lipman, who also treats endurance athletes who run 25 to 50 miles a day in every kind of climate you can think of.

Dr. Lipman and his colleagues tested paper tape as a method of blister prevention on over 120 runners participating in an ultra-marathon event through the Gobi Desert. They put tape on just one of each runner’s feet.

After the race, only 20% of the runners’ feet that had been taped had blisters. But 81% of the feet that hadn’t been taped were blistered.

So if you hate blisters, get some paper tape. If it works for ultra-marathoners, it’ll work for you.

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