Our feet go through a lot of punishment day in and day out, whether they're crammed into heels, forced to run on hot sand or made to run for the tube in uncomfortable work shoes. Never is this worse than during the summer though when you will be likely to want to wear unsupportive sandals with no heel, when it will be hot and humid and cause your feet to sweat and when your feet might even expand in the heat. So how do you go about keeping your feet cool and enjoying summer style while avoiding a range of foot problems.
Sandals and open-toed shoes are a good start. These solve the problem of having your feet sweat which can worsen chaffing, Athlete's foot and more. At the same time though they also don't provide much support. If you're flat footed then this will mean your feet quickly get tired and achy, and if you're prone to twisting your ankle then don't expect this to change. Likewise it's easy to get sandals that rub on your bear skin and cause all kinds of problems as a result.
The solution is of course to get sandals that do support you, and they do exist if you look around. Some for instance will have a padded inside and this helps to give you a little support. Likewise looking for sandals with a slight heel will help you to walk as you're used to, and you will benefit from a more natural stride as a result too. This prevents plantar fasciitis which is a burning sensation in the heel which often gets worse as a result of people wearing flat sandals and flip flops. Makes such as Orthaheel and FitFlop are designed for summer with plantar fasciitis in mind. Then there are those Roman style sandals with the straps that come up the ankle – the good news is that they're highly fashionable at the moment, and as an added bonus they will help to give your ankle support which is what's sorely missing from many summer shoes. Find sandals also with adjustable straps and make new holes if necessary to prevent rubbing.
You also need to make sure that your sandals strap up in a way that doesn't rub and cause aggravation that way. Be weary of straps going between your big toe and second toe as these can cause considerable discomfort and even pain. Likewise be weary of those that rub on your Achilles' tendon as this is also a common complaint. Look for sandals that are made from a soft leather and be sure to wear them in around the house for a while.
Trainers are another option for the summer that are generally very padded and supportive. These are designed for sports so you can rest assured that they will provide your feet with the comfort that they need. For trainers to be appropriate for the summer though, then you will need to make sure that they're nicely breathable. Thankfully this is a consideration that many trainers have already taken on board for sports reasons so just look around for the lightest and breeziest trainers you can find.
You might be tempted not to wear socks as it's summer but this is a mistake. While you might think it would be cooler, in reality all it will do is cause your feet to sweat inside the shoe and that will make it hotter while also causing problems like bunions and Athlete's foot. Furthermore it will smell to high heaven – so instead pack trainer socks which will be invisible and so not a fashion offense when worn with shorts, and which will protect your feet from sweat and prevent rubbing. Choose thin and light socks though that will also be breathable.
Sandals are great for the summer and great for airing problem feet. But they are not always acceptable and you may not be allowed to wear them to work and probably doing want to wear them out clubbing. So when you have to wear shoes what can you wear instead?
Pumps: For women pumps are a smart option these are quite breathable and leave a lot of the foot exposed allowing it to get enough cool air. You need to be careful here though because they don't provide much support and can also be quite sweaty. If you want pumps, then look for ankle socks that you can wear inside them to prevent any pains.
On a night out it is possible to get foldable pumps that you can store in your handbag and this is a great way to give yourself a break from very high heels. If you have problem feet though, then very high heels are not really a good idea in general and you should be more sensible and wear a slight heel.
Shoes: Smart shoes for men or for women pose the largest problem – and especially as these are what you are going to be wearing throughout your working day or while you dance the night away. You need to make sure then that these are highly supportive both around the ankle and for the lower foot and that they encourage a good stance and stride (that means they'll need a slight heel again). While you want a heel though you need to make sure that your heels are not too high as this can cause more problems than it solves and cause you to twist your ankle among other things.
Again try to choose orthopedic shoes that support your feet as much as possible, and remember to still wear socks. If you have sweat related problems or skin problems on your feet, then try filling your socks with talcum powder which can prevent them from perspiring quite so much and also prevent chaffing.
Again it's possible to get shoes that are more breathable for the summer and this can help you to prevent your feet from sweating or getting too hot. You should also make sure that your heel is as supported as possible.
Finally your smart shoes should have a lot of space around the toe area and you should be able to comfortably wiggle all of your toes and move them about without restriction. This can prevent bunions and avoid worsening existing cases of bunions – which is where the big toe is bent slightly inwards causing slight pain. This is also particularly important in the summer however as you will find that your feet expand slightly in the heat – so what was previously 'just enough room' can quickly become cramped and uncomfortable. So make sure to have enough space so that a little growth is not a problem.
Note: For a range of problems involving your gait such as rickets, specially designed orthopedic shoes can be a great help and can support your feet in the right places and correct your stride. If you have such a problem then spend a little extra money getting shoes designed to fit, and be sure to get designs for every time of year.