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The Limitations of ENGO Patches

limitations of engo patches

The Limitations of ENGO Patches

ENGO Patches are a great blister management product that I recommend frequently. However, they can’t fix every type of foot pain. Here’s an overview of the limitations of ENGO Patches.

ENGO Patches minimise friction. The blue polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) surface is responsible for this low friction. It’s slippery – that’s the whole point of low friction. Friction is a parallel force, in contrast to pressure, which is a perfendicular force.

So ENGO Patches have no impact of pressure. If pressure is the problem, you’ll need to implement a pressure reduction strategy. Depending on where your blister is and what’s causing it, that could be better shoe-fit, a good lacing technique, a toe-prop, a cushioned insole or pressure deflection insole, an orthotic an alteration to your gait, or many other things. If you’re stuck and not sure what your blister needs or how to implement it, a podiatrist can help.

By the way, ENGO Patches don’t increase pressure. Adding them into your shoe won’t cause more pressure because they’re only 0.38 of a millimetre thick.

ENGO Patches can not change pressure (Image credit)

2. ENGO needs a dry surface to adhere to

Like most adhesive products, the receiving surface must be dry to attain adhesion. Once that initial adhesion is achieved, the patch adhesive won’t be adversely affected by small amounts of moisture of perspiration. No matter how hot, active and sweaty your feet get, the patches will stay stuck! Moisture can’t soak through the patch – it’s hydrophobic.

3. However, the adhesive might not handle waterlogging

Once ENGO Patches have been in place for several episodes of walking or running, a strong adhesion is achieved. After that, if your shoes become saturated or waterlogged, the patch may come unstuck. Waterlogging examples could include:

  • Putting your shoes in the washing machine (the soap will almost certainly loosen the adhesive)
  • Wading through deep puddles, swamps and river-crossings
  • Excessive body run-off (for example, prolonged or heavy rain, tipping water over the head at running event drink stations, the swim transition of triathlon events)

The patch is unlikely to detach immediately. But the adhesive’s life expectancy may understandably be reduced. Particularly if you don’t allow your shoe to fully dry before wearing it again. Once a good initial adhesion is achieved, the adhesive will cope with some water. But you should be prepared to replace the patches after circumstances like the above, once the shoe is completely dry.

limitations of engo patches - waterlogging
Waterlogging may compromise the adhesion of your ENGO Patches (Image credit)

4. Waterproofing compromises adhesion

Sometimes, patches just don’t seem to stick very well, right from the start. Or, they come off within the first few uses. The problem is almost always:

  • with hiking boots – although not all hiking boots have the problem.
  • the boots are almost always new.
  • and this almost never happens to patches applied to the insole, but rather the inner lining of the shoe. For example, around the back of the heel

ENGO’s American manufacturers suspect this is due to either:

  • The use of waterproofing lining materials which don’t accept the adhesive. An example of this is Gore-Tex.
  • Physical or chemical contaminants from manufacture. Often, the second attempt of patch adhesion works fine. Presumably, the first patch removed the debris from the shoe surface,

To minimise the chance of this happening to your ENGO Patches, rub the area of the shoe where you’re about to apply the patches to with a dry towel (or something similarly abrasive). This will remove any loose contaminants and allow for best possible adhesion. Be sure to follow the application instructions by:

  • Minimising the amount you touch the adhesive of the patch
  • Press the patch on firmly. Maintain pressure for 30 seconds to every area of the patch. Concentrate particularly on the edges where your sock is most likely to catch the patch as your foot slides into your shoe.
  • Put your shoes on immediately and wear them around the house for 30 minutes. Your body warmth will make the adhesive more tacky and the functional pressure will help press the patches down.
  • Be very careful not to catch the edge of the patch with your sock as you slip your foot into your shoe. Use your fingers to guide your foot in, or a shoehorn if necessary, on the first few occasions. This becomes less critical over time as adhesion becomes stronger with wear.
This ENGO Patch is coming loose because not enough care has been taken when sliding the heel down into the shoe.

5. Some patches had a fault called ‘delamination’

An uncommon fault existed with some patches pre-December 2016 where the patch falls off the shoe after one or two wears, but leaves the majority of its adhesive on the shoe. It looks something like this (below). Unfortunately, faulty patches don’t look any different to unaffected patches. Reports were rare at a rate of 0.068% of patches. If you experience this problem, please complete this form. The American manufacturers believe this fault has been eliminated with the use of new materials. We have been fully stocked with the new patches since mid December 2016.

limitaitons of engo patches - delamination
Delamination of the patch’s adhesive
The adhesive delaminates from the patch

6. ENGO Patches need to apply to the shoe, obviously

What we’re getting at here is, there are some blisters where ENGO Patches won’t help. That is, blisters between your toes. Why? Because there’s no shoe surface to apply them to. We do have customers that stick them to toe-socks in extreme situations. But they won’t last the washing machine cycle.

Where to buy ENGO Blister Patches

Rebecca Rushton

Podiatrist, blister prone ex-hockey player, foot blister thought-leader, author and educator. Can’t cook. Loves test cricket.

No Comments
  • Jan Hegarty
    9 February 2015 at 7:22 am

    I must say that my blisters have improved but despite all my efforts I’m still getting heel blisters :((((

  • Rebecca Rushton
    9 February 2015 at 7:52 am

    Hmmm, heel blisters tend to be the most responsive to the ENGO Patches Jan, so like you, I’m very disappointed. I’ll be in touch by email. Let’s see what we can do to get you blister-free.

  • Angela Finn
    10 April 2018 at 1:56 am

    Thanks for your tips. Hope they work from here on. I have toes that curl in under each other and I am very prone to get blisters on my toes. Am preparing for long coast trek in one day and have had trouble with my training because of blisters! Hoping that fixamore taping will help once these blisters heal. Do you recommend the silicon tubes in my case – they seem bulky. I have not worn them on long walks as I wondered what would happen with sweating whilst wearing these?

  • Rebecca Rushton
    10 April 2018 at 2:25 am

    It depends where on your toes your blisters are Angela. If on the outside of the little toe, or the tops of the toes, Engo patches will work well. If between your toes, Engo patches won’t help because they don’t contact that area. In this case you’ll need the silicone gel toe devices (you can get wedges if you don’t like the look of the sleeves or caps). If the tip of the toes, you’ll need a toeprop (see a podiatrist). Taping only helps a little – so you might be lucky and all you need is a little help and taping will be successful. If not, don’t be surprised and move on to something more sophisticated, based on where on your toe your blisters are: https://courses.blisterprevention.com.au/courses/fix-my-foot-blisters-fast/

  • Dara
    11 April 2018 at 11:05 am

    Hello Rebecca, Thank you for this interesting information. I’m not sure if Engo patches will help my situation. I get bruised (not blistered) toenails on my second and third toes of each foot. The toe box of my running shoes is plenty roomy enough, and I make sure my feet don’t slide around by using lacing technique. I really cannot figure out what the problem is. I am experimenting with taping and/or silicone sleeves but wonder is an engo patch would help?

  • Rebecca Rushton
    12 April 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Dara. You’ve don’t well to rule out many of the factors that can cause bruised / black nails and toenail blisters. The Engo patches probably won’t help you enough. And you can probably do better than the silicone gel caps. It’s likely you need a toeprop. Read this article (point 5) for more details: https://blisterprevention.com.au/blister-blog/toenail-blisters

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