When the mercury rises, shorts and swimsuits go on and the shoes come off. But  Robert Thompson, Executive Director of the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, says going barefoot during the summer is a bad idea.

“Bare feet are obviously exposed to injuries of all sorts, including slivers from unfinished wooden floors or even glass shards. At the beach, hot sand can literally burn the bottoms of your feet. Bare feet can also fester blisters, resulting in potential infections.”

Choose the proper shoes

 “We recommend closed toe shoes or sandals with a heel strap or a closure over the top of the shoe to help keep them on,” Thompson explains. “Ankle straps help support the ankles. A shoe with a good arch support is pretty important too.”

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), limit flip-flops to the pool, beach or hotel bathroom. Doing so can reduce the chance of contracting a bacterial infection. 

Be prepared

To avoid burns, APMA suggests applying sunscreen, especially to the ankle area. Keep a supply of antibiotic cream to treat skin injury, along with blister pads, bandages, pumice and soothing aloe vera.

To prevent heat-related odors, use foot powder. For tired feet, soak in Epsom salts and teabags. During hot weather it's also important to stay hydrated, to minimize any foot swelling.

Thompson, a certified pedorthist, points out, “Feet take us everywhere, every day. Foot health is key to mobility and general well-being.”