We recently discussed tips on choosing the right summer shoes for your child. Now it’s time to focus on someone else: you!
One big advantage you have over kids is that your feet are not constantly growing like summer weeds. Find a pair of properly fitting shoes and they may last you several seasons—just make sure you truly find the best fit and you aren’t simply relying on the same shoe size numbers you’ve been going back to for years.
Some tips for shoe shopping are the same no matter your age, but let’s take an overview at summer shoe shopping from a grown-up perspective.
Flip-Flops Are Not for Trekking!
Flip-flops are as much a staple of summer as Jimmy Buffet songs, but their benefits for your feet are nearly non-existent.
They offer no support for your feet, and their minimalist design often leaves your toes subconsciously (if not consciously) clenching to keep them on. That leads to strain. The overall flimsiness of most models can also leave you more vulnerable to rolling your ankle and suffering a sprain.
We’re not going to tell you to swear off flip-flops forever, though, or to burn every pair you currently own. Flip-flops can be relatively fine if you’re just lounging in the backyard or sitting by your pool. If you’re planning on taking more than 100 steps during your time, though, we highly recommend wearing more stable and supportive footwear.
Look for Breathable Footwear and Socks
Increasing air flow around your feet during hotter months not only increases comfort, but reduces the sweat and moisture that can develop against your skin.
Our feet contain a higher concentration of sweat glands compared to most other areas of our skin. Increased moisture can contribute to several types of foot problems, from sliding friction that can cause blisters to creating a more suitable haven for fungi that cause toenail infections and athlete’s foot. Don’t forget about potential odor problems, either.
A mesh design tends to work well for both open- and closed-toed shoes, as do leather and canvas materials. If the shoe advertises an inner lining that helps wick moisture away from the feet, that too can be a plus—as long as it works.
If socks are part of the picture, what they’re made of can also make a big difference. Avoid certain synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester, which do not fare well at all in the heat. Cotton is a bit lighter and a more breathable choice, but can still soak up and retain a bunch of sweat.
Wool socks, for as cozy and warm a winter reputation they have, can also help keep feet cool with summer designs. While they absorb water like cotton, that moisture tends to be kept inside the fabric and away from the skin. Bamboo fibers also have similar properties, and specific synthetic compositions such as Coolmax fibers can help wick moisture away, too. Try them, and go with what feels best against your feet.
Keep Your Feet Protected if You Have Diabetes
You may not like to hear this, but open-toed footwear is not recommended if you are living with diabetes.
The long-term effects of diabetes can greatly increase the risks of infection from undetected damage to the feet. Leaving your feet exposed, especially outdoors, presents a higher risk of injury and infection.
If you are struggling to find a good pair of diabetic-friendly shoes that also feel good in summer, do not hesitate to contact us. We may have some suggestions for you.
Don’t Dive Directly into Sandals
It feels like many of us have some inner switch that suddenly gets flipped into “summer mode,” and it’s all grill-outs and swim parties from there.
The excitement is a good thing, but some people’s feet still need a bit of adjustment time from shoes to sandals.
If your feet have been softly and safely protected in socks over the past 6 months, going full force into sandals can cause some soreness, since your feet have not yet thickened the skin any to provide some extra protection and impact resistance.
Give your feet a bit of a transition period starting out, switching between your sockless and sock-requiring footwear over the first couple weeks or so.
But what about blisters from sandal straps? You can find plenty of advice articles out there with tips on building up resistance to straps rubbing against your skin and causing irritation—everything from pre-emptively wearing adhesive bandages to rubbing petroleum jelly, baby oil, or deodorant against your feet as a lubricant until the sandals have “broken in.”
But anything that needs to be “broken in” this way likely didn’t fit you well in the first place. It’s almost always a better idea to find sandals that do not rub against your feet so aggressively.
Don’t Let Foot and Ankle Problems Make Your Summer Fizzle
The pandemic has certainly cast some shadows over summer, but we want you to enjoy the season in the best and safest ways possible. Not having feet that hurt, easily blister, or are prone to infection is certainly a good place to start.
Call us at (208) 731-6321 to schedule an appointment at either of our offices in Burley or Twin Falls. If you prefer to reach us electronically, simply fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will reach out to you within 24 hours on standard office days.