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What is a Foot File?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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A foot file is a file which is specifically designed to be used on the feet. Foot files are used to remove calluses and smooth the skin of the feet, and some people regard them as an important part of foot care. Regular use of a foot file can help to keep the feet smooth and pleasant, and it can reduce discomfort from oversized calluses.

Foot files come in a range of styles designed for different applications, ranging from fine glass files for finishing touches to rough files, like a Microplane® file, which are almost like graters for the feet. For people who take foot filing seriously, a range of foot files may be used during a foot care session, with a rough file to remove especially large calluses, and a fine file to smooth the foot at the end of the session.

Rough foot files can be made from metal or sandpaper. Metal foot files are used to essentially grate calluses away, and they require a delicate touch to ensure that excessive tissue is not removed from the foot. Sandpaper or emery files require less care, but they take up more time, as the course material works more slowly than a microplaning foot file. Fine files made from textured glass or very fine emery paper are designed for finishing touches only, as they are far too fine for serious calluses.

To use a foot file, it helps to soak the feet first, softening up the skin. Many people like to soak their feet in salts, sometimes adding essential oils to make their feet smell good. After soaking, the foot can be filed with brisk motions from the foot file. Maintaining even pressure is important, to ensure that calluses are filed uniformly, as is working lightly around sensitive areas of the foot. Once the bulk of dead skin and callused material is removed, a finer file can be used to finish up, and then the feet can be rinsed and moisturized.

For people with rough feet, a foot file can help to keep their feet soft and smooth, traits which are often of aesthetic value. Calluses can also cause pain if they grow especially large, so removing calluses makes walking more comfortable. Foot files can also be used to smooth out cracks in the feet, although it may take a series of sessions of foot filing combined with deep moisturizing to resolve the problem.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a BeautyAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By ellafarris — On Jun 24, 2011

@Sierra02 - It's not uncommon for your heels to be cracked especially during the warmer seasons when we tend to run around barefoot or in open back sandals.

The longer you allow your feet to remain in this condition the harder it'll be to treat them. If moisturizers aren't working for you then that's because they can't penetrate through the hardened dry dead skin.

In my opinion the best pedicure foot files for removing dead skin are the ones made of metal. They're fairly cheap and can be purchased at most drug and department stores.

After you finish filing your feet don't forget to apply a good foot moisturizer to help keep them soft and smooth in between filing. Do this on a regular basis and your feet will be looking good in no time.

By Sierra02 — On Jun 22, 2011

My feet always seem to get really rough and cracked during the summer months. I don't wear anything on my feet except sandals but now my feet are starting to look too bad to be exposed.

I have tried all kinds of moisturizers and foot creams on the market but nothing seems to improve the appearance of or soften my feet.

Please help, I don't like having such scaly unattractive feet, especially in the Summertime.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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