People seem to think that just because it’s hot outside, they have license to dress like a slob and slack off on grooming. Do you see ratty old t-shirts walking around in public? Have you ever had the misfortune of being downwind from someone who has slacked off on bathing? How about people who interpret “summer business casual” being the same thing as “cottage wear”?
There are guys out there who wear sandals or flip-flops and whether unconsciously or perhaps out of spite, show off their filthy toes. We don’t want to see this and in fact, it’s a bone of contention with me. There is no reason not to have clean feet and this week, lads, we’ll discuss the state of your feet and how to make them not only nicer to look at, but nicer to live with. Allow me to pass on some easy and practical tips on keeping your feet neat, how to wear summer footwear, and how to tend to summer foot ailments.
Don’t be lazy – pay attention to your feet
I had a boyfriend once who never washed his feet. He insisted that the water and soap lather used to clean the top of his body was enough to clean his feet as it ran over them. The concept of cleaning in between his toes with lather was somehow preposterous, so he never did.
I’m not sure that I ever actually saw his feet; they were in beaten up Blundstones or wool socks most of the time, but if I had seen his feet, or the way I imagined his feet would have looked without cleaning between his toes for an extended period of time, I’m not sure that I could have lived with it – women are more sensitive to things like this, I find.
Anyway, the point is, please make an effort while you’re in the shower to bend over and clean the top and bottom of the whole foot, then clean between your toes, otherwise the infamous toe jam begins to collect. Toe jam, the ” grey-brown shit that accumulates between your toes. Primarily composed of dead skin cells, sock fluff and sweat.” (Urban Dictionary).
Dirty feet and the smell of dirty feet is not welcoming to anyone so please take the time to bathe and groom your feet, using the following tips to get you there:
TIP #1: Go to the drugstore and buy a nail brush or a brush with a handle. Soap it up and give your feet a good going over - the brush, soap, water, and friction, cleans your feet, cleans under your toenails, sloughs off dead skin cells on the surface of your feet, and it feels good! Lean against the wall, hold your foot up and do it standing up, or sit on the tub floor and reach to clean – mind, there may be some flexibility needed for this method.
TIP #2: Regularly trim your toenails with a toenail clipper – they’re wider than fingernail clippers and easier to handle.
TIP #3: Sand, yes, I said sand your heels to file down your callouses. Soak, smooth down the hard skin, and follow with a moisturizer. You could use a pumice stone or find a paddle with an actual piece of sandpaper on it – the Body Shop used to make these but they don’t seem to carry them anymore. Check the drugstore or specialty spas for items mentioned here.
TIP #4: A clean foot will not make a filthy flip-flop look better. Scrub both sides of your rubber or plastic flip-flops (with your new nail brush if you want to) and get all of the crap out from the treads and surface texture. Do one at a time and compare – which one would you rather be seen in? Which one makes you feel better?
Nothing looks more uncomfortable than a guy in shorts with mid-length calf socks on, especially if they’re dress socks. Different socks for different reasons, lads: dress socks are for dress wear (i.e. suits), and for summer, should be made of cotton to keep the foot cool by wicking away perspiration.
Athletic socks (usually white) are worn at the gym or with sporty clothes and convey a youthful, energetic message, but don’t really work with casual looks if you’re not wearing gym shoes, and this includes shorts.
So what kind of sock to wear with shorts and a casual shoe to avoid looking like a dork? Men’s shorty socks, of course, also known as ankle socks or low-rise socks. They really make a tremendously cool difference. Also, because you’ll only see a whisper of them outside of your shoe, it may not matter what colour they are = less to think about/easy.
With heat comes sweat. Each of our feet contain 250,000 sweat glands. Any kind of friction on moist skin will case discomfort, wear at the skin, and maybe cause a blister. These are terrible and painful and can get infected if we don’t keep them clean.
TIP #5: To keep your foot drier and reduce friction on the foot, sprinkle powder on your foot after the shower to better absorb moisture – i.e. baby powder or Gold Bond powder.
Be aware of your foot in new seasonal footwear and be mindful of pressure and anything rubbing on your foot – this is where blisters and corns are born. There are lots of ways to remedy chafe, pressure, and blisters (before they start) like adhesive bandages, blister pads, and moleskin.
Moleskin? Not the real skin of moles of course, but a heavy, densely-woven cotton fabric that is sheared on one side to give a short pile, mimicking the skin of a mole. It is very durable and soft, used to make clothing (it’s windproof you know) or adhesive pads used inside of dance shoes or over blisters.
TIP #6: The moleskin is used much like an adhesive bandage roll, cut to the size you need and applied over the blister – good info here on this hiking website about how to prevent foot blisters.
Think of your foot as the state of your shoe – polished and well-kept, it reads respect – self and otherwise. I hope that makes your summer a little more comfortable and a little more stylish, fellas. Best wishes!