Before you break out the flip-flops, the slides and the sandals this spring, ask yourself if your tootsies are up to the test. Trapped inside closed-toe shoes from autumn to spring, our feet can be an unwelcome surprise when we eventually expose them to the summer sun.
Whether you struggle with bunions, calluses, fungus or hangnails, your feet will undoubtedly need some attention before they debut at your neighbor’s BBQ or the community pool party.
Not a foot model? No problem. Regardless of how dry, cracked and unloved they are, it’s possible to transform your feet into a soft(er) state using nothing more than organic treatments and some elbow grease. But there are some basic ground rules for foot maintenance:
- Ditch the three-inch stilettos. Wearing comfortable shoes is key. From knee-high boots to Roman sandals to men’s leather loafers, it is essential to purchase shoes that fit you correctly and to ensure that they keep fitting you well. This means no squeezing into a size seven-and-a-half when you’ve always been an eight — it doesn’t matter if it’s the last pair in the store — and replacing shoes when they become worn down with use.
- Get naked. Naked feet, that is. Walking barefoot occasionally gives your feet a break from stifling shoes and socks and allows them to breathe.
- Keep moving. Getting on your feet is as important as getting off them. If you work at a desk all day, be sure to take walking breaks to increase blood flow to your feet — and the rest of your body. Conversely, if you’re on your feet all day, be sure to take regular sitting breaks.
- Rub regularly. If you can’t get your significant other or your best friend to rub your tired toes, consider investing in a monthly foot massage or reflexology session. Reflexology is a method of applying pressure to specific areas of the feet (or reflex zones) that represent parts of the body. Your feet and any other achy areas will benefit from regular reflexology sessions.
If you have better things to do than nurture your feet, just imagine what your teeth or hair would look like without consistent maintenance. Not so good. And taking care of your feet is easy! All you need is a handful of extra minutes each day and a small collection of organic and natural lotions and scrubs. Stock your at-home foot spa with the following:
A foot-specific scrubFeet have special needs, so don’t bother slathering your cracked heels with your facial scrub. Kiss My Face has developed a pepperminty foot scrub from walnut shells and natural pumice as well as organic sunflower seed, soybean and coconut oils for deep moisturizing. kissmyfacewebstore.com
The best balmWhen my dry, tired toes need an extra kick, I skip the lotion and go right to the balm. Rich with extra-virgin olive oil and jojoba oil, Badger’s Foot Balm is enhanced with tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint essential oils that have antifungal and antibacterial properties (and help to make the average foot rub a tingly experience). badgerbalm.com
Splurge! Treat your feet (sorry, but the rhyme is irresistible) to luxurious moisture with Dr. Hauschka’s St. John's Wort Foot Cream. Featuring organic and biodynamically farmed ingredients, the lotion aims to soften the roughest patches while treating the cuts and blisters that often accompany summer shoes. drhauschka.com
Healthy nails 101 Tea tree oil is nature’s first-aid kit. In its Nail Saver product, Jason Natural has combined the healing oil with sesame, aloe vera and evening primrose oils to combat brittleness, peeling, cuticle issues and hangnails. jason-natural.com
A superior slipper As summer heat falls upon us — it’s 99 degrees as I write this — I like to keep my slippers on ice. Keeping a pair of herbal slippers in the fridge — next to the iced tea or in the veggie drawer, your choice — guarantees a few blissful moments after a long, hot day. Uncommon Goods fills their slippers with flax, lavender, rosemary, peppermint and lemongrass for an aromatherapeutic effect. uncommongoods.com
Marisa Belger is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience covering health and wellness. She was a founding editor of Lime.com, a multiplatform media company specializing in health, wellness and sustainable living. Marisa also collaborated with Josh Dorfman on “The Lazy Environmentalist” (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang), a comprehensive guide to easy, stylish green living.
Please note: Neither Marisa Belger nor TODAYshow.com has been compensated by the manufacturers or their representatives for her comments or selection of products reviewed in this column.