Hotspots While Running – How to Avoid Hot Feet When Running

Are you regularly suffering from hotspots while running? Then you’ve come to the right place.

You might experience hot feet or a burning sensation during a run. After all, your feet will naturally heat up as you run. However, this overheating may cause problems, interfering with your runs.

In this article, I’ll share with you an in-depth guide to hot spots, why they happen, and everything you need to know to treat and prevent this problem.

What Is A Hotspot?

Running-induced Hotspots refer to feelings of slight discomfort or pain at the bottom of the feet, especially after running for a long time.

It’s actually defined as a pre-blister state on the skin in most cases.

Think of hotpots as your body’s way of warning that your skin is getting stretched more than it should and that you should give it a break.

So how do you know if you have a hotspot?

Easy. If you notice a skin region on your foot getting reddish or painful during a run is likely a hotspot. The skin around that affected area may seem warm and saggy.

In most cases, hotspots occur on the ball of the foot, big toe, and heel.

Although you might feel that you can run through it, hot spots can only worsen if left ignored.  Sooner or later, it will force you to alter your gait or stride—or stop training altogether.

Here’s the good news.

First, don’t fret, as hotspots are quite common among runners.

What’s more, there are plenty of simple measures you can take right now to prevent it for good.

But before we get to that, let’s first why hot spots occur in the first place.

The Causes of Hot Spots During Running

Running-induced Hotspots serve as a warning sign. They’re, basically, a blister in the making.

The bad news is blisters caused by hot spots tend to be more painful and might set you back for days.

Runners’ hotspots tend to include the ball of the foot, the Achilles tendon, and the base of the big toe where it attaches to your foot—where also most bunions form.

Here are the main culprits behind forming hotspots in your feet while running.

  • Improper Running Shoes

Running shoes that don’t fit well, especially when too tight, will often cause hotspots, especially if you run in them for a long time.

This is thanks to the continuous friction between the foot and shoes as they’re stuck tougher with little space to breathe. A narrow tox box can irritate the big toe, leading to a hotspot.

The Solution

The most obvious way to prevent—or at least reduce the risk—of a hotspot is by wearing proper running shoes.

As a rule, your running shoes should feel comfortable. That means that they should feature structural support, have proper cushioning, and provide optimum impact absorption.

Go to the nearest running store and try out a few pairs to see which one feels comfortable.

Have a flat foot and/or tend to pronate excessively? Consider running shoes with a large toe box.

This should limit the breaking down of the skin caused by undue friction from the decrease in range of motion in the big toe.

  • Improper Tying

Even if you’re using the ideal shoes for your feet and gait, you can still form a hotspot if you do not lace your shoes properly.

Lacing running shoes too tightly can limit blood circulation or even irritate the top of your feet, whereas lacing them too loose can cause heel slippage and increase friction inside of the shoe.

The Solution

The shoe should properly envelop your heel, ankle, and arch after tying them. This lowers the risk that the shoes will create undue friction with your foot.

As a rule, avoid lacing up your running shoes too tightly since this could hinder blood circulation. You should be able to slide your finger under the knot.

If you can’t, then it’s too tight.

What’s more?

Remember that your feet will swell as you run, and you might need to loosen up your laces mid-run in some cases.

  • Moisture inside of your Shoe

Logging the miles can, sooner or later, build up a sweat in your feet, creating a moist environment inside of your shoes. Since the skin can become more to hotspot when it’s wet in the presence of friction.

When this occurs, your shoes, socks, and feet begin rubbing against each other, resulting in hotspots.

The Solution

Having proper socks can help you decrease the amount of friction inside of the shoe.

Again, this is vital for reducing hotspot risk.

The right pair of socks can help limit friction, keep your feet moisture-free, and regulate the temperature inside of your shoes.

Make sure that your suck isn’t too thick and that they fit properly. This helps prevent them from wrinkling, which can cause rubbing.

Whatever you do, avoid cotton socks as these soak up all the moisture and keep your feet wet, which is something to avoid at all costs.

  • Bad Running Technique

Your running form likely needs some work.

Inefficient stride or too much heel striking can place excessive strain on your feet, forcing the skin to overstretch. This, as you can already tell, contributes to hotspot formation.

The Solution

Although there’s no way of avoiding friction inside the shoes while running, improper technique can increase the amount of this friction.

This, in turn, will increase the risk of hotspots.

What’s more?

Consider performing a running gait analysis with a physical therapist to get at the root cause of the issue.

They can examine your running gait, identity your type, then make the right recommendations on the proper shoes and any corrective exercises or measures to take.

  • Foot Structure

Runners who have high arches—or what’s known as hollow feet—are more vulnerable to hotspots than those with “normal” feet.

High arched feet tend to be very flexible, which forces the skin on the bottom to stretch too much. When this happens, a lot of pressure is being put on the arch, contributing to a hot spot.

That’s not the whole story. Having flat feet can also make you prone to the hotspot.

The Solution

Consult a physical therapist and ask them for proactive treatment options that suit your running lifestyle.

Using orthotics is one option. You can find a variety of orthotics on the market that can provide your arches with needed support and structure. These are typically made in the form of insoles or tapes.

What’s more?

Have flat feet? Consider getting a running shoe with a larger toe box. This, in theory, should help prevent your skin from breaking down due to undue friction from a limited range of motion in the big toe.

Bonus tip-Decrease Friction

Another way to reduce friction inside your shoes is to lubricate your feet.

I’d recommend an anti-blister or chafing product such as Body Glide. A slippery foot stands less risk of getting irritated or damaged.

A slippery foot stands less risk of getting irritated or damaged.

You can also apply blister plasters or zinc oxide tapes to blister prone areas in your feet. This won’t cost you much, but it’ll help a lot. And you want that.


So that now that you know more than average runners on the causes of prevention of hot spout, it’s time for you to take action.

As I have already explained, hotspots while running are by no means serious issues.

You shouldn’t panic. As you have seen, there are plenty of things you can do right to fix what’s wrong. You just need to get to it and do it right.