Summer Shoes That Cause the Most Discomfort

The summer months mean it’s time to break out your favorite flip-flops, flats, boat shoes, espadrilles and more.

These styles can cause a lot of discomfort for a range of reasons. Often it’s because we forgo socks, or because a combination of sweat, sunscreen and sand leaves sandal straps chafing our feet. Plus, the heat causes the foot to swell, which means shoes that fit well when you put them on might become uncomfortable throughout the day.

Here, Footwear News is rounding up a few summer shoe styles that can be uncomfortable and what to do about it.

After a day spent on the beach or by the pool, your feet are probably a little sweaty or wet from spending time in the water — then sand gets all over them. If you walk straight off the beach, you’ll be walking into a situation where your sandal strap might rub the sides or top of your foot, causing blisters. Your best bet is to rinse off your feet if you can and then be sure to dry them. This is key in order to prevent rubbing.

Boat shoes
Whether you’re actually spending time on a boat or not, these can become uncomfortable after many hours of wear, particularly because they’re often worn without socks. If you can, try wearing pedi-socks that won’t show. Another issue with closed-toe summer shoes is the potential for athlete’s foot. Dr. Joan Oloff, a California podiatrist, suggests flossing in between toes with gauze after showering to make sure the area is both clean and dry, eliminating a breeding ground for bacteria.

The signature jute rope soles make espadrilles a summer favorite. Often, brands only protect your foot from direct contact with the rope with a heel pad. But this isn’t always enough. Look for narrow shoe inserts or ones that can be trimmed so you can customize them to work with your shoe.

Closed-toe flats or heels
If your toes are wedged inside closed-toe flats or heels, that can be another situation that causes a warm climate inside the shoe. This can lead to painful blisters. Try walking to work in open-toe flats or sneakers with socks, and changing once you’re inside an air-conditioned building to avoid too much time spent in constricting footwear.

Another key summer shoe tip for both adults and kids from New York podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Sutera: “If it doesn’t fit in the store, don’t try breaking it in.”

Want more?

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5 Tips From a Podiatrist for Getting Your Feet Ready for Summer

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