Heel Blister

Look here first for answers to common questions
Posts: 1
Joined: January 1st, 2008, 2:16 pm

Heel Blister

Post by bendbound » January 1st, 2008, 2:31 pm

This problem could be only mine. My preference is to row barefoot. (Don't get the same foot mobility with shoes.) But the heel brace on Model D digs in. Tried Moleskin but rolls off. Need something that grips so bare heel won't slip in and out, but is soft. Anyone have a solution? Thanks.

User avatar
Posts: 6714
Joined: March 16th, 2006, 3:28 pm
Location: A small cave in deepest darkest Basingstoke, UK

Post by Citroen » January 1st, 2008, 3:22 pm

User avatar
Half Marathon Poster
Posts: 3797
Joined: March 16th, 2006, 1:13 pm
Location: California Central Coast

Post by johnlvs2run » January 1st, 2008, 3:38 pm

I always row barefoot and no problems at all.

The edges of the heel straps on the model D are quite sharp and will slice right into your heels.

You can use some emery paper or sandpaper to smooth them.
Then there will be no more issues of the edges slicing into your heels.

I wouldn't use any other straps on your heels.

The model D straps are the best once you've smoothed off the edges.
74 5'8 155
age 70+ world record pace per weight percentages
bikeerg: 1k 83.5 / 4k 85.2 / 30' 89.1 / 60' 89.2 / 40k 89.3
my training log

Bob S.
Marathon Poster
Posts: 5142
Joined: March 16th, 2006, 12:00 pm

Re: Heel Blister

Post by Bob S. » January 1st, 2008, 3:43 pm

bendbound wrote:This problem could be only mine. My preference is to row barefoot. (Don't get the same foot mobility with shoes.) But the heel brace on Model D digs in. Tried Moleskin but rolls off. Need something that grips so bare heel won't slip in and out, but is soft. Anyone have a solution? Thanks.

No, I am not kidding. In the 40s, the days of wooden shells and (rusty) iron riggers, socks were the standard wear. Having said that, I'll back off and admit that the darn Model D heel straps were wearing my socks out at the back of the heel. I switched to wearing thin soled slippers with the socks, so now there are holes in the backs of the heels of the slippers. On my old model B there was no problem. the wooden blocks at the bottoms of the foot boards did not cause any wear or blisters.

On another item. the top straps can be a problem for bare feet. I forget whether or not it was the B or the D, but I got cut on the tops of my feet during a long piece. I rarely use the straps nowadays, so I occasionally row without shoes or socks (but not in winter).

User avatar
6k Poster
Posts: 601
Joined: April 3rd, 2006, 1:08 pm

Post by c2jonw » January 2nd, 2008, 9:01 am

Not sure of the vintage of your D, but there are two versions of the flex foot. The early one is relatively stiff, has some sharp edges that can be hard on the heels, does not allow heel movement side-to-side and is black in color. This was used on Model C and early Model D. Later Ds and all Model E use a revised flex foot that is grey, more flexible, allows heel movement to the side and has much softer edges for us shoeless rowers. Note that the new flex feet can be retrofitted to older machines. C2JonW
69 year old living in Waterbury Center, Vermont, USA
Concept2 employee since 1980! and what a long, strange trip it's been......and retired from C2 in October 2018!

User avatar
Posts: 21
Joined: April 8th, 2008, 7:37 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ USA

Post by randyharris » April 16th, 2008, 5:25 pm

I have the Model D newer grey flex foot but it still hurts my feet barefoot. I'm pretty new to rowing, and after 20,000 meters this weekend in my running shoes I knew I had to find a better setup for my feet.

When I bought the Model D I bought a seat pad that I've never used, so I popped out the two cut out holes in the seat pad and stuck them to the heel area of the flex foot, in addition to having the padding where my heel goes I'm also going to wear some dual layer running socks, they're not cotton but some synthetic.

I'm giving my heels a few days to rest, and doing the elliptical instead, but hopefully the combo of pads on the heels and the dual layer socks will allow me to row comfortably without shoes.

Posts: 18
Joined: January 23rd, 2008, 7:38 pm

Post by urowgirl » April 17th, 2008, 11:57 am

Since getting my new D, I have tried various things to cushion my heel. I, too, row shoe-less and strap-less, but have found out the hard that heel blisters HURT!!

My latest solution consist of folded soft material (actually old kids clothes that were in the rag box) that lies inside the heel area of the flex foot. I surround the area and tuck it in at the bottom and than over the top. Next I have cut a long rectangle of slip grip (the kind of stuff you put on the bottom of a shelf so things don't slip; I got my roll at the dollar store) and that goes from the top of the heel area all the way to the toes. The idea is that my heel is now cushioned (from the cloth) and doesn't rub up and down on the heel (because of the slip grip.)

Hope it helps.

User avatar
Posts: 21
Joined: April 8th, 2008, 7:37 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ USA

Post by randyharris » April 21st, 2008, 2:52 am

I'm very happy to report that my new setup was wonderful!

I stuck the two cutouts from the seat pad onto the flex foot where my heel rests against it, the combination of that and dual layer socks made this the most comfortable rowing experience for my feet yet. :)

Row on.

Posts: 32
Joined: May 12th, 2006, 9:31 pm

Post by shu246 » February 25th, 2009, 9:58 am

The original plain wood footplates and wood slat heel rest on my Model B chafed mercilessly! I retrofitted the set of flex footplates onto the machine, making it similar to the Model C,D,etc. Major improvement.

I keep a set of old, soft, loosely tied shoes in place on the footplates. Sit on machine, slip stockinged feet into shoes, row. Ankles slip easily in and out of shoes during the stroke cycle. No chafe at all.

500m Poster
Posts: 61
Joined: March 16th, 2006, 2:41 pm

Post by rlholtz » February 26th, 2009, 4:08 pm

I still use the wooden footplates on my B and row barefoot. Just put a dab of vaseline on the part where your heel rubs and you'll never have a problem with blisters.

Posts: 6
Joined: June 19th, 2010, 9:06 pm

Re: Heel Blister

Post by jodycwilliams » June 22nd, 2010, 10:44 pm

Another switch I had to make recently. Went from normal old socks to Under Armor Heatware socks. No more blisters. In fact, they are amazingly comfortable, stop blisters, and keep my feet much cooler.

6k Poster
Posts: 823
Joined: December 13th, 2006, 8:20 pm
Location: Bremerton, WA

Re: Heel Blister

Post by Cyclist2 » June 24th, 2010, 12:17 am

Just like gloves or no gloves, seat pads or not discussions, the wide range of ailments and solutions on footstretchers is amusing. I did just the opposite of shu246 - I replaced the Flexfoot on my model C with wooden foot plates like my B! I put some of that stick-on non-skid stuff for stairs on the plates under the balls of my feet so that my feet don't slide down during the recovery. The little wooden stop at the bottom is very smooth after years of use. I do wear lightweight canvas shoes, however (but still need padding in the heels with the Flexfoot). Obviously, there is no one solution, so experiment away! Oh, and have fun!
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

2k Poster
Posts: 288
Joined: October 21st, 2010, 12:43 am

Re: Heel Blister

Post by luckylindy » October 28th, 2010, 2:05 pm

I had a pretty nasty blister after my first week of rowing, and going shoeless with socks didn't seem to work last night ... so I pulled out the big guns today:


Oh yeah, blisters have nothing on the fuzzy gorilla slippers. No joke, they seriously worked. I wore socks as well though ... I figured my wife wouldn't be terribly happy if I got her favorite slippers all sweaty.
6'1" (185cm), 196 lbs (89kg)
LP: 1:18 100m: 17.3 500m: 1:29 1000m: 3:26 5k: 18:58 10k: 39:45

Posts: 5
Joined: August 14th, 2011, 1:20 am

Re: Heel Blister

Post by bpenn » August 25th, 2011, 5:20 pm

Thought I'd add another data point. I took some old socks and wrapped the heel bar a couple times. Has worked wonderfully and allows me to row barefoot with no heel blisters. I leave the nylong strap somewhat loose so it doesnt dig into the top of my foot at the catch....but I over compress I think, so I'm way up on the balls of my feet.