Warning: Includes graphic before, during and after pics
When spring/summer hits, I live exclusively in sandals, I simply refuse to wear any sort of closed shoe. But this comes with drawbacks, mainly my feet getting super dry from excessive rubbing with no socks to protect the skin.
It’s not completely dire, but I have cracked heels and corns on my toes (see picture below) that no amount of scrubbing with a pumice stone in the shower will get rid of. Trust me, I tried. Hard.
So having had enough of investing in expensive foot creams that didn’t work, I turned to my trusted friend, Google, to find out if there were any other solutions like at-home pedicures out there, and Footner exfoliating socks popped up.
Accompanying that review were before and after pictures that blew my mind a little bit, so I thought I would give them a go, and here’s what happened.
Warning: Do not scroll down if you don’t want to see slightly awful before and after pictures of my feet peeling.
What are exfoliating socks?
They are basically plastic socks containing a special solution that will help break down dead skin over time. You use scissors to open the top and slip your feet in them, wear them for 60 minutes and then bin them. That’s pretty much all you need to know for now.
How do exfoliating socks work?
Firstly, you’ll need to soak your feet in water, because that helps with the exfoliating process (damp skin means product will be absorbed better). So that’s what I did, before popping my feet in them for 60 minutes while watching an episode of Poldark – I’m all about multi-tasking.
I thought that soaking my feet in a product that essentially causes skin to peel would be painful, but I didn’t feel so much as a tingle, so much so that I was pretty sceptical whether it would actually work. After the allotted time was up, I took the socks off, binned them (you can only use them once), and rinsed my feet with warm water. And waited.
How long does it take for the dry skin to peel?
I didn’t see any results straight away, and the instructions say it takes five to seven days for the peeling process to start. After five days, I started thinking nothing would happen, until I got home after work and noticed what looked to be a massive air bubble under my foot. Yep, the process had started.
The PR for the brand advised me to soak my feet every day (‘plug in when showering is enough’) and to make sure not to moisturise, so that’s what I did, and I found it made the process speedier. Over the next few days, the peeling got worse and worse.
Now I’m a person who actually likes to squeeze blackheads (TMI?) so, as you’re not meant to peel your skin, just let it fall off, that was hard for me. I must admit I did cave during day seven and just started picking at it.
If you imagine peeling cling film off your feet, but instead of clingfilm, it’s skin, that’s pretty much what it’s like. I really didn’t realise I had this much skin. It was gross, but in a satisfying sort of way.
As I write, I’ve hit day 10, and the peeling has stopped.
Who can use exfoliating socks?
It doesn’t matter how little or how dry your feet are, these will get rid of any dead skin. They’re one size fits all; I’m a size 3 so thought they would be too big, but it wasn’t a problem. The skin is delicate after you use the socks though, so sunbathing isn’t recommended.
Also if you are pregnant, nursing, diabetic or have sensitive skin, you can’t use these as they contain alcohol, among other ingredients.
Footner Exfoliating Socks review – are they worth it?
A big fat yes. My feet have never been this soft (when I was a baby maybe?) and all signs of dry skin have disappeared. I would absolutely do it again.
How long do the results last?
I’ve only just done this, so obviously my feet are still looking great, but the instructions seem to advise to do this every two to three months, depending on how quickly your feet get dry again. And you need to leave it at least three weeks between treatments because your skin will still be sensitive.
What does an expert think?
I spoke to Dina Gohil, from DG Podiatrist, about what she thinks of the at-home foot softening treatment. ‘Exfoliating socks are a great home treatment that are easy to enjoy and people with callus do see results. They are on the whole safe to use however if you are diabetic, pregnant, have sensitive skin, or have any other medical conditions it would be advised to check with your Podiatrist or GP first.’
What are some alternative ways of softening feet?
Gohil recommends seeing a podiatrist ‘to remove hard skin thoroughly, as the results last much longer.’ She also says a classic emery board is great at filing areas of hard skin on a dry, not wet, foot.
How can you avoid getting dry hard feet and calluses going forward?
Whilst the exfoliating socks are extremely satisfying, it would be much easier if we didn’t have hard feet to begin with. So we asked Gohil what we can do to keep our feet smooth.
- A good foot cream, with urea in it, will really penetrate into your epidermis which will help bring flexibility and hydration to your skin and reduces hard skin and build up
- Checking that your shoes are the right fit and size for you, as this can actually be a key reason why you are getting hard skin in the first place
- Drying your feet thoroughly after a shower or bath – water can diminish the natural oils on your skin causing them to dry out faster
- Make sure to keep hydrated – water is such a game changer
- Wear the right type of socks to help balance temperature for your feet, the happier they are the less moisture is lost
Buy foot exfoliator products
If you’re still unsure about the foot exfoliating socks, then here are a few more products I rate for dry, cracked feet, from foot scrubs to leave-in masks.
You have to space out how often you use socks, so for those weeks in between, I like to exfoliate my feet in the shower at least once a week. I’ll pop some scrub on a pumice stone and buff away. This one has cooling peppermint essential oil and exfoliating volcanic rock granules.
Ok, sounds gross, but there’s no better tool to really get rid of your calluses. It’s basically a razor for feet, and it’s what loads of pedi salons use. Obviously be careful as it’s sharp, but all you need are a few strokes to get rid of dead skin.
Whilst exfoliating is key, you also want to keep your skin soft and hydrated to maintain those results. Margaret Dabbs has a great foot care line, and this pot will last you ages.
These exfoliating feet masks only require 10-20 minutes wear to get to work, so make a nice alternative if you're short on time.
A double whammy of exfoliation and deep moisturisation, these are by no means a 'quick fix' but are a great option for feet in need of some TLC.
If you only require a little bit of buffing to get your feet into shape, this foot file by nail brand Jessica is an affordable buy.
If you've got sore feet that need some TLC after a long day, look no further than this foot cream by Aveda.
Much like their famous and well-loved body cream, this foot softener uses AHAs to nibble away at rough skin.
If you’d rather scrub your feet out of the shower, then I recommend Scholl’s electric foot file, followed by liberally applying a cream.
This one comes recommended by Dina Gohil, from DG Podiatrist.