If there’s one thing that most self-respecting gents like, it’s a good pair of mens shoes. But you can’t have shoes without feet, and it’s a good idea to look after them.
Without looking after them you could risk getting smelly feet, losing all your friends and resultantly living a life in tragic solitude. Okay, it’s not really that bad, but if you don’t look after your feet you could be looking at some serious health problems.
So here’s what to do.
1. Keep your feet clean
Just as you wash your hands after going to the toilet (we hope), you should wash your feet after you’ve used them, i.e. at the end of the day. It can be part of your bathing routine, and by keeping your feet clean with soap and water you are limiting the amount of harmful bacteria that can do damage.
2. Keep your feet dry
This doesn’t mean that you have to take the above to the extreme, like taking your feet to the dry cleaners, but it does mean that you have to give your feet a properly good dry after you have cleaned them. When you clean a worktop you get rid of sitting water as this is where the bacteria thrives. The same rules apply for your feet and especially between your toes.
3. Remove hard skin
Hard skin can crack and become painful, so to combat this you need to gently remove the offending skin and pay special attention to calluses. It’s easiest to do this after showering or having a bath, but be gentle and use a proper pumice stone. Don’t go all DIY and use some sandpaper to get the job done.
4. Use moisturiser
Isn’t that just for ladies? Well, no. In fact, male grooming products are a multi-million pound industry, with 2012 estimates valuing it at around £574m. Keeping your feet soft will lead to shoes feeling more comfortable and your feet having less hard skin (meaning less of step three!).
5. Cut your toenails
Not only does it look nicer if you have well trimmed toenails, but it also limits the amount of bacteria that they can hold. Additionally, if you have nicely trimmed nails then you avoid the risk of nails digging into your toes. When trimming your nails, cut across; cutting down or at an angle can help to cause ingrowing toenails.
6. Try on shoes later in the day
Got a new pair of leather shoes and want to try them on? If you wait until later in the day your feet will be at their widest, thanks to natural swelling. If they fit then, they will fit at any point.
7. Change your socks regularly
Not only should you make sure your socks are high in natural fibres, such as wool or cotton, to maximise breathability, you should also make sure you change them every day. This will limit bacteria build-up, which in turn will limit smells and the chances of nasty things attacking your feet!
8. Keep it clean in communal areas
If you’re a keen swimmer or use shared changing facilities then it’s a good idea to stay safe against the scourge of verrucas and other foot fungi. The easiest way to go about this is to keep your feet as clean as possible and to wear flip flops in these communal areas. Just don’t wear them too much…
9. Don’t wear flat shoes too much
Most shoes will have a slight arch, which is designed to mimic the human foot. Some unfortunate folk may have fallen arches already, but you can improve foot arch health by limiting the time spent in flip flops and the like. These relaxed footwear choices don’t have the arch of classic mens shoes, so can damage the natural shape of your feet over time.
10. Get the right shoes for the job
If you’ve ever done gardening in a pair of leather slippers, or worked out in some Chelsea boots, you are putting your feet at risk. Different tasks have different hazards, but the right shoes can help negate them. Some boots have steel toecaps for a reason.