10 best foot creams for dry feet, hard skin and cracked heels

The skin on the feet is 12 times thicker than the rest of our body, so you’ll need a dedicated product to treat them (iStock/The Independent)
The skin on the feet is 12 times thicker than the rest of our body, so you’ll need a dedicated product to treat them (iStock/The Independent)

Whether you’re sporting wellies on cross-country dog walks or donning trainers to pound city pavements on your morning commute, the majority of us could benefit from a bit of self-foot-care.

No one wants dry, rough, flaky skin, or perhaps more stubborn calluses or cracked heels. But these foot issues are a result of pressure and friction that comes from walking, standing, and just generally carrying our body weight around.

A dedicated foot cream will renew and repair your suffering soles, as well as prevent damage from taking place in the first place. And don’t think your regular moisturiser will cut it.

“The skin on the feet is 12 times thicker than the rest of our body, which is why a body product will not work,” Margaret Dabbs, a podiatrist, says. “A foot cream will have been formulated with the correct ingredients for foot concerns and have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties,” she adds. It will also have a richer, heavier specialised make-up to be able to work on this tougher skin.

Look for next-generation foot creams that contain humectants, such as urea, glycerin and hyaluronic acids, to draw moisture into the skin. Oils and shea butter, meanwhile, will seal it in. For seriously thick skin, you’ll also need a formula that contains liquid exfoliators like salicylic and lactic acid to speed up skin cell turnover and slough away dead cells.

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How we tested

We tested the latest formulas, to bring you this round-up of the very best. We found it best to apply to clean feet in the evenings, and those suitable were also tested in the mornings. Our winners left us with soft and supple feeling feet, but also went the extra mile – just as our feet have been doing – targeting rough, hard skin patches and cracked heels.

The best foot creams for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – CeraVe SA renewing foot cream, 88ml: £8.50, Lookfantastic.com

  • Best coconut scent – Burt’s Bees coconut foot cream, 120g: £8.99, Boots.com

  • Best for really dry skin – Eucerin urea repair plus 10% urea foot cream, 100ml: £11, Boots.com

  • Best organic formula – Ecooking overnight foot cream, 100ml: £26, Lookfantastic.com

  • Best for luxury on a budget – Bare Feet by Margaret Dabbs nourishing cracked heel balm, 100ml: £8.50, Ocado.com

  • Best deodoriser – Ameliorate intensive foot therapy, 75ml: £13.60, Lookfantastic.com

  • Best for stubborn calluses – SVR xérial 50 extreme foot cream, 50ml: £11.60, Feelunique.com

  • Best for instantly soft skin – Sol de Janeiro samba foot fetish, 90ml: £25, Cultbeauty.co.uk

  • Best daily balm – OPI pro spa intensive callus smoothing balm, 236ml: £30, Feelunique.com

  • Best for soothing tired feet – Clarins foot beauty treatment cream, 125ml: £22, Escentual.com

CeraVe SA renewing foot cream, 88ml

Best: Overall

With an impressive ingredients list, this hard-working formula packs a skin-repairing punch. The thick, balmy texture soaks in after one or two minutes, making it fuss-free to use in the mornings as well as evenings.

Prepare for instantly well-hydrated feet, thanks to the moisture-boosting ingredients hyaluronic acid and urea. After just days, cracked heels felt smoother with replenishing and repairing ingredients likes ceramides and niacinamide. We were equally impressed with its ability to keep stubborn calluses at bay. It boasts two per cent salicylic acid that penetrates and exfoliates the skin, so it’s able to break down rough, hard skin. After two weeks feet looked better than they have in years. A real winner.

Buy now £8.50, Lookfantastic.com

Burt’s Bees coconut foot cream, 120g

Best: Coconut scent

A bit like Marmite, you either love or hate a coconut scented beauty product – obviously you have to be in the former to get on with this much-loved, reliable formula that we’ve turned back to time and time again. More like a thick salve than cream, we found it best to use at night with cotton socks, as it is too greasy for those time-conscious in the mornings.

Made-up of coconut oil, lanolin and glycerin, this really delivers an intense moisture dose, leaving skin super soft and well-hydrated. The light, refreshing peppermint and coconut infusion is lovely on the nose too. Use as a preventative rather than a cure.

Buy now £8.99, Boots.com

Eucerin urea repair plus 10% urea foot cream, 100ml

Best: For really dry skin

Dry skin doesn’t stand a chance against this 10 per cent urea and ceramide formula. The humectant penetrates the outer layer of skin where it absorbs and retains moisture brilliantly. The balm-like texture can be used morning or evenings but be warned you need to wear socks, or you will slip if you’re on your feet.

Soles look instantly healthier and feel like silk after just one use, but the best results were seen with continued use. We can confirm its moisturising ability does last for 48 hours as promised, so you can skip use to every other day with this one. A great option for those that find applying a chore.

Buy now £11.00, Boots.com

Ecooking overnight foot cream, 100ml

Best: Organic formula

The fusion of the words “eco-friendly” and “cooking” is the inspiration behind the name of Danish beauty brand, as it was born in the kitchen using as many natural and organic ingredients as possible. This is fast becoming a bit of a cult-favourite, and we see why.

More than just a treat for the feet, although we love its cooling-effect on tired feet from the menthol and eucalyptus, this uses lactic acid to slough away at rough, dry skin. After just one use, foot-loving oils and urea moisturise and improve the function of the skins lipid barrier to protect against further dryness, and continued use sees hard skin improve.

It’s not greasy, or sticky, so skip the bed socks with this. And major bonus points for no unnecessary outer packaging. Sign up with email to be alerted when it’s back in stock.

Buy now £26.00, Lookfantastic.com

Bare Feet by Margaret Dabbs nourishing cracked heel balm, 100ml

Best: For luxury on a budget

Experience one of Margaret Dabbs foot rejuvenating medical procedures in the comfort of your own home with the great value diffusion range. This stand-out product heeled surface cracks within days of using it both morning and night. Lactic and salicylic acid are the smoothing exfoliators in this zesty-fragranced, surprisingly light textured cream. Coconut oil, cacao seed butter and manuka honey moisturise and soften feet. The only thing budget about this formula is its low price.

Buy now £8.50, Ocado.com

Ameliorate intensive foot therapy, 75ml

Best: Deodoriser

You can always rely on Ameliorate when it comes to treating dry, rough skin – its got its formulations nailed, and this foot cream is no exception. This is a supercharged moisturiser with the brand’s unique complex of active hardworking ingredients (that work so well in its other skincare too), as well as feet-loving urea and lactic acid to slough away thick skin. Use twice daily and expect to see major results after two weeks. This is a real triple threat, healing cracked soles, reducing hard skin and leaving feet soft and smooth. And for a bonus, it even deodorises too.

Buy now £13.60, Lookfantastic.com

SVR xérial 50 extreme foot cream, 50ml

Best: For stubborn calluses

Reach for this high strength formula from the French pharmacy skincare brand if you suffer from seriously stubborn hard skin or corns. Formulated with 50 per cent urea, the concentration gets to work quickly, as the moisture-absorbing humectant improves the appearance of dry, rough, scaly skin after first use. It also uses exfoliating salicylic acid to breakdown stubborn calluses, promising to have the same effect as a pumice stone after just a week of twice-daily use. We found thick hard skin which is normally filed weekly reduced dramatically. This works a treat on skin calluses on hands and elbows too.

Buy now £11.60, Feelunique.com/

Sol de Janeiro samba foot fetish, 90ml

Best: For instantly soft skin

If there’s such a thing as a glamorous foot cream this would be it. You can smell like the brands signature Brazilian bum bum body cream (£18, Cultbeauty.co.uk) from head-to-toe, as this shares its delicious, pistachio and salted caramel scent.

We were instantly sold when we opened up the box to find a mini surfboard foot file to smooth away rough skin first. Use the exotic cream after, with Brazilian rich moisturiser cupuacu butter and coconut oil and anti-oxidant acai. Feet feel soft and silky straightaway.

It’s a no-slip formula, so it soaks in instantly making it easy to apply anytime day or night, even before you slip on your heels to go Samba dance the night away. Fun, feel-good and everything we need right now.

Buy now £25.00, Cultbeauty.co.uk

OPI pro spa intensive callus smoothing balm, 236ml

Best: Daily balm

If you’re looking for an indulgent cream to use alongside your favourite foot file or pumice stone, this one’s for you. It’s not actually a higher price point than the rest, as you get a 236ml generous tub for the price.

With Brazilian nourishing superfood cupuacu, exfoliating lactic acid and soothing camomile and white tea, you might recognise the beautiful fragrance from your much-missed pedicure – as it’s often a salon therapist favourite. Use once a day and you’ll maintain soft, smooth and healthy-looking feet. We found applying a thick layer to feet at bedtime with soaks made an intensive foot mask when feet needed a little extra TLC.

Buy now £30.00, Feelunique.com

Clarins foot beauty treatment cream, 125ml

Best: For soothing tired feet

Fans of the cult favourite Clarins hand cream, and we’re including the Queen who is rumoured to never run out, will love the similar fresh, clean scent of this. More of a pampering treat with shea butter and cashew nut oil, you’ll need a foot file alongside it for more serious calluses, but it does keep it at bay once removed.

It’s formulated with antifungal arnica extract, which is loved in homoeopathic medicine for relieving swelling and soothing tired feet. We also found our nails felt stronger and healthier with continued use. Apply any time you want beautifully soft and supple feet.

Buy now £22.00, Escentual.com

The verdict: Foot creams

For an all-around foot repairing formula, we loved how fast and effective CeraVe SA renewing foot cream was at tackling cracked heels and hard skin, as well as providing a brilliant moisture boost and all at a purse-friendly price. For those looking to banish more stubborn calluses, try the SVR xérial 50 extreme foot cream.

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For more footcare, read our review of the best peels and scrubs to tackle hardened skin

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