Illustration by Emma Louthan

Prepare for Sandal Season: 10 Expert Tips

  1. Get a Pastel Pedicure
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    Get a Pastel Pedicure

    For toenail polish colors, celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann likes creamy, opaque pastels such as her peachy Tip Toe Through the Tulips or light pistachio Spring Buds ($18; deborahlippmann.com). Go for a square shape, because a round one can lead to ingrown toenails. Also consider a laser treatment to thin out hair on your digits (from $150; bliss.com) or whiten nails (from $400; institutebeaute.com).

    Illustration by Emma Louthan
  2. Fake a Foot Tan
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    Fake a Foot Tan

    Spray self-tanners such as Neutrogena MicroMist ($13.50; drugstore.com) work best, says Abby Menard of Bake Spray Tanning in San Francisco. Hold the can 6 inches away, making a quick crisscross over the foot so you don’t get streaks in your toe webbing or ankle crease.

    Illustration by Emma Louthan
  3. Organize Your Open-Toed Pairs
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    Organize Your Open-Toed Pairs

    Got a large glass picture frame? Christine Porretta, the director of the Nest, a home site, says to put it flat side down and use it as an under-the-bed storage tray. “That way you don’t have the extra step of taking off a lid,” she says. The app myShoeCache can also help: It stores photo-annotated lists of your favorite pairs, anything in storage, plus whatever you’re eyeing next (free; myshoecache.com).

    Photograph by Radius Images/Corbis
  4. Try a DIY Massage
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    Try a DIY Massage

    To ease aches after a day of wearing flimsy soles, Dr. Frank Lipman recommends using a tennis ball. Place under the arch of your foot, and press as much of your body weight into it as you can bear. Slowly open and close the foot until the tension’s released.

    Photograph by Getty Images
  5. Choose Simple Shoes
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    Choose Simple Shoes

    Go for minimalist-leaning pairs (with fewer straps and buckles) in soft hues such as blush pink or nude, says Yasmine Goomansingh, a buying manager at online retailer Piperlime. These Joie flats ($135) and Vince block heels ($325) are comfortable options.

    Illustration by Emma Louthan
  6. Figure Out Fit
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    Figure Out Fit

    Comfort expert Danny Wasserman, who owns Tip Top Shoes in New York, says your heel should be flush with the end of your shoe and your toes at least a quarter-inch from the front. And the sides should never spill over. To help prevent slipping forward, Wasserman suggests Hue’s ball of foot pads, which add cushioning (three for $16; hue.com).

    Illustration by Emma Louthan
  7. Use Your Tax Return
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    Use Your Tax Return

    Want to take foot care to the next level? Podiatrist Suzanne Levine recommends TCA acid peels to soften rough skin (from $325). Some doctors also inject fillers such as Sculptra into the balls of feet to provide extra padding (from $1,500). “This is especially good if you wear flat sandals,” Levine says. Postvisit, stock up on Diamancel files ($30 to $49), the most effective callus scrapers on the market.

    Photograph by Getty Images
  8. Safeguard Against Blisters
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    Safeguard Against Blisters

    Veronica Vera, who teaches Amazing Grace: How to Walk, Sit, and Pose in High Heels in New York, uses Band-Aid’s friction block stick ($7; at drugstores), which invisibly glides on to stop tight sandals from rubbing.

    Illustration by Emma Louthan
  9. Put Away Those Boots
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    Put Away Those Boots

    Before you store your winter shoes, designer Jessie Randall of Loeffler Randall says to remove excess dirt with a soft, dry cloth and Lexol leather cleaner ($6.97; amazon.com) to keep stains from settling in. Then hydrate the hide and erase any winter scuffs with a cream such as Meltonian boot cream polish ($5; amazon.com). A cobbler can handle this for less than 10 bucks a pair.

    Illustration by Emma Louthan
  10. Upgrade Your Storage
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    Upgrade Your Storage

    Stuff boots with crunched-up newspaper, Randall says, to help them preserve their shape. As for stowing them, the Nest’s Porretta says to use galvanized metal bins ($78; walmart.com), which look nicer than plastic tubs.

    Photograph by Getty Images