Melbourne Spring Carnival "Foot Survival Guide"
Enjoy The Races Without The Sore Feet!
THE MELBOURNE Spring Racing Carnival, what a beautiful and exciting time of year!
It gives us girls the chance to get ‘frocked up’ in our finest, pull out a striking fascinator, put on a gorgeous pair of ‘oh so high’ heels and finish off the look with a statement clutch.
And while we may look the picture of elegance and sophistication on the way into the track, a few hours later on the way home, can be a very different story.
With blistered and battered feet from a day standing at the races, the "heels are off" and you're hobbling out of the racecourse, with each step stinging that little bit more than the last one.
To help you avoid this situation I have put together my "Spring Racing Carnival Foot Survival Guide". My guide includes information on:
- Shoes - the most comfortable types, different materials for different weather, straps and brand choices
- Prevention and Foot Care - take gel cushion cushions and padding, treat feet and toenails in the days leading up to the races
- At Races - know what to do when disaster strikes!
A day at the races, shouldn't mean you have to suffer from sore feet!!
Avoid foot problems at the races - with a small amount of foot care and preparation!
The Spring Racing Carnival Foot Survival Guide
Comfortable does not have to mean ugly!
Just think about how many hours you are likely to be on your feet for and the surfaces you will be standing on. For the spring races that usually means somewhere between 4-8 hours on either concrete or grass. It is a long time to be uncomfortable!
I would suggest either a wedge or low heel is going to keep your tootsies most comfy. A low heel with the addition of a platform can give the appearance of a higher heel than what it actually is. This takes stress off your forefoot and is less likely to have your foot sliding forward and cramping up your toes.
Wedges enable your foot to spread out the pressure. This way you are spreading your weight through all of your feet rather than just the heel and toe. Wedges are also less likely to sink into the grass (particularly in wet weather).
Fixation (buckle, strap etc) onto your feet
This avoids the embarrassing slip of a heel causing you to look like you have had more drinks than you have. A strap or zip to hold the shoes onto your feet means you can relax and not have to be clawing your toes to hold your shoes on your feet.
This also means your feet will feel less ‘tired’ at the end of the day as they have not been working as hard just to hold your shoes on.
Think about shoe materials
A soft leather or fabric shoe will be more gentle on your skin and less likely to rub. Avoid seams running over bony bumps on your feet, as this is likely to cause problems.
Avoid Patent leather options. When you have been standing for a long period (especially in warm weather) your feet will swell. Patent leather will not stretch with your foot and will therefore start digging into your feet.
Keep in mind the weather… A lovely pair of Satin or Fabric shoes will not look so pretty when they have been trudging through mud. I once rinsed a pair of leather shoes under a tap following a very wet day at the races and they were good as new once they’d dried out. This would not have been the same story for fabric ones!
No matter what the material, or the weather, always and I mean ALWAYS protect your shoes with a water proofing spray beforehand. Grass stains can wreak havoc on neutral coloured shoes, as can dripped beverages from other “happy” members of the crowd.
Shoe Brands To Keep Your Feet Smiling
Bared Footwear are my favourite brand of shoes. Not only because they are super comfy, but very cute too! They have built in arch support and cushioning and are made from lovely soft leathers and suede. They have a few different colour options so will go with any outfit. Their details can be found at www.bared.com.au.
Other great options are Ziera and Naturalizer. They also have cushioned support and a variety of different 'pretty' options. More well known shoe brands like Nine West, Sandler, Jane Debster, Jo Mercer and Wittner also have a few more sensible options.
Save your super high and sexy “Carrie Bradshaw” options for dinners or weddings, where you can sit for most of the event. Remember if you can’t walk around in the shoes comfortably in the shop, they are never going to feel great after 5-6 hours of standing!
Prevention and Foot Care
Gel Cushions and Padding
Do not leave the house without a pair of gel cushions for the balls of your feet and gel heel grips. They take up no room in your clutch, so it's no excuse not to take them! A popular brand of these are the "party feet', which you can find at most supermarkets and chemists.
You may think you will be fine without them, but your feet will thank you later when you sneak into the bathroom and slip some extra comfort into your shoes.
Pamper your feet in the days leading up to Race Day. Sure, slick on some pretty polish, but also attend to any areas of callous or developing corns. These areas are most likely to rub and blister during the day. Give them a good rub with an emery board when you get out of the shower. Don’t forget to give them a massage with some moisturiser or a heel balm afterwards.
If the callous or corns require professional treatment, book an appointment to have a Podiatrist remove them for you.
MAKE SURE you avoid cutting your nails short before wearing tight fitting heels. They can become very sore and inflamed with pressure if you are not careful. Trim your nails a few days out from Race Day to give them time to settle and prevent ingrown toenails.
At The Races
When Disaster Strikes
Its 3pm the main race is not far away and your feet are killing you. What do you do?
Do you have blisters forming?
Any areas that are rubbing or blistering, apply Compeed Blister Dressings. They are not too obvious or ugly and will cushion any sore or inflamed areas of skin. They also have a mild anesthetic in them so will help with any associated pain. They should be available from most chemists and some larger supermarkets. They can be a real life saver when applied before a blister gets really nasty. If a blister gets so bad that the top is rubbed off it, there is only so much a dressing will do. So keep checking your feet throughout the day and cover any sore bits up as need be.
Are your feet just tired and achy?
Try stretching them out. Do a few calf stretches and pull your toes back to stretch out the arch of your feet. You can also try rolling your foot over a cold bottle. A Champagne or water bottle works well for this and with soothe your feet. (Try not to do this in an obvious location as you may get some strange looks and be careful not to break the glass champagne bottle, this could cause some real damage to your feet!!).
Don’t walk home barefoot
No matter how sore your feet are, don’t end up ruining your beautiful outfit by walking out at the end of the day barefoot.
It’s not a good look and you are also at risk of cutting your feet on sharp objects or glass.
Sneak a pair of flexible ballet flats into your clutch to be on the safe side.
Hopefully if you have followed all my other tips, you will still be going strong in your heels. But it's always better to be prepared - just incase!
Enjoy a win in both the comfort and fashion stakes and put your best for forward this spring!!
Hopefully my Spring Carnival Foot Survival Guide helps you through this years races.
Enjoy all that the Spring Racing Carnival has to offer in the fun, fashion, betting and of course the horses. But don’t let sore feet stop you from enjoying the day!!
I'd love to know what you thought about my "Survival Guide", please add your comment below, thanks!
Products mentioned in this article include:
- Shoe Protection & Waterproof Spray - Use on your new shoes to protect from stains and water damage.
- Bared Footwear (Armidale) - Pretty shoes designed by a Podiatrist.
- Ziera Shoes - NZ designed shoes that are both comfortable and fashionable.
- Naturalizer - "Shoes fit for you" as they say!
- Gel Cusions and Padding - a popular brand are called "Party Feet" by Sholl, available from most good pharmacy's and some supermarkets.
- Emery Board - Available from chemists and supermarkets.
- Compeed Blister Dressing - available from most good pharmacy's and some supermarkets.
Written by Leah Waters
Leah Waters is a Melbourne Podiatrist and founder of Pivotal Podiatry Clinic, located in Hampton East Victoria.