Best foot creams to treat cracked heels and dry, hard skin

Happy feet are a hop, skip and jump away

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Ellie Davis17 July 2023
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To me, there’s nothing more luxurious than coating my tootsies in cream, popping on some socks and dozing off into a restful slumber. Come morning, my feet are as soft as a baby’s bottom and I’m ready to take on the day.

Granted, this is not for everyone. In fact, some might shudder at the thought of sticky toes or the idea of socks in bed in general, but it’s one of the most effective ways to give your feet the TLC they deserve.

Even though they take us from A to B, many of us don’t give our poor feet a second thought throughout the day - unless of course something goes wrong. In socks and then in shoes, they’re hidden away and out of sight, out of mind kicks in. Yet our hard-working feet are actually incredibly complicated with a combination of 26 bones, 33 joints, nerves, blood vessels, muscles, tendons and ligaments. These elements work in harmony for stability, balance and contribute to the well-being of our knees, hips and lower back. Keeping them in good order is essential.

One way to keep your toes hydrated and nourished as well as ease tension is to apply a foot cream. These formulas are packed with ingredients like shea butter, allantonin and vitamin E to transformed cracked heels and blistered soles and leave them soft, smooth and moisturised.

Dr Jo McCardle, expert podiatrist at Scholl explains, “The skin on your feet can be up to 20 times thicker than the skin elsewhere on your body, so you need products and ingredients that have been specially formulated for your feet to get the best results”.

She adds, “Your heels in particular can easily become dry which can lead to cracking if the hard skin is allowed to build up. Staying on top of hard skin with regular removal and regular moisturisation is key to keeping feet feeling soft and looking smoother.”

You need not reserve this practice solely in the summer months either. Incorporate self-massage into your routine and your feet will thank you.

See the best foot creams below

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Nourishing Foot Cream for Dry/Damaged Feet


Best for: inexpensive nourishment

Norwegian Formula has earned its place in many a bathroom cabinet, wash bag or bedside table for intensely hydrating products at incredibly purse-friendly price tags. Punching far above its price tag, this foot cream is thick and rich in all the right ways, creating a barrier of protection for your hard-working tootsies.

In just a few uses, you will notice the heels and soles of your feet feel healed, hydrated and smooth where the product is quickly absorbing and doesn’t leave a sticky or greasy residue in its wake.

Buy now£5.97, lookfantastic

Margaret Dabbs London Pure Cracked Heel Treatment Balm

Margaret Dabbs

Best for: an at-home pedicure

Providing at-home treatments based on concerns she found in her foot clinics across the capital, Margaret Dabbs OBE’s eponymous brand is one to know in the world of podiatry. The treatments include this balm that tackles cracked heels with a supercharged concocotion of sustainably sourced ingredients. Don’t for one minute think that affects the efficacy of the treatment. The balm is powered with oregano and manuka tree oils as the hard-working antibacterial and antifungal ingredients. There’s also salicylic and benzoic acid that gently buff away at dry skin and treat irritation.

Buy now£18, Cult Beauty

Scholl Dry Skin Foot Cream - 75ml


Best for: open-toe footwear

Whether you’re taking your feet out of hiberation ready for the warmer weather or jetting off to some winter sun, you may be reluctant to flash your feet after a long cold spell. But no more. Give your feet the love, care and attention they deserve all year round by incorporating this cream from Scholl into your nightly routine.

It has been clinically proven to leave them softer, which is does through the cocktail of nourishment - allantonin, hydrolysed wheat protein, lactic acid and lysine. The cherry on top of the moistuirising cake is the brand’s trademarked PediCream that ensures the formula penetrates deep into the thick layers of the sole.

Buy now£5.99, Boots

Flexitol Intensely Nourishing Foot Cream


Best for: an overnight transformation

We’ve had this cream next to our bed all summer and apply just before bed to encourage the moisturing duo of vitamin E and urea to fully absorb. The formula brings instant relief to your tired tootsies, so you need not feel any quams about baring your soles. While it is rich and has a high concentration of these nourishing ingredient, it absorbs quickly - even with the many, many layers that we generously coated our feet with. It’s got our seal of approval as well as the College of Podiatry’s too.

Buy now£7.69, Boots

CeraVe Renewing Foot Cream


Best for: innovative ingredients

CeraVe has been making waves in the beauty world over the past few years with its healing and soothing formulas at affordable price tags. This product contains salicylic acid and ammonium lactate which exfoliates the dead, cracked skin, and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration. The secret weapon in this is definitely MVE technology, which steadily releases moisture over the course of 24 hours for round the clock moisturisation.

Buy now£9.50, lookfantastic

Flexitol rescue hard skin and callus balm


Best for: Hard skin remover cream

An alternative to filing off hard skin, this intensive foot balm delivers softer feet with results after just one use. When it comes to hard-skin softeners, urea is the superstar ingredient to look out for and this formula has a whopping dose of 22 per cent.

Not only does it have the ability to penetrate tough calluses and slough away dead skin, but it’s a humectant so it’s super hydrating. Add to this a blend of chemical exfoliants salicylic and glycolic acid, and it’s no wonder this is such a fast-acting formula – with feet looking better and better the more you use it.

Buy now£5.49, Amazon

CCS Cracked Heel Repair


Best for: Cracked heels

Too much pressure on the foot pads can cause dry, thick skin on the heels to crack so a hard-working targeted treatment like this balm is the way to go if you’re suffering. Delivering a blast of 25 per cent urea and lactic acid to both break down the calluses and give the skin an intense hit of hydration.

It gets to work quickly too, when applied twice daily on clean feet you should see an improvement in just three days – with better results the more and more you regularly use it. Not only will the moisturising-formula leave you with softer, smoother heels, but it strengthens the skin barrier too, preventing cracked heels from reoccurring.

Buy now£6.99, Amazon

Buly 1803 Double Pommade Concrète Hand and Foot cream

Buly 1803

Best for: a foot cream you’ll be proud to display

We know foot-focused products aren’t always the prettiest thing to look at, especially when it comes to their packaging - but Parisian apothecary Officine Universelle Buly bucks that trend with its line-up of skin-loving essentials that are all beautifully adorned with illustrations. One you’ll be proud to display next to your bed, it’s style and substance combined with the intensely moisturising formula that combines shea butter, beeswax and essential oils to hydrate as well as protect against pollution.

Buy now£45, Selfridges

Weleda Skin Food Cream 75ml


Best for: head-to-toe hydration

Take your skin’s dehydration into your own hands with the legendary Weleda Skin Food. The beauty of this cream is that you can apply it from your forehead down so that you can maximise its thick nourishment from head to toe. The product is enriched with certified natural ingredients that are organic as well as essential oils that make every application a luxury experience. You’ll want one in every bag, on your desk and bedside table.

Buy now£14.95, Boots

L'Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream


Best for: keeping your feet in top top shape

The L’Occitane collection of hand creams may have already found a way onto your nightstand and the foot cream should follow suit. Much like the bestselling product for your fingers, this cream also stars shea butter as the main and named ingredient to bring relief to cracked heels and sore soles and is set alongside lavender essential oils that’s an antiseptic. Plus the luxury French label has made the exterior as attractive as the formula itself.

Buy now£22, Cult Beauty

AMELIORATE Intensive Foot Therapy


Best for: lightweight daily moisturising

Not every foot cream can be used during the day. Some will cause you to slip and slide all over the place or feel thick and cumbersome as you go about your chores. This is not the case with this Foot Therapy cream that is lightweight and leaves feet silky soft. Apply onto your feet and then your hands to tackle stubborn skin, moisturise and hydrate. It is packed with shea butter, glycerine and jojoba oil to give your tired feet up to 12 hours of nourishment.

Buy now£16, Cult Beauty

Canesten Bifonazole Once Daily Athlete’s Foot 1% w/w Cream


Best for: athlete’s foot

This trusted brand is one you may have used in the past for other fungal infections as it has a stellar reputation for its effectiveness. This runs true for this particular Bifonazole cream that’s a bestseller on Amazon for a reason. You need just one application per day of the fragrance-free lotion and it stops fungal growth in its track, while also calming and soothing any itching. The treatment takes about two to three weeks to clear the infection.

Buy now£4.20, Amazon