No Mean Feet: The Importance of Foot Care

Categories Grooming



Fussed over feet are happy feet, writes Chris Jackson — and now is a great time to start.

One of the few funny scenes in Adam Sandler flick You Don’t Mess with the Zohan is when Sandler kicks back, literally, at a Wall Street type in New York who has just called him Mustapha because of his Middle Eastern appearance. “Smell it. Smell It. Now take it,” says the Israeli special forces agent-fumed-hair stylist as he sticks his bare feet into the face of the now humbled “Master of the Universe” before delivering single-and double-foot upper cuts. But for most men a sense of shame, rather than using their affliction as a weapon, is the only option.

Odour isn’t the only problem. Men also worry about the appearance of their feet. Discoloured toenails were also a major concern, making some men so embarrassed they won’t even contemplate wearing sandals or thongs.

Rough, flaky or cracked heels come a close second as most guys rightly suspect that women these days give men a head-to-toe scrutiny.

Feet need more care in the colder months because low temperatures and dry Indoor heat add up to a damaging scenario. Dry, cold conditions dehydrate your feet just as thoroughly as hours of sunshine, leading to cracked heels. Indoor heating only worsens the problem.

And dry cracked heels don’t lust look awful, they also act as gateways for fungus. It’s also nigh on impossible to keep feet dry when you’re outdoors in winter—sweating in heavy socks to walking in the rain—which creates the perfect breeding ground for odours and bacteria. Now’s the time to put some Spring back in those heels.

Feet are prone to a build up of hard, dry skin. Thick emollient creams form a protective layer to reduce dryness. If you have a real problem use a foot file or pumice stone. Another good trick is to apply a thick layer of Vaseline to your heels and the balls of the feet just before you go to bed, then pull on a pair of socks and let it work overnight to smooth out hard skin.

It’s not the sweat that causes feet to stink— it’s their being a major feeding ground for bacteria, whose excretions lead to a bad smell. To battle odour, scrub your feet well, especially between the toes and under the toenails where dirt and dead skin lurk. Use an antibacterial soap if the problem is really bad. Don’t wear the same shoes day-in-day-out. Socks should be changed daily. Always wear socks made from natural fabrics such as cotton and wool. When exercising, though, pick socks with a synthetic component to wick away moisture. To control perspiration, spray your feet with antiperspirant or a foot deodoriser.


Shoes are crucial to foot health. Corns and calluses are caused by shoes or boots that don’t fit properly. Never buy shoes hoping they will stretch —they won’t. Constricting footwear leads to blisters and ingrown toenails. As you get older your feet get bigger, so have them measured regularly rather than doggedly sticking with the size that fitted you when you were 18.

Once a month, give your feet a treat. In the bath. Use a foot scrub to slough off dead skin. Wash feet and pat dry, then smooth on foot cream. To prevent ingrown toenails, clip nails straight across and file from side to middle with an emery board, rounding the corners.