Bargain Foot Rub:
166 Mott St., nr. Broome St.; 212-226-6328
The massage at the aptly named Feet Island, a longtime favorite of those wearing out their soles in Soho, isn’t exactly pleasant. The pressure they apply to the arch hurts in the best possible way, and the calf rub is ideal only if you like a firm hand ($20 for 30 minutes, $30 for an hour), but your feet will feel pain-free the next day. The ambience—leather lounge chairs, a fish tank—is best enjoyed with your eyes closed.
969 Madison Ave., nr. 76th St.; 212-737-5560
The outstanding local pharmacy, which opened in 1950 and specializes in hard-to-find toiletries, is where to buy all the foot-care products you’ll want to remove from your medicine cabinet before hosting parties. Zitomer stocks everything from bacteria-fighter Barielle Fungus Rx Antifungal Solution ($18) to Tripod Labs Plantarstat Wart Remover ($16). Plus, they carry Stiletto Rx gel pads for sky-high shoes ($14), Z New York nail polish with an LED light on top of the bottle to help with DIY pedicures ($12.50), and Diamancel files ($30 to $49), the best callus scrapers on the market.
Dr. Suzanne Levine
Institute Beaute, 885 Park Ave., at 78th St., Ste. 103; 212-535-0229
“We treat the foot the way we treat the face,” says Levine, whose services, like foot facials, include an acid peel and microdermabrasion for rough skin plus reflexology ($325). There’s also “Pillows for Feet,” Sculptra filler injected into the balls of the foot for extra padding (from $2,000), as well as laser treatments that can whiten toenails or get rid of discoloration and scars from corns or bunions ($225).
12 W. 57th St., nr. Fifth Ave., third fl.; 877-862-5477
The powerful Lumenis One laser, which uses heat to zap follicles at their base, gets rid of hobbit feet in five sessions, instead of the more typical (not to mention painful) six, and has a cooling tip to ease swelling and redness ($152 for one session, $608 for five). Each appointment lasts about fifteen minutes, and you’ll get all of the calming benefits of a spa environment, but with a plastic surgeon, Dr. Cap Lesesne, on call.
Lila Salon, 105 W. 55th St., nr. Sixth Ave., Ste. LD; 718-473-2348
According to Rousseau, a “medicure,” or medical pedicure, is to a standard spa service what a thorough car tune-up is to a drop-in oil change. The nail technician, who makes house calls in Manhattan for the same price as in-salon appointments ($125) and wears a miner’s light as he works, takes your feet and nails through an extensive two-hour cleaning, sanding, buffing, and shaping session. He also removes any ingrown nails or fungus and finishes with a massage and polish.
470 Park Ave. S., at 32nd St.; 212-477-2300
Before throwing out the pinchy shoes you’ve never quite managed to break in, take them to the self-proclaimed “foot comfort center.” A staff of certified pedorthists will readjust the offending footwear: relasting for wider fit, adding padding or arch support, and trying other tricks to make life easier on your feet but no less stylish. (Alas, if a shoe is too tight or too short, it may be beyond help.) If you’d rather buy a new pair, Eneslow will make you a custom set or match you with a classic style from brands like Durea or Birkenstock. They also sell inserts such as orthotics, heel lifts, and bunion sleeves.
Face Place, 425 W. 14th St., nr. Ninth Ave., third fl.; 212-367-8200
The signature facial ($140) here involves a thorough punishing via heat lamp, galvanic current, and extractions, all of which can be made better by a foot massage from Marton during the treatment (an additional $55). The feet are elevated with an extra-large bolster, cleaned with hot towels, and rubbed with a homemade cucumber, shea butter, and aloe cream. Marton also has a private room where she gives immaculate pedicures.
Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spa
421 E. 73rd St., nr. York Ave.; 212-249-9144
The average foot bath with a few sad suds is blown out of the water by the soaks at this cozy, wood-floored salon, all done with natural ingredients. Developed by Jin Soon Choi, who regularly pretties nails for fashion shoots in Vogue and W, the plunges vary from purely pleasant (rose petals) to perfect for summer (sliced cucumber, mint leaves, and peppermint oil) to intensely silky (clay and fig) ($32 to $55). For additional intervention, there are three-layer, skin-softening paraffin wraps and callus-removing treatments ($15 to $60).
Golden Yan Foot Spa
181 Lafayette St., nr. Grand St.; 212-625-8222
Reflexology, a way of touching certain points in the feet that’s said to relieve problems in the body’s organs or help with psychological issues such as insomnia, rarely comes so cheap as at Golden Yan. Seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., you can get a fierce one-hour session for $35 at the candlelit spa. Those who just want a sample can try fifteen minutes for $12 or 30 for $20.
250 W. 54th St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 212-989-0906
Learning proper technique for walking in heels will save you a lot of pain, so former porn star (and Wall Street trader) Vera, who initially started teaching cross-dressers how to wear platforms twelve years ago, opened her two-hour class “Amazing Grace: How to Walk in High Heels” to all genders in 2007. The next round, which covers skills like getting in and out of taxis and skittering over subway grates, runs from June 17 to 19 ($49 per class, with discounts for booking multiple sessions). Bring your own stilettos.
The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine
111 E. 88th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-996-1900
The three athlete-focused podiatrists here, led by Dr. Joseph Geldwert, the medical director of the New York City triathlon, deal with both minor problems (bunions, heel pain, sprains, and ingrown-toenail removal) and major ones (reconstructive foot surgery). It’s also one of the only private offices on the East Coast with a gait-analysis machine, which uses motion-measuring video cameras and 5,000 pressure sensors to figure out if the way you walk or run is damaging your lower half ($200 for 60-plus minutes). Some treatments, such as toenail removal, are covered by insurance; others, like laser services, are considered cosmetic.
Brooklyn Acupuncture Nook
182 Eighth Ave., nr. Garfield Pl., Park Slope; 347-394-3693
Sticking pins in your feet brings fresh blood to the area and helps with general pain, according to Michael Pingicer, who has a master’s in Oriental medicine and works out of a brownstone in Park Slope. He uses anywhere from six to eighteen needles a session, placed in the pained foot or feet, as well as other parts of the body, and will send you home with a recipe for an herbal soak made of Sichuan pepper, peony and licorice roots, frankincense, honeysuckle, and dandelion ($90 for an hourlong visit).