Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy


The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More


Military and Veterans Discount


AARP’s Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.


AARP Games - Play Now!


Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.


Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.



Heart Disease


Most Popular


Conditions & Treatments

Real Men, Mature Men, Get Pedicures

Move over, ladies, you have company at the spa


Mike Leavitt enjoys a pedicure treatment at the Emerge Spa in Boston. — Naomi Harris

The weather is warming up, sandals and flip-flops are reappearing, and that means one thing: It’s pedicure season. But for those who think pedicures are only for women, think again. A growing number of men—especially older ones—are joining women at the spa, helping to make nail care one of the fastest growing sectors of the beauty industry.

Across the country, salons are luring men by offering more manly sounding services like “executive pedicure” and “sports pedicure”—even men’s night specials with barbecue and beer. “I thought only women did this stuff, so I was very skeptical,” says Daniel Crowley, a 73-year-old lawyer in Washington. But he was also desperate—it was getting harder to reach his toes and he had a nasty ingrown nail—so he followed his wife’s advice and went to her nail salon. “The pedicurist turned out to be as good as a podiatrist,” he declares. “My feet felt great, and she got rid of the pain from that nail I’d had for a long time.”

On his second visit, Crowley says, “the guy in the next chair was getting ready to run in a triathalon. He told me a pedicure gives him an edge.”

Doctors who care for older adults say the condition of a person’s feet is a good indicator of overall health. Older people often have trouble reaching—or even seeing—their toes. Trimming toenails and removing calluses and rough patches can make walking easier, and the massage that goes with the pedicure stimulates blood flow in legs and feet.

James Shea, 71, a retired heavy equipment mechanic in Geneva, Ala., was persuaded to get a pedicure by his daughter, who took one look at his feet and made an appointment at a nearby salon. His reaction: “I’ve never been that pampered before in my whole life.” His favorite part, he admits, was getting his feet massaged with lotion.

Shea, who served as a sergeant in the Marine Corps for six years, didn’t hesitate when asked if he’d go back. “Oh, definitely.”

Nail care specialist Alexis Carter of Nusta Spa in Washington, says 20 percent of the spa’s clientele are men and many are over 50.

Women often coax husbands or boyfriends to have their first pedicure, “but once they get their feet in the warm water, they’re hooked,” says Carter.

In Boston, Emerge Spa Salon president Joyce Hampers says she’s seeing a definite increase in what she calls “more mature” men coming in for spa services like pedicures—especially after she added half a floor devoted solely to her male clientele. “Some of them felt a little uncomfortable being in the same waiting room with women” while in bathrobes, she says. Since adding the Men’s Club in 2006, she says men now make up 35 percent of the salon’s customers.

‘Manly’ treatments

And at the Karen Allen Salon and Spa in Riverside, Calif., renaming the women’s pedicure the “executive pedicure” proved so popular with men, the salon is offering a men-only night in June, featuring barbecue and beer along with services like pedicures, manicures and facials.

“It’s become much more socially acceptable” for men to get pedicures, says Manhattan podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera, M.D. “As people age, it becomes harder for them to see to trim their toenails or to bend down,” so a pedicure or a visit to a podiatrist can help, she adds. She encourages her older patients to see her for a “pre-pedicure” visit to ensure they don’t have any health problems before heading to the spa.

Of course more guys may be getting pedicures because women are getting tired of looking at men’s ugly feet.

“Just the other day, I had an older man tell me that his wife refused to go on vacation with him unless he did something about his toenail fungus,” Sutera recalls.

Former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr., says he gets regular pedicures for a similar reason. He told the New York Times that he has “severe athlete’s feet. I get a foot scrub out of respect for my wife because getting into bed with what I have when I take my socks off isn’t respectful to anybody."

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points