Sandal wearing season is upon us. It’s time to take your shoes off.
Illustration: Bennett Atkinson
Feet are gross. Sure foot fetishists would argue otherwise, but if you’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting one of those creeps then you’ll know that there are some things even grosser than feet.
Still, come summer and you need to take all ten little piggies to market, unless you want innocent bystanders to look down at your feet and go wee-wee-wee all the way home, you should show a modicum of decorum and make sure that your feet are summer ready.
It’s not just an aesthetic, vanity thing either. Ingrown nails, callouses, bunions and corns can put so much pressure on your feet that you literally start to walk funny and before you know it you’re immobile and a TLC episode. It’s a slippery slope, friend.
Which is why we asked Rosie Goddard to come up with a five-step programme to get summer feet and then supplemented this with healthy feet tips as recommended by a blush of beauty editors and our in-house sneaker heads.
So as your feet go from flawed to fabulous, these are the shoes to choose and how you can put your best foot forward.
Phase 1: Espadrilles
Summer has yet to begin meaning your feet probably aren’t picture perfect. Don’t jump the gun and go straight for sandals – the world isn’t ready! Ease yourself in with some espadrilles; they’re lightweight, comfortable and will reveal just the right amount of skin.
“Apply a rich cream or body butter (my favourite is the body shop peppermint foot cream) to your feet just before bed and sleep with some socks on. Your feet will be super soft and nourished in the morning.” Nandi Kai, freelance makeup artist.
Phase 2: Peep toes
You’ve been working hard and you’re keen to dip your toe into the water – but you’re not ready to go the whole hog. Peep toes are a great go-to if you’re feeling a little apprehensive and the best part is they work as both sandals and heels. Opt for the 70s-inspired mule and your shoe game will be on point.
"Prevention is better than cure. Keep your feet dry and then only wear footwear that fits right. You should also take time to put your feet up and give them a rest. If you do get a blister, don’t put a plaster on it, take your shoes off and allow it to dry out." – Brodi Deere, footwear buyer’s assistant.
Phase 3: Gladiator sandals
It’s time to progress to an open shoe and you want your first foray to be a good experience. Enter the gladiator sandal. While it’s fairly open, the multiple straps and buckles will ensure that you foot is not the star of the show. It’s best to start with a thicker style and progress to a more delicate version as your confidence grows.
“Some believe in massages, I believe in pedicures. To make mine last a whole chip-free month I apply a clear gel topcoat every week.” Margaux Knuppe, co-founder of rubybox.co.za and Expresso’s beauty expert.
Phase 4: Slides
You’re almost there – and your feet are in tip top shape so it’s important to protect them with a shoe that’s open yet comfortable. This is a job for slides. While they’re stylish and statement making, they’re also pared back meaning the focus is on you. Opt for silhouettes that are molded to the shape of the foot as they provide cushioning and support, aiding you in your quest for silky smooth perfection.
"If you wear the same lightweight footwear every day you’ll get cracked heels, hard skin and blisters. Mix up your footwear so that you’re not wearing the same thing two days in a row." – Romy Rabinovitz, womens footwear buyer.
Phase 5: Thong sandals and flip flops
Your feet are looking so good, it’s almost criminal that you have to wear shoes at all (unfortunately, this is not a thing). At this point, the shoe is merely a practical vehicle for your flawless feet, so go back to basics with thong sandals, strappy heels or even, dare I say it, flip flops.
“Think of all the colours that most flatter your toes this summer? From pastels to neons, to straight up bold shades. Now picture that with the most beautiful sandals your money can buy, put against your most unruly toes. Not so pretty, right? Just as we are seeing a more rigorous regime in skincare trends, your feet need an equal amount of TLC. Invest in an excellent foot file, a scrub with particles that you can actually feel exfoliating the dead skin off your feet, a cuticle care package (remover and oil) and buffer to smoothen it all out.” Araffa Mpungwe, contributing beauty editor.
And there you have it - your summer footwear plan sorted. Pack your boots away at the back of your cupboard, forget about socks and allow your feet to breathe in lightweight footwear options. Summer is here, enjoy sandal season!