In the August issue of Shop Etc. magazine, beauty mavens exult over comfy new dress shoe styles that underpin heels; platforms; and other sexy styling with thick padding and shock absorbers. This takes that seven-times-your-body weight pressure and distributes it, making the shoe, not your tissues, take the weight.
One piece of advice when shopping for shoes is to press your finger inside the shoe -- ball of the foot and arch. See if it springs back. Check out the materials too. The comfiest shoes, especially in summer, are not plastic or man-made materials, but leather. And thicker heels distribute weight better.
But look out for those pointy toes. There are lots of cute ballerina flats with round toes out there.
"In summer," Brodsky offers, "shoes tend to be less dressy."
4. Protect Feet From Contaminated Water
At the pool, in the gym, in the locker room, wear clogs or flip-flops -- preferably your own, Brodsky advises.
"We notice more athlete's foot (fungus) in kids in summer," Reid says. "It's not a new risk. Keep feet dry. Rinse them during the day, change socks twice a day. And don't wear the same sweaty old shoes every day."
Reid also recommends using an antiperspirant on feet. "It robs fungus of the moisture it likes," she says (and helps with foot and shoe odor).
Another source of contaminated water is nail salons. Some California pedicure salons were found to have drains full of organisms.
If you go get a pedicurist, Reid recommends getting one of the first appointments in the morning.
Always be sure you are getting sterilized instruments -- even a file used on your own hands should not be used on your feet.
Never shave your legs before a pedicure, either, Reid says. "If there is bacteria around, you don't want it in small cuts on your legs."
5. Baby Those Peds on a Hike
Out in the wild, the expression, "Feet don't fail me now," takes on new meaning. Some tips for happy trails:
- Don't wear new boots or footwear on a hike or anywhere far from help. Break them in beforehand by wearing a few hours at a time.
- Make sure your footwear is comfortable and cushioned. Stick your fingers inside and check.
- If you use an orthotic device, make sure it's soft and cushioned, not rigid plastic.
- Wear socks no matter how hot it is.
- If you get a blister, don't pop it. "It's God's Band-Aid," Brodsky says, "providing protective cushioning."
- If it does pop, do not tear off the "roof." Use antibiotic cream and a clean bandage. (This procedure is best avoided in the wild, but then, that is where most blisters pop up.)
- Vaseline, Reid says, is the best protection against blisters.