Who doesn’t love a good trip to the beach? There’s something just so nice about the cool waves of the water and the warm sand beneath your toes.
Sand can get really, really hot—it’s no joke. The Palm Beach Post in Palm Beach County, Florida estimates that sand temperatures at Ocean Reef Park in Riviera Beach can get to be as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and other beaches are likely similar. And that can really do damage to your feet.
“It can be quite painful to your feet,” said Roger Amidon, the general manager of the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, which uses a soaker hose to keep their sand cool between the hotel and its beachfront chairs.
It’s especially worse for children—they can really feel the hot sand beneath their little piggies. “Little kids will start walking and then they’ll just stop and start crying,” said Don May, with Palm Beach County Ocean Rescue.
So how do you prevent your feet from burning off when you’re walking through the sand? Well, one way is pretty simple: “Most people just sprint for their lives to the water,” says May.
If you came to the beach to go swimming, this method works well, of course. But if you’re trying to take a walk on the beach, or just trying to get from your towel to the snack bar without feeling like your feet are on fire, what can you do?
Some health officials suggest trying the “run, stop, bury” technique. This is just what it sounds like: you run as fast as you can to where you want to be on the beach, and if you feel your feet getting too hot, stop what you’re doing, and then bury your feet as far into the cooler sand below the surface as you can get. This is the fastest way to provide relief when you’re still on the sand.
Of course, another seemingly obvious but simple tip is to just keep your sandals on while you walk on the beach to protect your feet.
And no, contrary to popular belief, one type of sand isn’t always better than another. All sand rises in temperature under the sun. “If you have 95-degree heat and you’re walking barefoot it can be very uncomfortable on your feet whether it’s white sand or dark sand,” said Jeff Williams, a senior coastal emeritus scientist with the U.S. Geologic Survey in Massachusetts.
If your feet do get burned from the sand, try soaking your feet in cool water, applying a soothing cream, hydrate yourself with water, and give your feet some time to recover before stepping on the sand again.
For some more great tips on preventing sand burn on your feet all summer long, check out this video below.
Have you ever burned you feet from stepping in hot sand before? What do you do to try to keep your feet from getting burned in the sand?