Save your soles

Think a luxe pedi can’t truly transform your hard-core feet? Think again.

Feet have it tough before you throw treadmill intervals, burpees and hot yoga in the mix. They have fewer oil glands to keep cuticles and heels from cracking and callusing, and they bear the constant weight of life. “Calluses indicate how the body shifts itself and how your feet move in your shoes while working out,” says Kellee, a nail technician at San Francisco’s Sanctuary Spa. “Weight tends to go to the ball of the foot, heel and sides, leading to a build-up of excess dry skin.” Hard-working feet need extra TLC, especially when on display in summer sandals, so we’ve rounded up some pampering but powerful pedis worth kicking back for in the slideshow above. Hint: All are heavy on exfoliation.

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  • Miami


    The Spa: Cowshed Miami, Soho Beach House

    The Treatment: The Ultimate Cowshed Pedicure

    The Details: Two things necessary for South Beach: a toned bod and a perfect pedi. This popular spa out of London provides the latter with ocean-facing chairs and Cowshed’s paraben-free botanical products. Hardened skin gets the heave-ho with Cowshed’s Spearmint Exfoliating Sea Salt Scrub followed by a coating of cuticle eliminator to dissolve away calluses. Feet are wrapped in hot towels after Cowshed’s uber-moisturizing Sandalwood Hand & Foot Treatment gets slathered on, giving time for a 10-minute hand massage before the coup de grace — a lengthy leg-and-foot massage, pre-polish. ($75/75 minutes; cowshedonline.com).

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  • Toronto


    The Spa: Ritual

    The Treatment: The Full Shellac Pedicure

    The Details: “Even if you wait 2 hours after a regular-polish pedicure, you can’t slip your sneakers on or do hot yoga without smudging. That’s why Shellac is so great,” says co-owner Maria Cristina Faccio. This pedi combines the instant-hardening enamel with major softening. An Epsom salts soak spiked with tea tree and eucalyptus naturally deodorizes and fights fungus. (Bonus: Epsom salts, a post-workout fave, draw out excess lactic acid.) A sea salt scrub and a drill-like buffer with pumice pads go to town on calluses. “We’re very thorough, so we also use a paddle buffer to really get between toes and around the ankles, too,” says Faccio. After getting Shellac-ed, settle in for a massage with cooling lotion. ($60/45 minutes; ritual.ca)

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  • Beverly Hills

    Beverly Hills

    The Spa: Luna D’oro Beauty House

    The Treatment: CF3 Anti-Aging Enriching Treatment Pedi

    The Details: More hip living room than nail salon, this new Christina Fitzgerald concept spa is the only one in the U.S. using the Aussie nail guru’s products. “Neglecting the feet can lead to wrinkles and uneven pigmentation, as well as rough, dry skin,” says Luna founder Anna Grishin. The Pumice Pen Luxury Smoother gets all the nooks and crannies around nails and a killer foot paddle sands skin smooth. An enzyme scrub and a myriad of anti-aging potions leave soles soft as a baby’s bottom. Bonus: Fitzgerald’s candy colored enamels can last up to a week longer thanks to a special hardening top coat. ($130/75 minutes; luna-doro.com)

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  • Chicago


    The Spa: Elysian Spa at the Waldorf Astoria

    The Treatment:  The Elysian Signature Pedi

    The Details: A warm “lava” shell massage is the centerpiece of this luxe pedi — the hottest one at the Elysian. Feet are prepped with a personalized scented salt-and-essential-oil soak designed to balance the sacral chakra and then buffed satiny with organic sugar and French Lavender oil. Frankincense-scented massage cream gives the shells the perfect slip for a lingering massage that gets the kinks out of beat-up soles and lower legs. “The shells have a heating device inside so they hold heat even better than hot stones,” says spa director Melissa Jansma. A dip in hydrating paraffin wax and warm slippers seal in moisture before toes get a dose of Butter London lacquer. ($110/75 minutes; waldorfastoria.com)

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  • Dallas


    The Spa: The Spa at the Crescent, Rosewood Crescent Hotel

    The Treatment: The Cowboy Boogie Spa Pedicure

    The Details: Lavender cookies and champagne or a smoothie (your choice) put the treat in this treatment. Unlike most soak-first pedis, it kicks off with a mineral-rich Moor Mud mask and warm spa booties. “The mud detoxifies and soothes ache-y muscles and pain,” says spa director Karen Shawn. Scrubbing, trimming, and shaping ensues, before a knees-to-toes ginger mask. A callus remover of AHAs, aloe, and green tea banish remaining rough edges (if there are any) before a massage and polish finale. ($75/50 minutes; rosewoodhotels.com)

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  • D.C.


    The Spa: Mandarin Oriental 

    The Treatment: The Luxury Pedicure

    The Details: This tell-it-like-it-is pedi treats tired, beat-up feet to the ultra-hydrating argan oil found in Moroccanoil’s new body line. No boring basin here, feet slip into a signature red lacquer bowl for a cleansing salt soak before a knee-to-toe sloughing with orange-peel-laced Moroccanoil Body Buff and hot mitts. You’ll lose track of the layers of moisturizing argan — from the Body Souffle to the Intense Hydrating Treatment. The former is used for a warm foot mask and wrap that leaves skin silky; the latter for a heavenly massage. Points if you’re still awake by polish time. ($95/65 minutes; mandarinoriental.com)

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  • New York City

    New York City

    The Spa: Institute Beauté

    The Treatment: The Foot Facial

    The Details: As intensive — and pricey — as it gets. This medical-grade pampering (courtesy of famed foot guru Suzanne Levine, MD) starts with skin-softening urea (40%) rather than a soak, and segues to a thermal exfoliating scrub that warms on contact. “The crushed bamboo has a circular grit that’s non-irritating but tough on dead skin,” says nurse Nell Banganay. A 20% glycolic acid peel and a rotary filing machine safely obliterate challenging calluses. Glycolic moisturizer plus foot reflexology cap it off; and while nails don’t leave with polish, a bleaching solution eliminates yellowing. (starting at $225/45 minutes; institutebeaute.com)

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