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Casual Shoes & Socks

Foot Care 101

Feet: something our entire body depends on, yet, are too often taken for granted.  Men, especially, tend to ignore these invaluable body parts that are the foundation of which we stand.  Think about it… your feet carry and support every pound of your body weight.  That’s a big job!

It’s not until there’s a problem that most men pay attention and take care of their feet the way they deserve.  Well, we have no more excuses.  Let’s take a look at some foot care guidelines, so your feet will remain happy, healthy and ready to roll.

Keep Em Clean

  • Wash and dry your feet daily; paying close attention to drying in between the toes.  Bacteria and fungus love moist feet.
  • Wear shower shoes when showering in a public shower, including hotel bathtubs.  This will help avoid picking up any nasty whatevers… primarily athlete’s foot (foot fungus).
  • Clean and disinfect your own shower or tub frequently, which will keep it and your feet looking good.  Disinfecting is especially important if you or someone else in your household has foot or toenail fungus.
  • For dry skin, choose from a countless assortment of foot creams, lotions, etc. that can be found in drug stores and other retail shops.
  • If you get professional pedicures, bringing your own tools is best, in order to avoid the possibly of unsterilized tools that were used on the last guy from touching your feet.  If this is not possible, make sure your nail salon follows proper sanitation protocol.
  • Pamper your feet with soaks and massages.  They’ll love you for it!

 

Nail Care

  • Keep them short, but not so short that tissue on the edges and under the nail is exposed.  Overly short nails will cause hangnails and ingrown toenails, which can be very painful; not to mention will invite infection.  Use a nail clipper whose cutting edge is curved, which follows the natural curve of the nail.
  • If you’re unable to trim your own nails, find a nail salon or podiatrist to assist you.  Guys, there’s nothing worse than long toenails, so take care of business!
  • Clean dirt and lint from your nails.  Besides looking scary, nails will resist disease and infection easier if kept clean.

 

Wear Socks

  • Choose breathable, moisture wicking socks to keep feet dry.  Cotton and wool socks are great choices, since both fabrics are natural and allow sweat to evaporate; however there are specialty socks made of synthetic materials, which also wick moisture away.  A dry environment is essential to keeping feet fungus free.  Moist feet and shoes not only stink, but they are prime breeding grounds for bacteria and fungus.
  • Avoid wearing nylon, polyester and other un-breathable socks for very long, since they cause feet to sweat.  As soon as you can remove them, do so!
  • Don’t wear socks that are tight and squeeze toes together.
  • Don’t wear socks that are too loose and bunch up around your foot when wearing shoes.
  • Socks protect feet from blisters, also, so unless you’re wearing sandals, socks should always be worn… for fashion’s sake, as well!
  • Change your socks daily.  Even if you don’t bathe, ditch the dirty socks for the sake of foot health and those around you!

 

Shoes

  • Shoes must fit properly to avoid problems like bunions, hammertoes, calluses, corns, blisters, etc.  Wearing tight shoes that pinch or cause pressure points will only cause discomfort and serious foot health issues.
  • Measure feet whenever purchasing new shoes.  Not all shoes are sized the same, so what fits you in an oxford, may not in a tennis shoe.  Be sure new shoes have no pressure points, and your heel doesn’t slip out when walking, which can cause blisters.
  • Rotate shoes, so you don’t wear the same pair everyday.  Shoes need time to air out, which helps eliminate odor and wet environments where bacteria and fungus thrive.
  • Wear activity-appropriate shoes, and shoes with enough cushioning to keep feet comfortable.  Insoles are a great option for anyone who stands for long periods of time and needs extra cushioning.
  • If you’re in need of arch support, choose shoes that have build-in support or buy insoles.  Often, over the counter arch supports don’t do a whole lot, so a trip to a podiatrist (foot doctor) might be necessary to get quality arch supports.
  • Choose shoes made of breathable material.  Leather and canvas shoes were the only options for years, and although you can’t go wrong with either; there are now many breathable shoes available to keep our feet comfortable.

 

I think it’s safe to say the most common foot problems men deal with are athlete’s foot and toenail fungus, which are caused by the same fungus.  There are many over-the-counter products that address these issues; however, toenail fungus is very difficult to eradicate, so you may need to see your doctor for a prescription antifungal pill, which has the greatest success rate.  The medication usually needs to be taken for up to six months, is expensive, and is not a guarantee.  The best way to prevent toenail fungus is to avoid getting athlete’s foot, since the fungus spreads from the skin of your feet to the nail.  Treat feet with an antifungal at the first sign of athlete’s foot.  Treatment options come in cream, powder, lotions and sprays – something for everyone.

Caring for your feet should be something we all do regardless of age or walk of life.  It’s not just for women anymore.  Modern men are expected to care for their entire body, which not only keeps us healthier, but ups our image and reflects the attentive and responsible guys we are.  Now, everyone take off your shoes and have a look!

by Aaron Marino


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