Big or small, flat or fat, it's a fact: Feet are not our best feature.

Sure, feet are functional. But something to brag about? Not hardly.

And yet, as soon as the weather warms up, swarms of sandal-wearers appear, unabashedly displaying gnarly toes in ugly and often unsuitable footwear.

Yes, men, I'm talking to you.

"Any man who is going to be wearing any type of open-toed footwear needs to attend to his feet," declares Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom's fashion creative director.

Yet even the briefest outing to a public place will tell you that most men in sandals have never, ever given the appearance of their feet the slightest consideration.

Curled yellow toenails? Check.

Dirty feet crying out for a solid soap-and-water scrubbing. Check.

Dry, flaky, calloused, gross-out heels? Check.

The above is, of course, just a partial list of the masculine footscape of every city, town and burg as soon as the temperature goes up.

So, I've set out to change that. (I'm not optimistic.)

For starters, fellas, get a pedicure. "Anyone showing his toes should get a pedicure," says style expert Joe Lupo, creative director and co-founder of Visual Therapy.

As so many know, one of the great luxuries in life is a warm foot soak and the lotion foot massage that is all part of a pedicure. And if you think it's not manly, you're simply wrong.

I've had cops (not in uniform) and burly construction workers sitting next to me at the nail parlor with their feet in a whirling, bubbly bath. They're smiling!

Not convinced? Then at least give yourself one. Cut those toe nails, moisturize. As Lupo puts it: "Unless your feet are clean and managed, don't wear sandals."

If you're feet aren't sandal-worthy there are plenty of full coverage casual options that totally hide your flaws - including deck shoes, espadrilles (canvas, like TOMS brand) and huaraches. (I spotted some handsome closed-toe ones by Steve Madden at Macy's for $85.)

But for all you guys who are committed to sandals, I went shopping to create this guide to help you make better choices.

Sandal-wearing tips

Don't ...

• Even think about wearing socks with sandals

• Wear rubber flip-flops anywhere but the beach, pool or other watery place

• Show your feet if they're ugly/dirty/gross

• Wear sandals to work unless you're a lifeguard

Do ...

• Get a pedicure or give yourself one

• Buy leather instead of rubber sandals for street wear

• Avoid Velcro closures except for rugged hiking sandals

• Break them in at home if long walks loom

Sandal suggestions

'Doddi' Bostonian

$109.99 reduced to $89.99,

Pro: Conceals most of the foot; good with linen pants

Con: Nerd look with jeans; Velcro side closure is lame

Old Navy flip-flop

2 for $5,

Pro: Can't beat the price; unlike many flips, these don't rub between toes

Con: Too informal for street wear; must replace them often to look sharp

'Cassette' Kenneth Cole

$98 reduced to $87.99, Macy's,

Pro: Leather looks classy.

Con: Straps call attention to your big toe, which is not remotely a good thing

'Breeze' 1901 house brand


Pro: Versatile, dressier leather alternative to rubber flip-flops

Con: Require well-tended feet

'El Rio' The North Face


Pro: Better than barefoot

Con: Unattractive, silly prominent logo, Velcro is everywhere

'Ronny' Calvin Klein

$88 reduced to $79.99, Macy's,

Pro: No between-toe strap; great looking

Con: Foot can slide out while walking