Shapely legs sitting on a bed with a light bed in a warm and cozy bed. A woman sitting on a bed in her hands a cup of hot tea, she reads a book. long female legs in socks
Image: Shutterstock/Julia Luzgareva

Oh how we miss the days of summer—digging our feet into the sand and feeling their soft soles. As the weather becomes dryer, and we enter the season of dry, cracked skin, it’s important to winterize your feet. We winterize our homes and our cars, but your skin should be a top priority too! Follow this guide to softening and cleaning your feet so that they remain smooth and touchable all winter long.

First of all, applying lotion is a no-brainer. In the winter season, apply moisturizer as often as you can—before and after the shower, when you wake up, and before you go to bed. Wear socks on your feet after applying moisturizer to help them retain the product better. When choosing a moisturizer for dry skin, make sure it contains antioxidants. They’ll reduce free-radical damage and environmental damage. This is important because when your feet are dry, the outer layers of the skin have lost their ability to maintain normal moisture levels. Look for products that say either “skin-identical” or “skin-repairing.” These moisturizers will act as the glue between cracked skin, keeping your feet even and smooth. Emollients are a must-have for dry skin. They are essential to helping dry skin retain moisture.

Whatever you do, make sure your moisturizer doesn’t contain ingredients that can make your dry feet worse. Alcohol and fragrances can make your dry skin even worse or counteract the good ingredients. Even fragrances from lavender, lemon, rose, or mint should be avoided.

Another way to winterize your feet is to protect the soles of your feet throughout the day. Make sure you have plenty of support whether your winter weather conditions are severe or not. We typically wear tall fashion boots in the winter season, but these often have thin soles and can lead to back pain. Wear insoles if your shoes don’t give you enough support. This will prevent your feet from becoming too calloused and dry too.

One of our favorite parts about winter is wearing cozy socks all season long. Did you know stinky feet comes from the bacteria in moist socks and shoes and not your actual feet? Give your feet some breathing space this winter and take your shoes and socks off when you get home. This will keep them cleaner and will ultimately improve their overall health.

Lastly, don’t forget to take care of that pedicure. While we wear close-toed shoes on a regular basis, our toes can easily bump into the fronts of our shoes. Make sure you keep your toes trimmed, clean, and free of dirt. While you’re at it, try painting them a bright holiday red or in a deep navy or winter green.

Kate Wilke is a 200-RYT yoga instructor, meditation teacher, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She teaches and works with clients in Nashville, TN. She believes in self-care in the form of colorful, healthy cooking, daily walks with her dog, and a glass of red wine. Follow her on Instagram — @meditatekate