Most of us spend the majority of our time with our feet encased in shoes and end up inviting chronic problems such as blisters, muscle cramps, stinky sneakers, and aching feet at the end of the day.
But there’s a way to avoid this; 12 ways, to be precise. For anybody looking for easy solutions to caring for your feet and keeping your footwear working for you, here are 12 genius tips for a happier, healthier life on two feet.
1. Freshen stinky shoes with baking soda
Try as we might, when the weather is hot, it can be impossible to keep our footwear fresh. Try sprinkling a little baking soda into stinky shoes and let them sit overnight. The baking soda will absorb the unpleasant odor and your shoes should smell almost as good as new in the morning.
2. Reclaim whiteness using toothpaste
Toothpaste makes for a surprisingly effective cleaning agent for dirty sneakers. Using an old toothbrush, scrub a little toothpaste into both the rubber edges and fabric of your (previously white) shoes. Leave them for a few minutes, and then wipe away the toothpaste with a damp towel to give your kicks a new lease of life.
3. Treat stained leather with rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is capable of many things, including frost prevention and removing dog ticks, says Reader’s Digest. It is also capable of safely removing stains from leather shoes.
Soak up a little rubbing alcohol with a cotton ball, then rub over the stains on the shoes and let the liquid work its magic for half an hour. There’s no need to wipe clean; the alcohol will evaporate.
4. Shine shoes with petroleum jelly
If you wear patent leather shoes, you can keep their shiny exterior looking as good as new with an occasional application of petroleum jelly. Add a little jelly to a clean cloth and gently rub it into any scuff marks on the patent leather. Use a little extra for an overall shoe shine.
5. Make suede stains disappear using a nail file
A nail file can help remove stubborn stains from the surface of suede shoes. First, attempt to remove as much of the stain as possible with a soft cloth; if a small stain remains, gently rub the spot with a nail file so that the mark is less noticeable.
6. Stretch tight shoes using a hairdryer
This hack is perfect for anybody trying to break in new shoes. Apply a little heat from a hairdryer to the tightest areas; this will help the material to loosen and allow your feet to mold your new shoes more easily to the shape of your own feet.
7. …or, stick them in the freezer
Just as heat can do the trick, so can cold! Fill two freezer bags with water, seal them shut, then place the bags inside your too-tight shoes.
Place the shoes in the freezer and let them sit overnight to give the water a chance to freeze. The freezing water will expand and gently stretch out the walls of your shoes. Retrieve your shoes from their icy vacation in the morning, but allow the water to melt a little before taking out the freezer bags.
8. Improve grip by sanding the soles
Rubbing sandpaper across the soles of a new pair of shoes will create a textured surface, improving their traction. Alternatively, WikiHow suggests walking on a rough surface such as concrete, gravel, or rocks.
9. Make canvas shoes waterproof with beeswax
For canvas shoes that you wear in rainy or snowy weather, improve your comfort by making them waterproof. “All you need to do,” says Lifehacker, “is cover your canvas shoes with beeswax, and then use a blow dryer to work it into the shoes.”
While your shoes will become effectively waterproof, the fabric will no longer breathe well, so you might want to reserve these shoes for the cooler months.
10. Tape toes together to prevent cramping
High-heeled shoes place a tremendous amount of strain on the nerves that run through your toes. To alleviate this strain, you can try taping your second and third toes together with medical tape; the ball of your foot will thank you, and you will be able to endure your heeled shoes for longer.
11. Prevent blisters with roll-on deodorant
Roll-on gel deodorant can function as an excellent lubricant for the areas of your skin that come into contact with tight shoes. Added bonus: they might just help to keep your feet fresh-smelling, too.
12. Soothe blisters with a tea bath
If blisters still occur despite your best efforts, then a wonderful way to alleviate discomfort is to soak your feet in a warm foot bath. Steep a couple of black or green teabags in the water first; the tea’s anti-inflammatory properties, says Everyday Health, will provide much-needed relief.
You can even apply the steeped tea bag directly to the affected area.
Which of these healing home hacks for happy feet will you be trying?