Summer is here! Shoes come off and are replaced by sandals, with feet on full display. Here are 4 foot care tips to keep them looking sexy all summer!
#1 Watch Out For Germs
One study from the University of Miami and the TODAY show found that a single pair of flip flops can harbor a whopping 18,000 bacteria, including the dangerous superbug, Staphylococcus aureus.
Walking the streets in open shoes can mean kicking up all sorts of debris, including human vomit, feces, bird droppings and a whole host of other unappetizing things, Phillip Tierno, Ph.D., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, told The Huffington Post. Then you take your shoes off and touch, say, your face. “It’s a repository for everything you brought in from the outside and [you] don’t give it a second thought,” he said.
A few simple precautions can keep you safe: Tierno recommends removing your shoes before entering the house and avoiding wall-to-wall carpeting when possible, as it can harbor germs. So slip on a pair of slippers at the end of the day and wash your hands thoroughly — between 25 and 30 seconds — after you remove your shoes.
#2 Ease Sweaty Feet
For some people, hot temps mean sweaty feet, and all that moisture can increase the risk picking up an infection. Andersen suggests wearing socks that wick excess moisture away, and changing out of damp socks as soon as possible — if you can’t shower, at least rinse your feet off. “Keep a nice, cool environment for your feet,” she says.
One natural trick? Brew regular black tea, let it cool and tuck your feet in for 30 minutes — Andersen says the tannins in the tea can decrease sweat production.
#3 Get A Safe Pedicure
For many, polished toenails are a summertime staple — but some serious health risks might be lurking in the pedicure chair.
“Pedicures can be a source for real problems,” Andersen says. Everything from the tools to that relaxing whirlpool soak can transmit nail fungus, wart viruses and sometimes serious bacterial infections.
To stay safe, consider bringing your own tool set, Sutera says, especially the foot file. (Clean your tools back home with a betadine solution.) She also tells her patients to avoid the “Wednesday Special,” or a great deal that brings dozens more customers — and germs — through the salon. If possible, schedule your appointment at the beginning of the day, when technicians should be less tired and the tools and basins a little bit cleaner.
And don’t shave or wax your legs for at least 24 hours before your appointment — hair removal can cause microscopic cuts, increasing susceptibility to infection.
#4 Rethink Your Flip Flops
“Flip flop season is a busy season for me,” Sutera jokes. “Especially toward the end of the summer when everyone’s been walking around in these terrible shoes.”
Over-wearing this summertime staple can cause stress fractures, heel pain and tendonitis, and can exacerbate hammertoes. “These are not shoes that we should be wearing from 8 in the morning to 8 at night,” she says. “That’s not really what these shoes are made for.”
But that said, they’re hard to resist. And there are ways you can make flip flops a safer footwear choice.
“Not all flip flops are created equally,” she says. Look for a pair with a thicker sole with arch support — and the more straps the better, as that can reduce stress placed on the toes to grip the flip flop so it doesn’t fly off your foot. You shouldn’t be able to bend the flip flop (or any shoe, for that matter), in half — that’s your first clue that it won’t provide enough support. Reserve the ultra-thin ones for the locker room or pool.