Looking Sharp at the Beach: Do Something About Your Ugly Feet

Submitted by SharpMan Editorial Team on Monday 11th October 2010
In this article
  • Grooming ugly feet.
  • Athlete’s foot.
  • Corns and calluses.

Check out the first installment of SharpGrooming’s Looking Sharp at the Beach series, devoted to matching your frame with a suit that flatters, and then continue reading about how to make those embarrassing feet of yours look great on the beach:

Grooming Those Ugly Feet

Some of us have ugly feet and toes. Whether you came by yours due to a bout of athlete’s foot or sports injury, you’re not alone. Most guys neglect their feet all winter long. By the time summer rolls around, awful smells, dead skin build-up and broken, dirty, chipped nails can make any guy self-conscious about walking barefoot on the beach. Of course, it’s never too late to get those nubs in shape for summer:

General Grooming and Nail Care

  • To solve the majority of unsightly foot problems, consider adding the following to your daily grooming regimen:
  • Wash feet every day in warm, soapy water (not hot water). Never soak your feet for more than ten minutes. Too much soaking in warm water can weaken the nails, which leads to breaking and chipping.
  • Dry feet thoroughly after every wash, especially between the toes where fungus predominates and it's easy for skin to become dry and cracked.
  • If the skin on your feet is dry, apply a lotion — but never apply it between the toes.
  • Change socks daily and always wear socks that allow your feet to breathe. Cotton is not a good option, because it is highly absorbent, so it sucks in moisture and lets your feet stew in it. Acrylic materials are best, because they wick the moisture away from your feet.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly. Tight-fitting shoes can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails.
  • When choosing your "everyday" shoes, opt for breathable, natural materials, such as canvas or leather. This is particularly important if your feet sweat a lot. When removing your shoes at night, do not stuff your socks back into the shoes — give the interior a chance to dry out. Give your "everyday" shoes a break every couple of days to ensure at least one full day of airing out.
  • To avoid ingrown nails, watch the way you trim your nails. Never round off nails or dig in at the sides — this can cause nails to grow inwards into the skin (ingrown toenails). Instead, cut straight across at the top of the toe. The best way to do this is to use toenail clippers designed to cut straight across the length of the nail, commonly available at your local drugstore.

Dealing with Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is caused by a fungus that grows in moist, warm areas. The condition manifests itself with peeling skin or areas of redness on the feet. Some people also suffer from uncontrollable itching and an unpleasant foot odor. The bottom line? If you have this condition, your feet look bad.

If your feet sweat a lot or spend the majority of the day in dress shoes or athletic shoes, you are likely to be prone to this condition. If you already have athlete’s foot, don’t waste any time. Visit your physician or podiatrist for a topical anti-fungal ointment and follow up with these tips for preventing (and preventing the spread of) athlete’s foot:

  • Never wear the same socks two days in a row. If you have a chance to do so, switch to a dry pair of socks between your day and evening activities.
  • Wear socks made from fabrics that will wick moisture away from the foot; acrylic is particularly good. Cotton is too absorbent, so avoid it.
  • Allow your feet to breathe by wearing leather or canvas shoes.
  • Switch off between two different pairs of shoes— this allows one pair to dry out completely before it is worn again.
  • Use a good quality foot powder to cut down on sweating. An over-the counter product like Micatin works well for most SharpMen. Simply sprinkle some of the powder into each sock in the morning. Note: disregard this tip if you are currently under the care of a physician.
  • Wear sandals or flip-fops in locker rooms at the gym and around the pool to protect your feet from other men’s fungi.

For more information on this topic, see SharpHealth’s Scratching Out Athlete’s Foot.

Preventing and Treating Corns and Calluses

Many guys, particularly those who do a lot of walking or engage in athletic activity, have feet riddled with corns and calluses — great for walking on glass, bad for showing your feet. Corns and calluses are caused by a thickening of the skin, which builds up in layers on the toes (corns) and heels (calluses) of your feet. If you’re self-conscious about these, consider:

  • Corns and calluses are often caused by ill-fitting shoes. Make sure your shoes are the right fit.
  • Walking barefoot is another cause of corns and calluses. Consider throwing on a pair of thongs the next time you’re planning to stroll over rough terrain.
  • If removal is what you require, you’ll find a variety of no-pain and no-brainer remedies sold over-the-counter. For a two-in-one corn and callus treatment, try Dr. Scholl's Liquid Corn & Callus Remover.
  • If corns and calluses persist, you may have a problem that cannot be remedied at home. For example, you may walk or position your foot in a way that promotes the growth of corns and calluses. If this is the case, make an appointment to visit your podiatrist for an "orthotic" insert, a device worn in your shoes that corrects foot position and abnormal foot motion.

For more foot care tips, check out Tips for SharpMen with Dry, Cracked Heels.

This article last updated on Wednesday 13th October 2010
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