The 15 Best Foot Creams, According to a Podiatrist and Dermatologist

·11-min read

For most people, sandal season is the time to get feet in tip-top shape. That could simply mean a fresh pedicure, but if your heels are looking cracked and dry, you’ll want to establish a proper foot care routine before applying polish. And winter rolls around, there’s no excuse to neglect your feet, either. Just because they may be hidden away in winter boots or comfy sneakers doesn’t mean they don’t deserve some TLC.

In either case, you’ll want to reach for the best foot creams. After all, if you suffer from dry, split heels, you know how painful they can be.

More from Footwear News

“The skin is thickest on the bottom of your feet to help minimize shock,” New York podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Sutera explained to FN. “But over time, the stress and friction imposed on your feet from everyday mileage can cause them to become parched, cracked and in some cases even bleed.”

According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, associate professor of dermatology and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, the two main ways to treat thick skin on the bottom of feet are by softening, then exfoliating.

To achieve the first step, Dr. Zeichner says most foot creams contain emollient, humectant and occlusive ingredients.

“Emollients like natural oils and fatty alcohols help soften rough cells on the surface of the skin,” he explains. “Humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid pull in hydration to the other skin layer, and occlusives like petrolatum form a protective seal over the surface of the skin.”

In terms of exfoliation, both he and Dr. Sutera recommend foot creams made with or hydroxyacids like glycolic or salicylic acid — which help dissolve connections between dead cells on the surface of the hard skin so they can be more easily shed. Sutera also notes that urea is a great ingredient to look for, as it both exfoliates and hydrates all in one.

For the best results, Dr. Zeichner recommends applying a foot cream to damp skin (which is already somewhat softened, like after you’ve showered), and putting socks on directly after to lock in hydration.

Keep in mind that while you may start to see signs of hydration when using a foot cream on a daily basis, it may take several weeks of continuous application to fully remove thickened skin.

On top of using a foot cream, Dr. Zeichner suggests a few tips and tools for busting and preventing dead skin on feet. Try manually exfoliating feet with a scrub, which “uses particles to physically remove dead skin cells,” says Dr. Zeichner, or an exfoliating device like a pumice stone or electric foot file to slough off thickened skin.

“Also, make sure your shoes fit well,” he explains. “An ill-fitting pair can cause friction and inflammation in the feet, which can lead to dead skin buildup.”

To make your life easier, we rounded up the best foot creams you can buy — according to our experts and glowing customer reviews. Keep reading to shop them.

CeraVe Renewing SA Foot Cream

Popular drugstore and dermatologist-tested brand CeraVe earns Sutera’s stamp of approval. She says the inclusion of salicylic and hyaluronic acid make the label’s SA Renewing foot cream great for busting tough calluses on heels. Meanwhile, three essential ceramides help restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier. The product also includes anti-inflammatory niacinamide, as well as vitamin D to improve cell turnover and prevent future dry skin buildup.

Free of fragrances and dye and hypoallergenic, this formula is made to be non-irritating for just about all skin types.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
CeraVe Renewing SA Cream
$30
$20


AmLactin Foot Repair Foot Cream

Sutera also swears by this formula as it contains lactic acid, which she says makes it strong, yet gentle enough to use on all skin types. The ingredient is a natural humectant, meaning it retains moisture for ultra-nourishing effects. Alpha-hydroxy acids also help the skin better absorb the formula.

The brand recommends using the product two times a day or as directed by your doctor, while some customers said they were able to see results by using it just one to two times a week. Additionally, many reviewers say the formula is non-greasy and fast-drying, so you shouldn’t have to worry about feet slipping inside shoes or on hardwood floors after each application.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
AmLactin Foot Repair
$12


Vaseline Petroleum Jelly

Vaseline is the best kept secret at the drugstore,” says Dr. Zeichner. “It’s especially useful for people with extremely dry, cracked feet and is the ultimate multitasker in skincare, as it can be used almost anywhere on the body.” The 100% petroleum jelly formula helps seal the skin and protect its natural moisture barrier. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic, so shouldn’t aggravate sensitive skin types.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Vaseline Pure Jelly
$6


Kerasal Intensive Foot Repair

Also packed with salicylic acid, this cream “loosens and removes dry skin, then deeply moisturizes,” Sutera says. Additionally, she notes that the formula is completely hypoallergenic and contains menthol to provide a cooling sensation to irritated skin. Approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association and backed by hundreds of five-star reviews — many of which claim the product showed results after just one day of use — this is another great option. Get it in a pack of three travel-friendly tubes for just $22 on Amazon.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Kerasal Intensive Foot Repair (3 Pack)
$24
$22


Profoot Heel Rescue Foot Cream

Give dry, scaly feet a supple makeover with Profoot’s Heel Rescue. Sutera notes this foot cream contains nourishing Vitamin E and argan oil, the latter which has anti-inflammatory properties. She also loves that it’s non-greasy, lightweight and fragrance-free, making it an overall gentle option. Plus, it’s multipurpose.

“This is one of the best foot lotions I’ve ever tried,” notes one customer on Amazon. “Not only does it absorb without feeling overly greasy, it’s light enough that I can use it on other areas as well with fantastic results. I tend to break out easily, so this is saying a lot.”

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Profoot Heel Rescue
from $14


Burt’s Bees Foot Cream

Dr. Zeichner recommends this popular drugstore cream from natural skincare and makeup brand Burt’s Bees. Its contains coconut oil, which is “an excellent emollient ingredient to soften rough skin,” he says, as well as lanolin, an oil naturally produced by sheep that gives their wool coat its water protection.

“Lanolin is an outstanding ingredient in skincare, thanks to its protecting and softening effects,” he adds.

For further softening and protection benefits, the product includes glycerin, oat and olive oil. Customers agree that just a little bit of this formula (about a pea-sized amount for each foot) goes a long way, as it’s super thick and hydrating. The only downside? It may leave an oily residue behind.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Burt's Bees Foot Cream
$8


Ahava Dead Sea Mud Intensive Foot Cream

While this formula is definitely on the pricier side, Sutera says it’s worth the splurge for people with especially dry, itchy skin on the bottom of feet. It contains a vegan blend of Dead Sea mud, vitamin E and jojoba oil, which Sutera claims are “great for locking in moisture to protect and heal the skin” for instant relief. Shea butter extracts work to deeply hydrate, while aloe vera soothes. And, the product is paraben-free.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Ahava Dead Sea Mud Intensive Foot Cream
$29


Lano Minty Foot and Leg Balm

Another lanolin-based product, Dr. Zeichner recommends this option courtesy of female-owned beauty brand Lano. It offers all the nourishing benefits of the powerhouse ingredient, with the addition of shea butter and glycerin for extra moisture retention and peppermint for a fresh, soothing scent. To boot, the product is 99% natural, cruelty-free and devoid of artificial colors, fragrances and parabens.

Credit: Courtesy of Ulta
Credit: Courtesy of Ulta

Courtesy of Ulta


Buy:
Lano Minty Foot and Leg Balm
$19


PurSources Urea 40% Foot Cream

Urea is the powerhouse ingredient in this one. Not only does this foot cream help hydrate and smooth cracked skin, but according to Sutera, it’s a powerful exfoliant for breaking down tough calluses. PurSources’ cream also contains antibacterial tea tree oil to promote fresh, clean feet and calming chamomile extracts. And in case that’s not enough to convince you, over 11,000 customers gave this product five stars.

While it may leave behind a subtle white residue on feet, customers say it’s a small price to pay for the impressive results they experienced.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
PurSources Urea Foot Cream
$15


Bliss Aloe Leaf and Peppermint Foot Cream

Besides offering a minty smell to mask any foul odor, this cream “provides a gentle exfoliating effect with alpha and beta hydroxy acids [like salicylic acid] and protects the skin with panthenol,” says Dr. Zeichner. Additionally, the product contains vitamin B to help seal in moisture as well as aloe vera extract, eucalyptus oil and camphor to soothe irritation and help improve the texture of cracked heels.

Among over 1,700 customer reviews, many note that the formula is fast-absorbing and doesn’t feel oily. Shoppers also love that it’s cruelty- and paraben-free.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Bliss Aloe Leaf and Peppermint Foot Cream
$18
$10


O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet Foot Cream

With over 37,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, O’Keeffe’s foot cream is a standout customer favorite. It comes recommended by people from all walks of life, from those who love to go barefoot all day to professionals in the armed forces. Made with allantoin and urea, the lightweight formula works to penetrate deeply into thick skin and exfoliate. Then, glycerin works to create a protective layer on the skin’s surface and instantly boost hydration.

“I’ve spent 10 years in the military and the last seven working in the oil and gas industry,” said one shopper. “I wear steel toed boots, sometimes more than 12 hours a day and have dealt with dry and cracked heels and feet that are itchy on the bottom. I have tried many other lotions and creams, which left my feet feeling greasy, and then dry again in five minutes. With O’Keeffe’s, in less than one week, my feet are doing much better.”

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
O'Keeffe's Healthy Feet Foot Cream
$7
$4


Gold Bond Foot Cream

Gold Bond has specialized in quality, affordable lotions and creams since 1908, so you know this option from the brand has to be good. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that nearly 100% of customers gave the product four or five stars, either.) The triple-action formula aims to smooth, soften and cool dry skin through a blend of exfoliating urea, seven rich moisturizers and soothing peppermint and menthol. It’s also packed with vitamins A, C, and E for extra hydrating and calming effects. As an added bonus, it’s lightly scented and has a non-greasy feel.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Gold Bond Foot Cream
$16


Dr. Scholl’s Ultra Hydrating Foot Cream

You may already love Dr. Scholl’s for its super supportive insoles, and its highly-rated foot cream is worth trying, too. A high concentration of urea helps this one expertly tackle tough skin and deliver deep hydration, while the inclusion of epsom salt — a natural humectant — aids in locking in moisture. A combination of essential oils like peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus also offer soothing effects. According to the brand, each application of this product should provide you with 24 hours of hydration.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Dr. Scholl's Ultra Hydrating Foot Cream
$6


L’Occitane 15% Shea Butter Dry Skin Foot Cream

When it comes to the best luxury foot creams, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than this one from L’Occitane. Although it doesn’t contain any exfoliating ingredients, it’s made to deeply hydrate and soothe as it’s rich in shea butter and calming arnica and lavender essential oils. According to customers, it smells amazing. Plus, the product’s sleek casing with signature branding will look way sexier in your purse or bathroom cabinet than any old foot cream or balm (which you’d probably want to hide from most people anyway).

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
L'Occitane 15% Shea Butter Dry Skin Foot Cream
$29


Eucerin Advanced Repair Foot Cream

Rough, scaly heels don’t stand a chance against Eucerin’s Advanced Repair foot cream. Complete with nearly 2,000 five star reviews on Amazon, the fast-absorbing formula contains Ceramide-3 and natural moisturizing factors (or NMF, which feature amino acids naturally found in the skin) to help repair the skin’s moisture barrier and prevent future dryness. Customers also note the product doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue. Get it in a pack of three for just $15 on Amazon.

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon


Buy:
Eucerin Advanced Repair Foot Cream
$17
$15


Best of Footwear News

Sign up for FN's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting