Choosing the best winter shoes for your feet

  • By Judith Sullivan
  • 28 Mar, 2017
27 Nov, 2015

Keep your feet cosy but healthy

When choosing your winter footwear, it may be tempting to choose form over function or whichever you feel is the most stylish, but would that still be the case if you knew the risks you were taking?

Here are a few commonly known winter foot conditions that you may wish to avoid.


If any shoes you’ve chosen are giving you blisters, it’s a clear cut sign that they’re the wrong choice for your feet. With properly fitted shoes, there should be no ‘breaking in’ period to have to go through.

Blisters are a result of friction or repeating rubbing, often when wearing brand new shoes that don’t fit properly.

Common remedies include soap and water, letting blisters heal with time and topical antiseptic on open wounds; however, a visit to the podiatrist’s clinic is always recommended.


Usually related to poor circulation, chilblains appear when the skin has been exposed to a cold, humid environment before being quickly moved to the warm.

The cold air causes the skin’s small blood vessels to constrict, which doesn’t give them enough time to react to the warm air. As a result, the blood may leak, leading to red, swollen, itchy skin.

These patches may turn into ulcers or lead to infection as the skin becomes dry or cracked.

Chilblains are most commonly found on the toes, especially if the feet already have bunions and/or callouses.

To avoid them, ensure your feet are kept warm throughout the winter and avoid direct heat. Allow your feet to warm up at a steady pace to allow your circulation to catch up.

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma is a result of footwear that’s too tight, causing the bones and tissues to become squeezed against the nerves of the feet.

These pinched nerves will lead to feelings of numbness, tingling or burning and is most commonly felt around the toes.

As your feet may get wider with age, ensure you update your shoes width accordingly.   If you think you may be experiencing a Morton’s Neuroma, get in touch with your podiatrist at the first possible opportunity.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

This condition is named after the French doctor, Raynaud, and is also caused by cold weather and its effects on blood vessels.

As with chilblains, the blood vessels in the feet will tighten when exposed to very cold temperatures, causing limited circulation to the hands and feet.

Due to this lack of oxygen and blood flow to the feet, an individual may experience blistering, redness, discolouration or pain. These are the effects of Raynaud’s Phenomenon.

Skier’s Toe

If you’ve found yourself experiencing a black toenail, it may be a case of Skier’s toe. This dark shade is due to bleeding underneath the nail, which may also cause you to experience a painful ‘pulsing’ sensation due to the blood pressure.

Skier’s toe may be brought on by shoes that are too tight and often Ski boots – hence its name! Ensure that the shoes you wear this winter are roomy enough for your toes, even when you’re wearing socks.

By wearing shoes that fit well and also keep you warm throughout the winter, you should be all set to avoid these painful conditions. Remember, for the best advice, always visit your podiatrist!

By Judith Sullivan 09 Dec, 2017
By Reggie Simpson
By Judith Sullivan 28 Sep, 2017

We are delighted to announce that prose written by our Practice Business Manager, Reggie Simpson, will be featured in the Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Rhyme & Reason 2018 diary, now in its 26th year. The theme for this forthcoming year’s diary is ‘Freedom’. All proceeds from sales of the diary go to support this worthwhile charity.

Reggie says: ‘Although my entry wasn't among the top poetry and prize winners, I was chuffed to be selected for the 2018 diary. The theme was quite broad, but my degrees in politics and love of writing invariably drew me to entering the competition. In the end I settled on a focus of freedom in healthcare, no doubt inspired by my current employment at Betafeet Podiatry and the noble work of Rennie Grove Hospice Care ( ).

Rennie Grove Hospice Care, formally known as Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, merged with Grove House, St Albans in 2010 to integrate services in south western Hertfordshire. The ethos and values of the two charities were closely aligned with the principle of allowing patients to lead a good quality of life at home for as long as possible, helping patients and their families avoid the distress of unnecessary hospital visits whenever possible.

The diaries can be ordered from the Rennie Grove website, payment by debit/credit card. It's part of their annual Christmas/holiday promotion. There will also be copies in local Rennie Grove shops. They are £5 each with additional postage if bought online. Shop locations can be found here: .

Here is Reggie’s entry (to appear in the month of September 2018): 

‘Do not count the days; make the days count.’

Muhammad Ali. Professional Boxer.  Audacious. Charismatic. A winner in the ring.

But even when you have won it all, life throws you a few more punches.

Yes, his name opened doors and wealth, but the bombastic man of his younger years was humbled in later life, and following retirement, he dedicated himself increasingly to charitable work. Parkinson’s was already taking hold.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest honour the USA can bestow.   He died in June 2016, aged 74.

Now the news is about boxing helping dementia sufferers.

So what does this mean for freedom? Does getting battered around the head spell freedom and choice? One would say yes; a boxer is free to take such risks. When the consequences deal you a fatal blow as a result, when do you lose your freedom? Is it when you have been reduced to a shadow of your former self, a normal human being, and have to rely on others? Muhammad Ali likely had plenty of resources to ensure his final days would help him on his final journey.

We tend to think of freedom in political terms. It is hard to remove freedom in healthcare from politics. Think NHS reform, among others. Freedom in a healthcare environment means more to the individuals and families when they have life-limiting illnesses and need the care of volunteer-run hospices such as Iain Rennie Grove.

The NHS gives patients the rights to make choices about different aspects of the care they receive, from the different treatment options available. How these are chosen is individual, although for those with life threatening or limiting illnesses this choice will fall on family members. 

I quote the following:

‘In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties’.

Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Philosopher

September is World Alzheimer’s Month.




More Posts
Share by: