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Foot Maintenance That'll Carry You Through Summer

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You know that feeling when the person whose intimate dinner party you’re attending asks you to remove your shoes? If it’s July in the Northern Hemisphere, the feeling is most likely panic. Your heart races. Palms sweat. Are my humid, sockless feet about to empty this room of people? Of course—LOL—this anecdote is PURELY hypothetical since it has never happened to me…. laughs maniacally. But to whomever is familiar with this scenario: Next time, don’t panic. This is a solutions-oriented beauty website, where editors like me know that feet need attention too. Especially when your city’s heat index is about to swallow you whole and spit you back out on the pavement covered in blisters and perspiration. You’re just a foot cream, a deodorant hack, and a blister prevention program away from being totally comfortable taking your shoes off indoors:

Foot balm

According to Glossier’s Retail Director Hadas Drutman, foot creams are the key to being able to flaunt your foot in a minimal sandal all season long. They protect your feet, keep them moisturized, and prevent them from getting...stinky. When her favorite L'Occitane Provence cream (not this one) was discontinued, I blindly recommended this Gehwol Fusskraft Mint Cooling Foot Balm from Germany, mostly because I'm dying to try it myself. Senior Editor Ashley Weatherford recommends an exfoliating balm like Amlactin. It's a lactic acid cream—gotta keep those feet baby soft, you know? It’s the least you can do. They go through a lot for you.

The deodorant trick

As my boyfriend and I were headed out the door one Saturday, he paused to apply deodorant between his toes and on the bottoms of his feet. Not foot deodorant spray—regular old armpit deo. Apparently, he uses it to prevent blisters and calluses as he bikes around the city wearing Tevas. I was inspired—could a stick of Baxter also solve all my [hypothetical] foot odor problems? My answer is, essentially, yes. Apply a single stroke to the bottoms of your feet about five minutes before you put your shoes on, or with ample drying time. Personally I prefer a natural deodorant. Who knows, an anti-perspirant could work wonders in the foot sweat department.

Frequent cleansing

The hot season requires a lot more showering from me. I’ll do morning and night at the very least, spending a few minutes on each foot with an exfoliating cloth each time. If for some reason I don’t have time for a full shower, I’ll just hop in the tub and do a 60 second foot bath. Maybe it seems too simple. But you’d be surprised—the extra wash makes a big difference.

Detail your footwear

If you don’t wear socks with your summer shoes (which, realistically speaking, you don’t), the shoes themselves are going to need to be cleaned once in a while. Maybe as often as you wear them. My trick is to use rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad to clean out the inside sole of the shoe, and then to use a sprinkling of baby powder or Gold Bond powder inside over night to kill any remaining odor germs. The powder also helps keep shoes (like my favorite patent leather Carel sandals) from chafing and causing blisters. Your feet are going to be just fine.

—Anna Stevenett

Photo via Getty.