Hydropel is a silicone product used by runners and hikers to prevent “prune” feet and blisters. It did not solve the ongoing problems that I have had with my heel, although it may have kept the blisters from forming as soon as they otherwise might have. It seems to get good reviews from most other people, however.
The active ingredient is dimethicone, which is the same thing as polydimethylsiloxane. This is a common polymer (chain) of silicone molecules used to make products slippery. It is often used in shampoos, lubricating oils, medical devises, contact lenses, and many other products that do not come into direct contact with skin.
It was highly recommended to me since I have a problem with large blisters forming on the backs of my heels when I hike. There seems to be no cause-effect that we can figure out for my blisters such as wet feet, hot feet (although thinner, cooler socks have helped), bad shoes, loose shoes, etc. So I spent the $18 plus shipping to buy a 2 oz tube.
The tube is way too large to want to carry backpacking, but I didn’t know how much to use at first, so I carried the whole thing. If the product works for you, repackage a little bit in some smaller jar.
It only took a small dab to coat each foot (see picture). I used it once a day. I suppose a case could be made that I should have used it twice a day, but it seemed as if the product was still on my feet each day when I reapplied it. It made my feet feel like they were coated with plastic, and this was weird, but I didn’t have any kind of allergic reaction.
I used it all during the 183 miles of road walk that we did, and had no blisters. I hiked part of each day in “trail runners” and part of each day in my boots. Of course, when nothing happens there is no way to say why the “nothing” happened. Then we started backpacking.
The third and fourth days of backpacking we hiked in the rain, and by the end of the second day everything was soaking wet. On the fifth morning, within an hour of applying the Hydropel, a blister formed on the back of one heel. I usually start to get blisters on the fourth or fifth day, so it doesn’t seem like the Hydropel helped. We immediately padded the blister with moleskin, but as per usual with my heels, it continued to grow. However, it did not get as large as usual. Our backpacking ended on day six.
So my conclusion is mixed. The Hydropel may have kept me from getting blisters as soon as usual- given the long road walk. It may have kept the blisters from becoming as bad as they often are. My feet were not “pruney” on the wet days. But I can’t give it as glowing of a report as many hikers do.
This is also often used by runners on feet and thighs.