7 Ways to Prep Your Feet for Summer

A black woman's feet with ankle bracelets on a sandy beach .

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Summer is here, and you know what that means – sandal season! Whether you're graduating, getting married or just hitting the beach, these tips will help you pull those hoofers out of the boots they've been hiding in and glam them up in no time.

1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

A Black woman in jeans moisturizes her feet with cream.

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As we age, the skin on our feet loses natural oils and moisture, leaving us with dry, cracked feet. Yes, moisturizing your feet daily keeps them looking fresh. But also, sandaled feet are more prone to picking up debris. If your feet are dry and cracked, that debris can get lodged in your foot, and your risk of infection grows. Keeping your tootsies moisturized will prevent cracks in the first place.

2. Get a pedi, if you dare.

A Black man puts his feet up on a blue towel as he gets a pedicure.

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Pedicures can lead to a whole host of less-than-savory foot problems. If the salon's soaking tubs or equipment are not completely sanitized, they can transmit toenail fungus and bacterial infections, according to the Cleveland Clinic. But if you do get a pedicure, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) suggests booking earlier in the day when the tubs are likely cleaner. When you're there, watch the salon's cleaning procedures as you wait, the Cleveland Clinic advises. Staffers should use hospital-grade disinfectant on tools and tubs between clients (if you can't tell what cleaners they're using, just ask). If they clean properly, you're good to go. If they don't, go somewhere else. And if you have a cut that hasn't completely healed on your feet or legs, don't get a pedicure, as cuts are easy access for germs to get into your system.

3. Get rid of dry heels for good.

A close up of dry cracked heels on grey fabric.

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Moisturize clean heels every night with lotion or petroleum jelly, then sleep with clean cotton socks on to help lock in the moisture. After you shower, but once your skin is dry, use a pumice stone to gently slough away dead skin cells. (Don't use a metal file, the Cleveland Clinic says, as it can tear your skin.) You can also try soaking your feet in lemon juice every few days to help soften the skin.

4. Trim toenails the right way.

A manicurist with blue nails pushes cuticles back on white feet.

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Clip your toenails straight across instead of rounding them, the APMA says. Nails cut at an angle can turn into an ingrown toenail. Also, if you're getting a pedicure, tell the technician to push cuticles back as opposed to cutting them. Cuticles serve as a barrier to prevent dirt and debris from getting into your skin, according to the APMA.

5. Brighten dull, yellow nails.

A lemon wedge on a burlap piece of fabric sitting on a wood table.

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If you always have your nails polished, particularly with dark colors, it's possible the dyes from the polish will stain your nails. To remove the stains and brighten nails, rub a lemon wedge on your nails for about one minute.

6. Cure sweaty feet.

A black man takes socks off in his bed with gym accessories on the floor.

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If your socks are damp with sweat, take them off as soon as possible to keep the air circulating around your feet and lessen your risk of fungal infection. If your feet are sweaty from a trip to the gym or being in shoes all day, shower as soon as possible or at least rinse off your feet. A natural trick you can try, courtesy of Men's Health: Brew a few teabags of black tea, let it cool, add two quarts of cool water and let your feet sit in it for 30 minutes. Do this for a week. The tannins in the black tea will help slow sweat production.

7. Pick the right flip-flops or sandals.

Three black women wearing flip flop sandals as the cross the road.

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If you plan to wear them every day, invest in a decent pair. The kind you can buy for $3 that bend in half? Not ideal. Those don't provide the proper support, leaving you more open to injury while wearing them. The APMA says to choose sandals with a sole that "doesn't twist excessively" and opt for natural materials, such as soft leather. If you're sporting a wedge sandal, try a wider, flatter wedge, and look for rubber soles for good traction. Lastly, make sure your sandal fits properly — toes or heels shouldn't hang off the ends of the shoe, the APMA says.