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Why Do My Feet Swell in the Heat? (And What to Do?)

In the summer months, many men wonder: Why do my feet swell in the heat, and what can I do about it? Here’s everything you need to know about the science, preventative measures and swell-friendly footwear.

Feet swelling, ankles swelling, heat rising, temperatures increasing, discomfort growing. It’s a familiar predicament that affects a surprising number of men in the warm summer months.

There’s a reason experts say summer shoes should be at least half a size bigger than winter shoes, and this is it. From oedema to lymphoedema, swollen feet require the proper treatment and the right footwear. If you get it wrong, you could end up causing yourself and your feet a lot of unnecessary pain.

Why do my feet swell in the heat?

The main reason that feet swell in the summer when they get overheated is that the small blood vessels in the feet expand as the body makes a natural attempt to cool itself down. In this process, fluid can leak into the surrounding tissue. Paired with gravity, this causes swollen feet, ankles and legs.

Medically, this swelling of the lower limbs is known as heat oedema. Certain risk factors can increase your chances of experiencing heat oedema, such as:

  • High salt intake

  • Venous insufficiency

  • Older age

  • Certain medical conditions that affect circulation

Understanding lymphoedema

When you have oedema, the swelling of your feet and ankles is caused by fluid trapped in the body. But feet swelling could also signify another issue known as lymphoedema.

Lymphoedema occurs with the same swollen results when the lymphatic system is impaired, and too much lymphatic fluid is produced. It can happen for several reasons but commonly arises following cancer treatment. It affects more than 200,000 people in the UK, usually as a secondary condition rather than a primary one.

Despite oedema’s many similar symptoms, you can spot lymphoedema in the early stages if a mark remains when you press a finger against the swollen skin.

Lymphoedema should be medically treated differently than oedema (lymphatic drainage and compression therapy, for example, can help), so you need to consult a doctor if you recognise the symptoms and believe there’s a chance it could be the cause of your swelling.

How to stop your feet from swelling in the heat

Wondering how to stop feet swelling in heat? Step one is seeking medical advice, confirming that there’s no nefarious reason behind the swelling and listening to any lifestyle change/medication recommendations.

Once you’ve done this, try the following to beat the heat (and reduce the swelling):

  • Avoid long periods of inactivity

  • Keep your temperature down with a fan, air conditioning, or a swim/bath in refreshingly cool water

  • Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrators like caffeine

  • Eat diuretic foods to remove excess fluid from the body (green beans, pineapple, beetroot, so on)

  • Assist your circulation with a leg/ankle/foot massage

  • Keep your magnesium levels up with supplements/certain foods (bananas, nuts, spinach, so on)

  • Use compression stockings to alleviate swelling if you suffer from reduced circulation

What are the best shoes for feet that swell?

Summer is often a very sociable time, full of exciting events like weddings and parties, which require formal attire from top to toe. You might assume that your feet swelling situation would make it impossible for you to dress up, but this isn’t the case.

Yes, the best shoes for feet that swell are adjustable, orthotic-insole-friendly sandals with an open toe. These will cool and protect your hot summer feet, so they’re definitely worth investing in for day-to-day wear.

But when sandals can’t quite cut it, don’t fear. There are plenty of other appropriate and comfortable options for formal occasions. We’d particularly recommend our Chukka desert boots which are soft, spacious and available in a range of colours:

Chukka boots are less polished and tightly fitted than other similar footwear options. Their laces make them easy to adjust for comfort as your feet grow swollen throughout the day.

Don’t sacrifice your style to swelling

If you’re suffering from swollen feet in the summer heat, it’s easy to feel defeated about your footwear options. But it isn’t necessary.

Our timeless, quality collection is designed to accommodate men of all kinds, including men needing a little extra space and comfort in their summer shoes. Don’t compromise. Choose the sustainable, stylish comfort of a pair of Percy Strides.

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