Tights be gone. Away with you, socks. Summer’s on the horizon and we’re thinking tanned toes, strappy sandals and salon-fresh pedis. But hang on, after months of hibernation, our feet could use some TLC before the big summer reveal. So we spoke to two women in the business of feet for eight tips on getting pedi-ready.
Ginny Bowen, 6’2” and shoe size US13/UK11, is a part-time foot model and marketing exec based in New York City. Jane Faulkner is Lead Podiatrist at Sole Sister in Brighton, UK.
1. TREAT YOUR TOES RIGHT
“Never underestimate the power of a standing pedicure appointment!” says Ginny. “I give my feet some much needed TLC once a month.”
If you’re going for a DIY pedi, make sure you cut “contouring the nail to the toe shape” says Jane. “Don’t be tempted to cut straight across or you’ll have corners that stick out and damage adjacent toes. Likewise, if you cut deep down the side of a nail it can cause nail trauma and ingrowing toe nails. Or, better still, relax and let your pedicurist or podiatrist do the hard work for you.”
2. HARD SKIN BE GONE
“File and moisturize, file and moisturize,” says Ginny.
Jane agrees. “Absolutely. Ideally 2-3 times weekly with a 25% Urea based cream like Flexitol Heal Balm to soften the keratin in your skin. Use a sandpaper type foot file before bathing otherwise it’s like grating mozzarella!”
Ginny’s tip? Applying moisturizer after showering and before bed. “I like wearing cotton bed socks too to really help the moisture sink in.”
“I have about a dozen pairs of loafer socks in a bunch of different shades - black, brown, tan, nude. They prevent rubbing and keep my feet fresh.”
3. AVOID BLISTERS AT ALL COSTS
The daily commute can be hell on your feet. Ginny’s secret to combat this: “I have about a dozen pairs of loafer socks in a bunch of different shades - black, brown, tan, nude. They prevent rubbing and keep my feet fresh.”
Jane is no stranger to ‘pressure based pathologies’ caused by tight shoes and ‘friction based’ through loose shoes. Both can lead to calluses, corns, blisters and metatarsal pain. “Steer clear of medicated corn plasters,” advises Jane. "They’re just acid and can cause caustic burns and more discomfort.”
4. TO HEEL OR NOT TO HEEL?
Ginny and Jane are divided on this one.
Ginny: “I work at a NYC agency and wear heels a couple of times a week for client meetings. But I’ll always wear commuter sneakers on the way in!”
Jane: “If you must wear heels, don’t walk in them. Sit down and look gorgeous! Seriously, keep the heel as low as possible and opt for a shoe with a strap to hold the foot in place. Really high heel wearing should be for occasions and events, not general wear.”
5. KEEP FUNGUS AT BAY
If you’re hitting the gym or the pool on a regular basis you could be at risk from fungal infections. Fungus loves warm, moist conditions like sweaty sneakers (hence the athletes’ foot association) so always change your socks and dry your feet thoroughly after washing, including between your toes.
Jane advises an application of tea tree oil after activity to keep infections at bay. And remember, fungus can live in shoes as well so if you do have an infection you need to treat your shoes as well. “As a general rule of thumb, try not to wear the same shoes everyday and let them dry out between wears.”
“Remove nail varnish completely between applications and let those nails breathe, girls!”
6. CUTICLE CARE
Looking after your toenails is only part of the regime. “I swear by Sally Hansen’s Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil,” Ginny says. “I put it on my fingers and toes and gently push back the cuticles.”
“But a word of caution,” Jane adds. “Pushing cuticles right back can create an entry portal for infection. An infected nail base is called paronychia and is really painful.”
Your best bet? If cuticles need cutting, get a podiatrist to do it for you.
7. ON PREVENTING DISCOLORATION
Yellow nails are never a good look and they’re usually the result of dark nail polish, so always use a base coat and follow Jane’s advice: “Remove nail varnish completely between applications and let those nails breathe, girls!”
And we are LOVING this pedi tip from Ginny: “The disposable paper thongs provided by the nail salons never fit my size 13 feet. I always bring my own pair of easy-to-slip-on sandals so I won’t ever smudge a pedi!”
"I have to look after my moneymakers!”
8. KNOW WHEN TO VISIT THE PROS
If Ginny ever has an ingrown toenail or a callus, she heads straight to her podiatrist. “I’d rather get issues treated medically than risk a potential infection. I have to look after my moneymakers!”
Jane nods in approval. “If it hurts, it won’t go away on its own. But if your feet are problem free then treat us like the dentist with a 6-12 monthly check up.”