Real men get pedicures, says our resident grooming expert - but if yours can't be dragged to a salon, there are a clutch of great foot-softening products to get on his bathroom shelf
Markedly worse than cold feet under the duvet is the sensation of having your calves clawed to smithereens by your partner’s toe talons. Men tend to disregard the state of their feet on the simple basis that they’re hidden from view for most of the day. Snug footwear, pounding pavements and over-clipping are the prime culprits when it comes to unsightly feet among men.
By flip-flop season, the cumulative effect of such shameful neglect can become a public offence. There is the issue of foot funk, ingrown and discoloured nails, corns, calluses and a variety of other vomitous podiatric afflictions. A salt-water foot bath and a quick once-over with a pair of clippers are all well and good but, short of amputation, the only effective solution for man hooves is… a pedicure.
And herein lies the problem. The suggestion of a quick pedi will inevitably conjure up images of pink toweling robes, crying into a vat of Haagen-Dazs and playing spin the bottle with those bitches from the Lacrosse team (which, depending on his more private inclinations, may or may not be regarded as "fun").
The reality of a medical pedicure, however, has more in common with a visit to a psychotic dentist. The professional procedure involves Black & Decker style drills, picks and buffers; sterilised instruments of torture designed to perform a variety of heavy-duty tasks that would be impossible / dangerous to achieve at home with a pair of clippers and a pumice stone.
Moreover, a trained professional can go about the job of removing hard, horn skin without damaging any living tissue (we recommend the resident experts at Margaret Dabbs’ Marylebone salon; margaretdabbs.co.uk )
And best of all, employing a certified podiatrist will save you from having to handle his feet yourself. But if there's absoutely no way to get him to a professional, try these...
Foot Recovery Gel by VITAMAN, 150ml for £28.50 from www.vitamangrooming.co.uk
Most of our sweat glands are on our feet (not under our pits) and can produce pints of perspiration in a day. Nice. Use this fast-drying deodorising gel avoid the stomach-wrenching embarrassment that comes when he kicks of his trainers. Ideal for cooling "hot" feet after a hard workout too.
Limited Edition Gentleman's Manicure Set by CZECH & SPEAKE, £336 from czechandspeake.com
If you spend the best part of a month’s rent on high-end grooming kit, chances are he might consider using it (or he’ll just dump you). This luxury set contains 9cm slanted tweezers, safety scissors, classic nail scissors, nail clippers, a nail file, toe nail clippers, a cuticle nipper (don’t ask) and a doubl- ended cuticle instrument. It also comes in a rather swish carbon fibre clad case.
Dry-Run Foot Cream by KIEHL’S, £16 for 100ml; kiehls.co.uk
Having been adventure-tested on cliff climbs and ocean dives by National Geographic’s team of young explorers, Kiehl’s Cross Terrain range of ‘endurance products’ should probably suffice for 20 minutes on the treadmill. The clinically active and slip-resistant Dry-Run Foot Cream alleviates cracked heels and sole sores while fighting post-gym foot funk.
Sole Relief by LEIGHTON DENNY, £12 for 125ml; leightondenny.com
A thorough soak is the first step to transforming hardened hooves. Dilute this tea tree oil-based solution in a bowl of warm water to help cleanse skin and soften nails before clipping.
Shea Butter Foot Cream by L’OCCITANE, £18.50 for 150ml from uk.loccitane.com
Ideal for sandpaper soles, this super-rich reparative cream contains Shea Butter, one of nature’s richest – and most easily absorbed – emollients. Slather it on swollen and cracked feet for immediate relief.
Wellness Foot Scrub by NATIO, £7.60 for 100ml; lookmantastic.om
A gentle alternative to sloughing off dead skin with a file, this grainy exfoliant buffs away dead skin with apricot seed. More effective than it sounds.
Spa Callus Smoother by TWEEZERMAN, £15; lookmantastic.com
Sand down dead skin with a podiatric power tool. This renewable smoother comes with six medium and six coarse replacement pads and features a thin filing bed that makes it perfect for odd corners and getting between toes.