Nikki’s Inbox: Tips For Your Toes

Hey Nikki,

I have just recently started following you and so far I’m loving it. I went through all your posts to see if you had any advice on summer shoes for those who are ‘feet conscious’. I’ll be honest, though — I gave up at page 10. Sorry!

I’m currently fighting off the corn and calluses on my feet. I researched a lot on remedies to get rid of them but it’s taking a long time. So can you suggest any summer shoes aside from flats? I can deal with high heels but I really want to wear cute peep-toes, sandals, gladiators and so forth but they just highlight the calluses and they really look ugly!

Rose, 18/UK

My dear Rose, I can’t imagine what you do to your feet that would make you develop corns and calluses at your age! Do you walk over unpaved roads every single day in bare feet? Chances are, however, you wear ill-fitting shoes. That’s usually the leading cause of those pesky things on your feet.

Corns and calluses are usually formed when the skin is constantly subjected to friction, as your body’s natural defense against an irritant. These usually develop on top of the smaller toes or sometimes in between. On the other hand, calluses can be found underneath your toes, where the skin is thicker. Since our feet have thicker skin, the only way corns and calluses grow is through constant irritation due to wearing the wrong shoes. .

Treating them can take some time so be patient and meanwhile, re-evaluate what you have in your shoe closet. Find out which ones cause you too much pain when you wear them and then throw them out! For my list of recommended shoes, read on!

Give your feet wiggle room. Our feet are usually enclosed for a minimum of eight to nine hours a day. So wearing comfortable shoes is a must. Look for shoes that are more roomy at the toes to give them true wiggle room. A couple of centimeters should do the trick. This will also help your existing foot ailments to recover without being subjected to a new round of torture, and prevent new ones from forming. Rounded toes and peep-toes — instead of the super pointy ones and open-toes which reveal more of your feet — are your best bets here.

Alternate heel heights. If you’re used to wearing sky-high heels at all hours of the day, Rose, then you are also punishing your feet. Not only will it affect your posture long-term but it may also cause your calf muscles to become shorter. Reduce to wearing those stilettos to no more than a few hours each day (six is not ‘few’ though) and try to go for at least one-inch heels to give your feet a break. However, flats can also cause damage especially if the shoes don’t have arch support so try not to wear them too often or wear removable arch supports when you do.

Choose natural materials. Aside from room to move, your feet also need to breathe. Thus, your shoes also need to be made of the right materials. Leather allows your feet to stretch while also conforming to their natural shape. For summer, look for shoes made of breathable cotton, linen or hemp, like those used for the uber-popular espadrilles.

Look for ‘distracting’ details. Rose, since you still want to wear feet-baring footwear this summer (and I approve because your feet need to breathe too!), I suggest you look for sandals that feature very eye-catching accents or details that conceal or are away from your toe area. Think studded straps, bows on the heels, pretty prints and patterns or oversized flowers and other accents. The key is to avoid drawing attention to what you want to hide. If you have long legs or wear a striking outfit, the emphasis will be on these elements and not your recovering feet.

Add support. I usually find that my feet slip down to the toes when my heels are really high, making it really uncomfortable to stand up or walk. After all, my feet are simply obeying the law of gravity: what comes up must come down. My solution? Wear shoes with ankle straps. On pumps, the straps look sleek, modern and sexy. On flats and wedges, they look fun and cute, like ballet shoes. To protect your toes that are getting treated for corns and calluses, wear protect gel covers over them?. Additionally, you can also get heel cushions and covers (for the back of your feet), arch supports and inserts to keep your feet comfortable and protected.

Lastly, Rose ma cherie, love your feet! Give them TLC. Wash and moisturize them every day, so you don’t get cracked heels. Use a foot pumice on your soles after soaking your feet in warm water (the best thing especially if you’ve been on your feet the whole day) to slough off the dead skin and prevent new calluses from forming. Soaking also softens the corns, making them easier to treat. Wear socks when you wear sneakers or trainers. Loving your body means it will love you back!


PS. To my lovely Ask Nikki! readers, if you wish to email me, please also describe your personal preferences (e.g., color, style, etc.) when it comes to clothes. An approximate description of your body (curvy, tall, stick-thin, athletic, etc.) would also help. Sadly, I have no X-ray vision, darlings — I simply cannot work with just “What color looks good on me? Kthxbye.” Alright, dearies?

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