As a girl who’s spent more than half of her life in her own strappies—think multi strands, ankle cuffs, and even chiffon wraps over a set of spindly heels—I’ve come to realize it’s not about the pair of shoes you pick to wear, but the way in which you care for your feet before and after use.
Like you, I’m no stranger to wincing while giving my feet a good rubdown the morning after a crazed night of bar hopping. For a cheap fix, I sometimes pack a tennis ball in my tote and secretly roll my soles over it underneath my work desk. It provides a surprisingly magical release for the misery of cramped muscles and kinked tissues.
When the American Podiatric Medical Association reported that 87% of women have foot problems from wearing painfully ill-fitting shoes, it got me thinking about serious foot care and what can I do to preserve my tender tootsies while still partying like its 1999 in strappy sandals this holiday season.
I turned to Deborah Lippmann, the founder and creative director of her luxury beauty line of the same name, who offered some basic tips. “Foot care is extremely important, and it often gets forgotten,” she said. “Going to the salon to get a pedicure isn’t enough—regular maintenance is key, and should be part of your routine. Keep foot care products such as the Soul Mission Foot Scrub, a foot file, and callus softener in the shower year-round so that it’s not a huge undertaking. Spend 30 seconds on each foot at least twice a week.”
I committed myself to a 5-step program to help relax the foot muscles, prevent ugly blisters, and lessen the likelihood of bunions. For starters, a good ‘ole foot soak with Dr. Teal’s Peppermint Foot Soak ($4.89) relieves weary foot pain and swelling by increasing magnesium levels and drawing out lactic acid and impurities. Peppermint is often regarded as ‘the world’s oldest medicine, known for its relaxing, cooling effects on the body and mind. I just pour 1/2 a cup of the Epsom salt into a tub of simmering hot water and soak for 15-20 minutes.
Then, before stepping out, I get a good foot scour with Lippmann’s Soul Mission ($38), a cosmeceutical grapefruit scrub that uses semi-grainy crystals to exfoliate rough patches and essential oils to hydrate. A quick one-minute rubdown with a dollop on each foot stimulates circulation, making it feel as though you’re walking on air.
For daytime moisturizing, I tried the blister protectant Sole Goddess ($18). This cutesy, lipstick-sized balm was actually inspired by sports sticks that marathon runners use to prevent chafing. The invisible balm, which applies like a chapstick, feels a bit waxy, but it prevents any slip n’ slide in my strappies and I can wear the product with any type of material and not have it stain my sandals. I wore it for five hours while breaking in a new pair of Mary Jane pumps and felt no friction.
For an overnight emollient, I want the thickest, lushest cream possible. The 100% organic Erbaviva’s Refreshing Foot Balm ($15) is fantastic for using under a pair of cotton socks. The creamy shea butter sinks in while you sleep to replenish moisture, while ginger, rosemary and cypress oils relieves any swelling from long wear.
For preemptive care, a pair of reusable Tip Toes Technogel ($8.95) helped absorb intense shock on pressure points. I was convinced after one try that the pads of my feet were protected and relaxed, even when walking on those earthquake-ravaged sidewalks we see all too often. These are going to be a must-have moving (walking?) forward.
Within days of caring for my feet, I was happily strutting back to my local Jimmy Choo store. I’ve got these strapping dazzlers in my sights—and my tennis ball and Technogel in tow, of course.
A native Angeleno, Navdeep Mundi is a Leo, hates cilantro, and has studied beauty products for more than 18 years. She spends her days directing media and strategy and her nights sniffing out slightly quirky yet impeccably pretty things along with her German Shepherd, Le Tigre.