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Review & Impression: Engo Blister Prevention Patches, part 1 + 2

  • Thread starter Deleted member 67185
  • Start date
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
A couple of things to gently preface my post before we get started :)
  1. This post exceeds the 2000 word limit (take that as a warning :)). I will need to break up the review into two separate posts.
  2. This post and thread is an experiential review/report. It is NOT a study; it does not compare one cohort of users against another cohort in double-blinded protocols.
  3. I am hopeful that this thread will stay focused on Engo Blister Patches and not wander - as tempting as it may be to do so -, on a wide range of blister prevention techniques, beliefs, myths, opinions, and how-to's. I do not want to keep such discussions off of the Forum, but this thread is specific to Engo Blister Patches, so it will help if questions, observations, experiences, etc are directly related to the subject of this Thread and not get sidetracked.
  4. If someone has blister prevention topics or tips or questions not directly related to Engo Blister Patches, it would be a great addition to the Forum as a new and separate thread.
  5. This is just a heartfelt request, not an enforceable mandate, that I think will benefit Forum members in general. Each reader will decide what to do on their own. :)
___________________________________________________________________________________

Engo is a company which has created a line of friction-reducing products related to various health and safety concerns. One of these products are known as “Engo Blister Patches”. This is what I will be talking about in this posted review.

I will also note that there have been a few Forum members who have successfully used this product, are enthusiastic about the Patches, and who have also posted information about Engo Blister Patches on the Forum for all to read. I mention this so that Forum readers can also seek out those postings using the Search Engine.

Let me underscore the fact that I have no vested interest in any Engo products, including the Blister Patches. I have never been in contact with the company that manufactures the product, nor do I have any wholesale or retail or stock market, etc. connections which will earn me cash if someone purchases this product.

Conclusion and Bottom Line:

When applied properly, and as a part of one’s blister prevention strategy, Engo Blister Patches can be very effective at preventing or reducing the incidence of blisters. There are a few things to consider when purchasing Engo Blister Patches, including the permanence of installation, and varied experiences of this product’s usable longevity. Those concerns will be addressed.

Background

As I have mentioned in previous posted reviews, many Forum members are aware that I have been employed by various backpacking gear, footwear, and clothing manufacturers to test their products for quality assurance, usability, and the workability of modifications and prototypes. As a contracted gear tester, my reports only go to the company that has hired me for their internal use; I do not publish those reports for public consumption as reviews of those items, or to provide public recommendations. I make mention of this because as an experienced professional gear tester, I feel I have the skill set and objectivity to cut through Engo’s claims in order to examine the Blister Patches’ actual effectiveness at blister prevention.

Engo did not hire me to test their product. Nor did I inform Engo of my intentions to review their Blister Patch products. I purchased the Engo Blister Patches myself, from an online vendor.

Rationale and Motivation for the review

Blister prevention is a primary interest to Forum members, as it is to the general backpacking community. I wanted to know for myself if Engo Blister Prevention Patches effectively implements blister prevention. I also wanted to provide increased knowledge to Forum members about this product, especially if the Patches perform as marketed.

A second aspect of Engo Blister Prevention Patches grabbed my attention: They act in a manner that, if they ARE effective, replaces the need to incorporate liner or dual socks as a strategy for blister prevention. Engo Patches would perform the same function. This would be good because dual sock systems add extra heat retention to the foot which can be largely eliminated. It also removes the need of keeping track of the increased blister risk of having more sock material which can ruck and rub against the skin of the foot, sometimes undetected until it is too late.

The Manufacturers Explanation of How the Engo Blister Patch Works

On its website, Engo’s explanations of how and why the Blister Patch works appears consistent with my understanding of the known facts of how blister formation occurs, and how the risk for blistering can be reduced. In looking at the published opinions of training specialists and blister prevention experts, there is much positive regard for the Engo Blister Patch products.

There is no specific mention of how Engo manufactures the Blister Patch, or the formula for producing the product’s slick top coating. I did not research whether the Engo Blister Patch ‘ingredients’ are proprietary and patented, or whether this a new use for an existing formula.

How does Engo claim that its Blister Patches prevent blistering?
  • It provides a surface which is slippery to sock material. This is attached to individual problem areas of a shoe. Some people may find that they only need to apply them to one area in the shoe; others may find that they need several of the Patches installed.
  • The slippery surface of the Patch allows the sock to slide over the surface of that Patch. This keeps the sock in place against the foot, thereby keeping it from sliding against the skin. This eliminates the shear friction from the sock that creates a blister.

Engo Blister Patch: Testing

Note
: I do not usually blister. The appearance or absence of blisters is not important for the purposes of this testing. What is important is the ability to determine if the Engo Blister Patches function to reduce shear force friction, and the long-term durability of that effectiveness.

This test began last September during training hikes and while on Camino. Testing was completed earlier this week on June 5, 2019. There were three primary reasons for my deciding to conduct this length of testing:

  1. To allow me adequate time to make direct comparisons using identical insoles in the same shoes – one insole with an Engo Patch, the other without a Patch. The insoles would be swapped out every third day.
  2. To allow adequate time to determine the durability of the Patches.
  3. To find and test an easy and effective method for extending both the effectiveness and the longevity of the Engo Blister Patches.

The shoe I used throughout the testing period was the Hoka One One Bondi v6. I consider the materials used in the construction of the ‘upper’ part of these shoes to be like that of most trail or running-style shoes.

The insoles I used were the Timberland Pro Men's Anti-Fatigue Technology Replacement Insole. I would expect that any shoe or insole combination would have produced similar results.

The socks I wore were primarily Smartwool’s PhD light padded crew socks. I also tried socks made of various synthetics, and cotton (I do NOT advocate or recommend cotton socks for distance walking) for brief periods in order to compare their performance with the Engo Blister Patches to my Smartwool socks.

Note: Although I found that all the sock materials that I wore for the test performed as intended with the Engo Blister Patches, cotton-heavy sock fabrics would become a bit ‘grabbier’ when they became wet with either sweat or water. Wool socks and synthetic blend socks performed the best under wet conditions.

Normally, the socks I purchase and use fit snug, but not horribly tight, on my feet. This keeps the socks in place, reducing or eliminating their movement on my feet, which dramatically reduces a sock’s ability to create the shear force friction which causes blisters. As part of the test I purchased socks which were purposefully much larger than what I like to wear. I wanted socks that were very loose on my foot and would be noticeable if they slid around while walking. Why?

To help me determine the limits of the Engo Blister Patch’s effectiveness, wearing the baggy socks for a period of time during the testing was an important evaluation tool. I had to observe IF the Engo Blister Patch could prevent poorly fitting socks from sliding around over the skin on the foot and therefore still prevent blistering.

Placement of the Engo Blister Patches was just below where the tips of my toes sit at the front of the insole, to the point on the insole where the arch of the foot begins. In other words, a large portion of the forefoot area.

The Engo Blister Patches were installed about two weeks prior to leaving for Camino. I began using them on training and workout and recreation day hikes and backpacking. Conditions included dry and dusty trails, rain and wet shoes, steep uphill grades and downhill grades, rocky and rutted trails, pavement, sand, and grassy paths.

On Camino Frances, I began in St. Jean Pied de Port and ended in Santiago de Compostela. My son, Caleb, joined me in Leon and brought me a new pair of Hoka One One Bondi v6 shoes. I mailed the old pair back home. (The old shoes are far from worn out, and I am currently wearing them when I go out on day hikes).

I kept the same insoles, with the attached Engo Blister Patches, and continue to wear them the rest of the Camino. I began daily training day hikes again in March, using the same insoles with the same Patches, until just a few days ago.

Findings

Installation


Installing the Engo Patches was straight forward. I found it easy to refine the shape of the Patch for the proper fit by using scissors. The backing that covers the adhesive on the Patch was easy to remove.

I did add one additional step to the Engo instructions. I used a rag, lightly dampened with alcohol, to wipe the area of the new insoles where I would apply a Patch. I wanted to make sure that any left-over oily residue from manufacturing and handling was removed. The area was then allowed to thoroughly dry, which did not take long.

Once I positioned the Patch and pressed it into place, I made sure that I applied firm pressure to the installed Patch from the center to the outside to reduce any trapped air bubbles. Then I applied additional pressure all around the edges, as well as the center.

I choose to forgo the hair dryer option, as accidentally over-doing the heat with the dryer can harm or degrade the material of the Patch, as well as the adhesive’s holding power. I used the friction of rubbing the material with my fingers to do the job of heating the adhesive, instead.

-----------------------Continued In Part Two----------------------
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Dave, for summer wear I think I remember you saying that you wear breathable shoes or trail runners (not boots) with fabric. For those who wear boots, leather shoes or waterproof shoes I would expect better performance of the patch as there would be less dust getting in to rub against the patch. Of course the choice of footwear could lead to a different outcome as far as the number and size of blisters is concerned. Any thoughts about this?
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Dave, for summer wear I think I remember you saying that you wear breathable shoes or trail runners (not boots) with fabric. For those who wear boots, leather shoes or waterproof shoes I would expect better performance of the patch as there would be less dust getting in to rub against the patch. Of course the choice of footwear could lead to a different outcome as far as the number and size of blisters is concerned. Any thoughts about this?

BTW, I deleted my post. Maybe you want to delete your second post too.

Yes, from early spring thru late fall I wear trail runners.

I would imagine that with less grit, the less abrasive wear to the Engo Blister Patches. I do know when I wear leather boots, that less grit invades the boot's interior although some always finds a way to get in :) - - so it wouldn't be far-fetched to say that your observation has merit.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I used Engo patches in June 2018 on the CF. My experience was pretty much like davebugg's. In my 2016 CF, I was wearing the Altra Olympus . For some reason, the inside edge of the Altar insoles were very sharp, almost as if the edge should have been feathered but wasn't. I had blisters on and off that trip on the inside edges of both heals. In 2018, I applied the Engo patch over the sharp insole edge on both shoes (Altra Timps in 2018)--no blisters. So, either it worked or Altra changed the insole. I had extra patches in my blister kit, and gave away a few during the walk. I bumped into one of the people I had helped apply the Engo patch a few weeks later in Santiago, and he claimed the Engo patch totally relieved--in his case the patch was applied to the back heel area in the shoe--his blister issue.
 

Mobilemejen

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 7, 2017
This is a great review and I will certainly try the patches. It seems that you are meaning to say that with a $2.50 patch lasting 300 miles, they are .8 cents per mile and not .008 cents ($.00008) per mile, etc. Unless this is to be calculated in km 🤓
 
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Elle Bieling

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Dave, we often get blisters on the tops and/or sides of our toes. Any suggestions about the efficacy of placing the patches on the top and/or sides of a shoe/boot?

I love the idea of replacing the inside sock liner, as my feet can get so hot!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I do not get too many blisters (about 7 in 4k of walking). I have always walked in trail runners. This year, in winter, probably boots, When I have gotten blisters in the past they are always at the back and sides of the heel as it goes up the ankle. They are usually at the base of the ankle where it meets the heel or a few centimeters up. As soon as they start to bubble, I drain them, put some neosporiin and a bandage. Change the bandage daily, if not more, redrain as necessary and repeat as necessary. I know this may not be the best way but my blisters do heal quickly and I have never had any infection or problems. In your humble opinion would this patch be worthwhile for me?
Thanks again for ALLLLLLL you do.
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Rebecca Rushton is a podiatrist with a blister prevention site. She also has information on Engo and she sells it online. Aussies and Kiwis, if you want to thank her for her help you could buy from her.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Dave, we often get blisters on the tops and/or sides of our toes. Any suggestions about the efficacy of placing the patches on the top and/or sides of a shoe/boot?

I love the idea of replacing the inside sock liner, as my feet can get so hot!

You can use Engo Patches applied to other problem areas of a shoe to solve friction issues.

Tops of a shoes and toes are more problematic as the issue causing the friction can be quite different, such as the toe box not being deep enough, which presses onto the toes. There might also be an issue of the seam - at the point where the tongue is sewn onto the upper - creating just enough of a bulge into the toe box to rub on the toe's tops

A number of strategies can be tried individually or in combination. You can apply an Engo Patch to the top of the toe box. It will take a little patience due to the location of placement, but it can be done. You can, instead, try applying Moleskin or Molefoam to the top of the toe box. Gel caps on toes work well for a number of issues, including blisters. Taping toes is another strategy.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I do not get too many blisters (about 7 in 4k of walking). I have always walked in trail runners. This year, in winter, probably boots, When I have gotten blisters in the past they are always at the back and sides of the heel as it goes up the ankle. They are usually at the base of the ankle where it meets the heel or a few centimeters up. As soon as they start to bubble, I drain them, put some neosporiin and a bandage. Change the bandage daily, if not more, redrain as necessary and repeat as necessary. I know this may not be the best way but my blisters do heal quickly and I have never had any infection or problems. In your humble opinion would this patch be worthwhile for me?
Thanks again for ALLLLLLL you do.

Yes, it would definitely be worth trying. When I did a temporary placement in the heel box of the shoe, it definitely decreased the friction in the area. You can add some pre-taping with Moleskin to the known areas of blistering, to. In your case, I think Moleskin for an application in that trouble area would work better than Leukotape or Omnifix.
 
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D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Rebecca Rushton is a podiatrist with a blister prevention site. She also has information on Engo and she sells it online. If you want to thank her for her help Aussies and Kiwis could buy from her.

This is one of the sites that was valuable in double-checking the rationale behind the function of Engo Patches. I did notice they have one of the 2Toms products. . the powder. When I have tried the 2Toms powder in the past, I found it less effective for my use than the 'roll on' liquid which I mentioned in the review. :)
 

sunwanderer

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Santiago
Sep/Oct 2015
  1. After the 2Toms application, I found the performance characteristics of the Engo Blister Patch lasted significantly more miles, and it also increased the desired performance for eliminating Shear Force Friction.

How did the cost/mile change after adjusting for the 2Toms purchase and the extended longevity of the Engo's?
 

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