Autumn footwear review

Hello, Dianne here, the Potty Purple Podiatrist from Lane Ends Podiatry! Back in 2017 we had a few adventures over the October half term, including breaking down at the top of Saddleworth Moor (highest motorway point in the country, 1442ft above sea level) and as we were out standing in the cold, I was afraid I was going to get chilblains, my feet got so cold up there in the mist! I had on the wrong footwear for the conditions!

wrong footwear

We went to a beautiful place in Yorkshire called Knaresborough with our kids and caravan.

trainers today, right footwear

Also in 2017, I carved my first pumpkin! What do you think?

October always has me thinking about how we transition to more winter style footwear from the sandals and flip flops we wore in the summer.  Early October is when I see the beginnings of the ‘closed in’ shoe problems once more: like corns on tops of little toes and ingrown toe nails.

What shoes did you wear mostly this summer?

Anyway, we are not going to be wearing the same footwear in the autumn through into winter that we have been wearing (or are we?) and its worthy of a few words to talk about the things we need be mindful of.  These things may be obvious and if they are and you are doing them already great!

As we look towards winter, how we can best look after our feet at this time of the year and keep them healthy?

Footwear transition

The thing I want you to think about in the transition of your footwear is:

  • Do last year’s winter boots still fit you properly?
  • Have your feet grown at all?
  • Has the shape changed at all?
  • Have you got a more arthritic joint this season than you had last winter?
  • Is the heel height still right for you?
  • Is your boot or shoe still comfortable?
  • Do the soles have enough grip for the sort of ground you cover?

So many people say to me “it’s not my shoes, it’s my feet” and I think, well, you know the easiest bit to change in that equation is the shoe not the foot!

What is your plan?

It might be a good idea to just bear in mind those things. What are the kinds of different footwear that you are going to be thinking about wearing?

  • Is it boots?
  • Is it wellingtons? … (For October I shall be making sure the insoles in my wellingtons are well insulated to keep my feet warm on those damp days!!)
  • Is it walking boots?
  • Are your walking boots properly serviced and ready for the winter time?
  • Have you cleaned off the mud, dried them out properly and re polished them against the wet from the last time you were out walking with them?
  • Are the insoles still robust and intact?
  • Do the insoles need renewing at all?
  • Are they fit for purpose giving you both the cushioning/support or insulation your need?

Walking boots?

One of the things about walking boots (if you’re going to be going on the hills) is, you need to make sure is their thermal capacity is good and make sure that the insulation in them is still sound. To that point: are your socks appropriate? Have they got the right level of thermal capacity?

Some people suffer from blisters and they tell me that some of the ways they address that is:

  • to wear two pairs of socks, so, one thin layer close to the skin followed by a more thermal layer on top. This reduces skin friction and adds to thermal heat retention.

What about Socks?

One of the types of socks that people tell me are useful in that context is Bamboo socks: why bamboo socks you may say? Bamboo has really good absorbency properties (more than cotton or wool) and it’s nice, soft and flexible. It’s absorbs sweat well and also is antifungal and antibacterial as well.  All good for keeping your feet in good health.

On the subject of socks; if they have a ridge in the seam (typically over the toes) try wearing them inside out and have the seam on the outside. I find doing this causes less rubbing on the toes and you might find that useful too.

Keeping our hands and feet warm to prevent things like chilblains is so important.

What are Chilblains?

Chilblains can happen when the peripheral areas of the body get supremely cold in cold environments. (Think about standing on a football or rugby touchline for 90 minutes). The fingers, toes or nose can go numb or painful and the skin can breakdown if not re-warmed and circulation restored.

Let’s take an example and quite an extreme example if you like. Lets imagine you are going to Base Camp Everest (as I know four of my Podiatry friends are going to do this year). The extremities (the bits of the body that stick out) they really need be thinking about protecting are: their noses, their hands and their feet.

I’m going to focus on your feet (well I would wouldn’t I as a Podiatrist!)

How can you best prevent chilblains?

To prevent chilblains focus you efforts on going out with warm arms, hands, legs and feet at all times. If your hands and feet are already cold when you leave the house or office, your chances of getting them warm whilst out in the cold are low.

It is important to avoid situations going from one extreme of temperature to another if possible.  The peripheral circulation goes into a shut down phase when the body shifts from warm to cold. 

  • For some people with Raynauds Syndrome, even mild temperature shifts can initiate the reaction, not just extreme changes.
  • The body retains the heat in its essential areas, namely the brain and body core.

When “threatened ” with cold, your body automatically starves/shuts down the peripheral areas of blood supply for self preservation. 

Maintaining the heat within the body core and the brain becomes its priority. Faced with the cold, the body will shut down blood supply to;

  • your nose
  • hands
  • feet
  • ears

thus keeping your body core and brain alive. (Remember this is a primal survival reflex, it doesn’t think, it responds to stimuli)

Maybe you would benefit from one of our ‘warm wax’ treatments which soothe and comfort chilblains and achy joints? Give us a call on 01925 722577 or Book online here.

Here is a link that might also help NHS Choices

Looking ahead

Think about preventing those areas getting chilled as you go out and about in the cold this autumn and winter. Consider the activities that you are going out to do. Ensure you wearing the right gear for it.  If its cold you need layers, good thermal socks, gloves, a scarf for your nose. The right footwear for the environment is essential.

Remember, if you do develop any problems like:

  • blisters,
  • chillbalins
  • callus
  • corns or
  • toe nail troubles,

we are here to help you at Lane Ends Podiatry, we are just a phone call or online booking away, it will be great to see you.

Thanks for reading or listening to this, I hope it helps you. See you back on the blog/audioblog next time , bye for now.

Dianne Ashcroft Lane ends Podiatry signature purple