We discussed the disadvantages of moleskin for treating skin trauma in an earlier blog entry, Moleskin: Review of an Outdated Foot Care Remedy. In Blogs, Listservs, and other locations, however, we continue to read recommendations from orthotists to use moleskin to manage skin irritation caused by orthotic devices. Moleskin has three disadvantages: First, it is bulky and stiff and doesn’t conform well to surfaces. Second, its fuzzy material is a haven for dirt and bacteria. Third, moleskin forms interfaces with socks, for example, that have a really high coefficient of friction (COF).
John Vonhof has served on medical teams around the world for many of the largest ultramarathons such as the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. He has treated thousands of sore feet. He is the authority behind FixingYourFeet.com. As Vonhof says in his blog entry, Moleskin Galore, “You will never find moleskin on my foot care box.”
Even if you don’t use a specialized interface material like ShearBan® to manage friction, don’t use moleskin. As the accompanying graph shows, in terms of producing a high COF, moleskin may be the worst! Therefore, the material you are covering with the moleskin is probably better at managing friction than the moleskin.