7 ways to keep your feet happy this summer
As summer approaches, it’s hard not to spend all your time in sandals and flip-flops. They look good, they’re comfortable, and you get to show off your pedicure. So, how can you go wrong?
We’ve got a few ideas. Flip-flops, ballet flats, and many fashionable sandals don’t have arch support, which causes you to put extra pressure on your toes and heels. This imbalance can cause plantar fasciitis, an awful condition that causes pain in your heel and/or the bottom of your foot. Summer shoes can also cause other ailments, including hammertoes, bunions, and blisters—none of which make for a fun day in the sun!
-Stretch the top of your foot
Stand up straight on your right foot and reach your left foot back behind you, tucking the toes of your left foot under and placing them on the floor. Work up to holding this stretch for one minute. If your toes start to cramp, come out of the move, rest, and return when you can. Toes just too tight? Try it seated.
Place the ball of your left foot on the apex of a half-foam roller or rolled-up folded towel. Drop the heel all the way to the ground, and straighten that knee. Step forward with your right foot. If you can’t bring your foot all the way forward, take a smaller step. Keep your weight stacked vertically over the heel of whichever foot is farther back. Hold for one minute, then switch legs; do this three times on each leg.
Sit cross-legged. Interlace the fingers of the right hand with the toes of the left foot. Gently spread your toes away from each other. Hold for up to one minute, then switch to the other hand and foot.
To keep your tootsies feeling fresh through summer and beyond, follow these foot care health and safety tips.
1. Buy the right sandal. To prevent plantar fasciitis, choose a sandal with a heel cup, a raised midfoot, and enough cushioning that pushing on it leaves a dent. Vionic, Reef, and OluKai all have stylish options that hug your arches and cushion your heels.
2. Stretch your toes. When you wear flip-flops, your toes grip the soles to keep them on your foot. This puts tension on your toes and calves. Try some toe and calf stretches to prevent foot and lower leg injuries.
3. Limit flip-flop time. Definitely wear flip-flops in public showers and bathroom areas, such as at the gym or the pool. If you’re running a quick errand, throw on the flips. But if you’re walking around all day, you should wear a more supportive shoe.
4. Toss worn shoes. You may love your comfy, old loafers, but they don’t love you. Any support in those worn-out shoes has likely deteriorated. The now-smooth soles put you at risk of slipping, and any stretched-out material may cause blisters when it rubs against your heel.
5. Wear heels sensibly. No doubt, high heels look amazing. However, spend too much time with Manolo or Jimmy Choo, and you’ll end up with bunions, calluses, hammertoes, or super-tight calves. It is best to wear sneakers on your walk to work and slip on the heels when you get to the office. To reduce bottom-of-the-foot pain, use a padded insole or a thin arch support, and to keep your ankles and calves from shortening, stretch them before bed.
6. Add arch support. We’re out and about more often during longer summer days and the extra time on our feet puts added pressure on our legs and back. Custom-fitted inserts support arches and distribute body weight evenly, which lets you work and play all day with less pain. The Good Feet Store offers 25 styles and more than 350 sizes of arch supports, including the Maintainer or Relaxer for optimal alignment and stability when you’re wearing sandals, flip-flops, and other summer footwear.
7. Treat your feet. Just like you may need a massage, a hot bath, or a glass of wine, your feet need pampering after a stressful day. Give them some TLC with regular foot self-massages. After a long day, soak them in a warm Epsom salt bath, or if you have swollen feet, soak them in a tub of ice water for 15 minutes. After your feet soak, you can rub calluses with a pumice stone and slather on a layer of moisturizing cream.
Go ahead, slip on those strappy sandals—just make sure they support your lovely feet. To get the most pain-free playtime out of your summer shoes, visit The Good Feet Store for personalized arch support.
To find a Good Feet Store near you, and to get a free, no-obligation fitting, visit goodfeet.com/locations.