Be kind to your feet this summer

It’s finally time to break out the sandals, but sometimes the combination of heat, sun and sweaty shoes can be tough on your toes. Here are four tips to help keep your feet healthy and looking good all summer:

Take protective steps.

You’re good about slathering sunscreen on your face, arms and legs, but do you do the same for your ankles, toes and soles? Skin cancer can occur on any unprotected part of your body, and experts say melanoma of the foot and ankle is prevalent. It often goes unnoticed in its earliest stages, which results in a higher mortality rate.

Skip flip-flops on most days.

They may be your first pick for summer footwear, but research shows they can be painfully bad for your feet. Investigators at Auburn University found that when people walk in the thong-style versions, they change their gait, which can result in foot, ankle and leg pain. They’re fine in moderation, experts say; just make sure to choose a sturdy pair with cushioning and arch support, and replace them at the first signs of wear and tear. The American Podiatric Medical Association lists approved brands at

Keep your feet dry.

About one-third of Americans have sweaty, smelly feet. Some strategies: Wash them daily with soap and water and dry carefully, especially between the toes; rub cornstarch or swipe antiperspirant on your soles; air out sweaty shoes before wearing them again; and choose natural or synthetic blend socks that wick away moisture.

Go bare at home only.

You may love the feeling of fresh-cut grass on your feet or warm sand between your toes, but shedding your shoes outdoors can increase your odds of contracting plantar warts, athlete’s foot (a fungus) or other bacteria; it also leaves your feet at risk for cuts and scrapes from debris, and that can lead to injury and infection.

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