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How to care for your feet in winter

We created articles in the summertime that talked about giving your feet a makeover before they’re unveiled to the world in an array of sandals and flip-flops. In winter, because you will likely wear socks, tights or stockings to keep your feet and legs warm, you may believe that you don’t need to keep up with any footcare practices. However, there are lots of things you should be doing to keep your feet in good shape throughout the winter.

Person standing barefoot in snow

Replace the moisture

During colder weather, the skin on our feet doesn’t get the same opportunity to breathe or be exposed to the environment as they would through the summer months. It can easily dry out and become itchy, which is why it’s a good idea to moisturise regularly—particularly after a hot bath or shower, to lock the moisture in.

Products such as Burt’s Bees’ Coconut Foot Cream or L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream are great, as they also aim to soften the skin during the process.

Cracked heels

The skin on your heels can dry out more than anywhere else on your foot, and if left unattended, this can prove really painful. If the skin cracks, this could give bacteria and infections access to your bloodstream.

Either during or after a bath, apply a little pressure on your heels with a pumice stone. Rub your heels gently and any old or dead skin should flake away. Then apply an emollient type of moisturiser or one specifically made for cracked heels. These will be thicker and richer than standard moisturisers and will help to soften the layers of hardened skin that have formed.

It’s a good idea, after moisturising your cracked heels at the end of the day, to then wear a clean pair of cotton socks to bed. This technique really keeps the moisture in, and you’ll notice that the skin on your heels will soften considerably after a week or so if you keep to this routine.

Against the elements

As the winter months tend to bring an abundance of cold and wet weather, your feet may become damp if you’re outdoors. Wellies and walking boots may protect you from puddles and the snow, but the materials of such may cause your feet to sweat.

You could get caught out on what looks like a dry day—be lulled into wearing comfortable-but-permeable footwear, which would offer little protection if it suddenly decided to pour down. Mother Nature likes to have her fun.

If you do find yourself squelching home (aim to deal with your wet feet as soon as you’re able), don’t just dry your feet off with a towel—take the time to properly wash and care for them. There may be bacteria, grit, parasites or other kind of microbes in the puddles on the street, and just moving them about with a towel might not prevent them from taking up residence in your nooks and crannies (or even worse, your bloodstream).

Person wearing warm socks propped up on a desk with tea and cookie

Foot spas aren’t just good for the soul, they allow you to fully immerse your feet in water to quickly clean them. By adding a soupcon of antibacterial solution, you can help kill off any nasty bugs, etc. Once you’ve fully washed your feet, dry them off with a clean towel (a dirty one will only undo your efforts) and put on a pair of clean, dry socks.

Give footwear time to dry

Wet feet aren’t just uncomfortable, over time, they can lead to infections, sore skin and pain. If you do succumb to the beast that is Mother Nature and your footwear becomes saturated, make sure they dry out fully before wearing them again. Place them in front/on top of a radiator to speed up the process.

This advice doesn’t just apply to general footwear; it also applies to items worn on your feet that are waterproof. By their nature, the latter may repel water on the outside of the foot, but the materials they’ll likely be made of could make your feet sweat on the inside, causing the inner materials to become damp.

Icy issues

It’s undoubtedly more difficult to walk around when it’s icy and/or snowy outside. If you haven’t got waterproof footwear with plenty of grip on the bottom, consider investing in some. The last thing you want is to cause damage to your feet (or any other part of your body) from a slip or fall.

You can buy grips that can be slipped over/onto your existing shoes that have spikes on the bottom, which will help you secure a firm footing if the ground is slippery. If you’re intent on walking through rocky areas covered in snow and ice, you can even buy crampons and chain solutions that can be fitted to your existing boots.

Caring for your feet should be an all-year round commitment, if you wish to keep them in good health. The methods you should adopt in winter may be more practical than prettifying, but they are just as necessary—if not more so—than the steps you take when the sun comes out and all eyes are on your feet.


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