Follow These Steps to Have Fabulous Summer Feet
Shedding your shoes in the summer increases the odds of injury and infection. As for flip-flops, you need to wear them in moderation.
Summer can be hard on your feet. The combination of heat, sun, and surf can take a toll on your tootsies. But it doesn’t have to. These simple steps to fabulous summer feet will keep your feet healthy and looking their best during warm weather.
Avoid walking barefoot. Going outdoors without shoes in the summer increases the risk of injury to your feet. It also increases the odds that you will develop warts on the soles of your feet (plantar warts), ringworm (a fungus), and other infections, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
Wear the right socks. Acrylic and synthetic blend socks work best to wick away perspiration that can lead to fungal infections. “Moisture of any kind is the perfect environment for a fungus to grow,” says Elizabeth Kurtz, DPM, a podiatrist in Chicago and spokeswoman for the APMA.
Head off blisters. Sandals often cause blisters on the feet when they rub against bare skin. If you feel a blister coming on, use padding such as moleskin or a liquid bandage product to reduce friction, advises Dr. Kurtz.
Give your feet some air. If possible, avoid wearing closed shoes during summer months. Go with sandals or open-toed shoes. “I also recommend taking your shoes off periodically throughout the day so your feet can air out,” says Kurtz. This will help keep your feet dry and sweat-free.
Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water on summer days will minimize foot swelling due to the heat, according to the APMA.
Use sunscreen. Don’t forget to slather sunscreen on exposed parts of your feet in the summer. Be sure to reapply after swimming or sweating heavily, even if the sunscreen is “waterproof”. Use sunscreen with 15 SPF (sun protection factor) or higher to guard against skin cancer and premature aging of the skin on your feet.
Moisturize. “Feet dry out more in the summer because you’re not wearing socks all the time,” says Kurtz. To keep your feet baby-soft, apply moisturizer in the morning after you shower (to lock in moisture) and at night.
Evaluate your flip-flop wear. Thong-style flip-flops can result in sore feet and ankles. But even so, you don’t have to completely steer clear of flip-flops in the summer. “Some flip-flops are better than others,” says Kurtz. “Choose styles with good arch and heel support.” Also avoid walking in them for long distances.
Add cushioning to summer shoes. “Summer slides and flimsy sandals often have thin soles and little cushioning and foot support,” notes Kurtz. Use cushioned inserts to help provide added support. Inserts are available at shoe stores and at many drug stores.
Wear the right shoes for the activity. Certain activities, such as boating, rock climbing, and other sports require specific types of shoes for optimal foot health and safety. Plan ahead and bring appropriate footwear.
Keep shoes and socks dry. If your shoes and socks get wet, take them off and dry them completely before putting them back on; this will guard against fungal infections. Pack an extra pair for outings involving water or when the forecast calls for rain.
Clean feet after water activities. Rinse your feet with clean water after wading or swimming in a lake or river. Ditto for stepping in puddles of water. “Stagnant water in lakes, rivers, and puddles often contain bacteria that could potentially lead to foot infections,” advises Kurtz.
Get a pedicure. For pretty summer feet, give yourself an at-home pedicure or indulge in a professional one. Besides making your toenails look attractive, a pedicure can remove flaky winter skin, cleanse your feet, and help you relax.
Remove nail polish periodically. Covering your nails with polish all summer long can be unhealthy for your nails. Take off your polish periodically to give the nail bed some air.
Inspect old shoes. Worn-out, tattered shoes can cause blisters. Look carefully at your sandals and flip-flops from the previous summer and throw out any that seem worn. If in doubt, throw them out. If nothing else, you’ll have an excuse to go shoe shopping