Wūru (pronounced Woo Roo) is a Salt Lake City brand of lanolin-rich, New Zealand wool specifically designed to eliminate blisters. This is an interesting product and one that I honestly would not have tried unless it was put directly in front of me. Matthew was given the Wūru wool to review, but he doesn’t get blisters. Luckily for you, I do!
My usual anti-blister routine is years in the making and varies depending on the distance I’m running. Weekday street runs don’t require anything, I wear a single pair of running socks; but if I plan to hit the trails, no matter what the distance, I wear two pairs of socks. The inner pair is Injinji’s with a running sock on top. I wear a larger shoe for the trail and this, combined with the irregular surface of the trail, make ripe conditions for blisters. If the run is 20 or more miles I use Leukotape on my big toes, inside and ball of the foot in addition to the two pairs of socks. The tape, plus two pairs of socks method is great at preventing blisters, but it does have a drawback. The tape has such effective glue that it is difficult to remove without damaging my skin (insider scoop, wait for your feet to completely dry before removing the tape to minimize negative effect). Anyway, I get blisters and I take my routine seriously, so I was nervous about trying something new.
The wool comes as a single folded hank about 20” in length. It is a single-use product, but you get numerous applications from a single bag (per the website each 0.75 oz package contains 20-30 applications, which seems accurate). It is surprisingly simple. Select the desired thickness and length and wrap the wool around/between your toes and heel. I don’t get blisters on my heels, so I just wrapped my toes and the inside of my upper foot, and then gently pulled on one – yes, only one- pair of socks. Since I’m used to wearing Injinji socks the wrapping aspect around the toes wasn’t a thang. That said, I did wrap the wool too tightly the first time and had to redo it. The wool stays in place by molding with your socks, so you don’t have to worry about it bunching. When you remove your socks, the wool stays attached to them but removes easily. The first trial was a short trail run just in case I hated it, but I didn’t. I’ve since done a 15 and 18 miler, and it worked great. No blisters, no hot spots, and the extra cushion the wool provided was a welcomed feature.
This product has definitely won me over, but not for every run. The application doesn’t take long, but it does take longer than pulling on two pairs of socks. I’ll stick to my two-pair-of-socks routine for my shorter trail runs, but I will employ Wūru on longer runs of 20ish plus miles and continue to experiment with Wūru versus tape. The need to change socks during long races means I won’t use it in that scenario, as the crew is often assisting with sock/shoe changes and that just seems like a nightmare. The instructional video indicates that you can tear the wool, but in my experience, this isn’t the case. For me, this isn’t a big deal as I carry scissors in my running accessory bag for the Leukotape. The other scenario that I haven’t tested, but I am curious about, is silty river crossings and sandy trails (if anyone has experience with this, please leave a comment). I worry that the silt and sand will be suspended in the wool and act like sandpaper on my foot, but again, this is untested. I do like the option of not using tape and the extra cushion, and since it only costs $10.95, Wūru has a place in my foot prep routine.
Wūru means “wool” in Māori, the indigenous language and people of New Zealand, and was born on the trail in New Zealand by a couple seeking adventure on their honeymoon. Loose wool for blister prevention was recommended by a local guide and as they say, the rest is history.