A group of friends with dark hair and different skin tones with their legs in the air

Of all the parts of your body, your feet experience some of the worst wear and tear. Because you use them to walk and run and dance and prance, they undergo so much friction that developing hard skin on the soles is practically inevitable. Callus removal, however, isn’t easy. As the cliche goes, prevention is better than cure – and the best way is to deal with calluses is to prevent the buildup of thick skin with proper foot care.

We pamper our hands, our face, our body, so why not our feet? Here are four tips you can treat your feet right.

1. Wear Sensible Shoes

When choosing footwear, comfort should be your top qualifier.

Donning improper footwear is one of the worst things you can do for your feet. Not only do ill-fitting shoes cause blisters as well as corn and calluses after prolonged wear, but they could also lead to foot pain and even deformity, according to a 2018 study in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research.

If you’re not concerned about the style of it all, then remember some of these considerations when choosing shoes. First, the fit must accommodate both the length and the width of your feet. According to research at the University of Michigan, when trying out footwear, check to see if it bends where your toe bends. Hold a shoe on both ends and see if you can twist it slightly. It will show you how much movement the shoe can provide. Check for arch support, too. The most significant qualifier, however? It has to feel comfortable.

Wear socks if your fashion sense allows for them. They reduce friction, reducing your chances of developing a callus, and absorb sweat, decreasing the likelihood of odor-causing bacteria.

We'll be honest, though: heels do look stunning, and sometimes we can’t help ourselves. If you subscribe to the notion that fashion is pain, then at least limit the discomfort. Bring a pair of flats or flip-flops so that you can give your precious feet a break from your sky-high stilettos whenever possible. According to Harvard Health, corns and calluses will go away on their own if you don't expose your feet to repeated friction.

2. Break in your shoes

Wearing socks with heels is controversial in the style world, but you’re just wearing them at home anyway.

Concerning the first tip, if you’re using shoes that demand a bit more rigor than your everyday “rubber shoes,” break them in first before you wear them in public.

Figure out the spots that need breaking in by wearing them around the house for an hour or so. Any place that feels sore or awkward definitely demands your attention. The easiest way to stretch out the tight areas of your footwear is to put on thick socks and wear your shoes around the house a few hours each day. If your shoes are leather, you can also run a hot hairdryer over them (while you’re wearing them) to loosen the material. 

3. Moisturize Your Feet

Your feet, like the rest of your body, are covered in skin, so why shouldn’t you moisturize them? If you’re applying lotion after your bath, don’t stop with your legs and neglect your feet! Based on another study in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, a moisturized foot can alleviate friction and improve xerosis or skin dryness.

An age-old footcare and callus removal trick is to slather Vaseline Petroleum Jelly all over the soles of your feet and cover them with socks overnight. It softens the thick skin, transforming your hardened feet to soft smoothness as you sleep. Rubbing petroleum jelly over your feet's callus-prone areas is also a secret among hardcore runners and marathoners. After all, it's a much easier hack than a callus removal.

4. Indulge in a Foot Spa

You can easily replicate a foot spa feel at your house with a few household items.

Even if you can’t go out to a spa or salon, you can still pamper your feet at home. Prepare a shallow basin of warm water. Add three cups of Epsom salt and three cups of vinegar. You can also squeeze a couple of lemons or add essential oil in the mixture if you want. Soak your feet for about 15 minutes to an hour. Make sure to add more hot water in case the water in the basin gets cold. 

Once you’re done soaking, pat your feet dry with a towel, then exfoliate the tough skin gently with a brush, pumice stone, or rough washcloth. Finish off your makeshift spa by putting lotion on your feet. 

Other methods for callus removal include applying salicylic acid or visiting your podiatrist for a minor procedure. You can skip all of this, however, if you just give your feet the love they deserve.