The 14 Best Callus Removers for Smoother, Softer Soles

Our best overall pick is the Rikans Foot File and Callus Remover

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Best Callus Removers

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

Sure, the massage and precise polish application are nice, but our favorite part of a pedicure is undoubtedly the part when they slough all the dead skin off your feet. Truly, is there anything more satisfying than having your calluses buffed off and feet and heels left feeling silky smooth? We think not.  “Calluses are thick layers of tough skin that serve to protect your feet—but don’t look good,” says celebrity nail artist and founder of Nails of LA, Brittney Boyce. Because calluses offer protection, it’s important to not remove too much skin, which can be painful and even lead to infection. Our experts agree it’s best to go to a professional to remove them. You can also use  approved callus removers.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

Our best overall pick is the Rikans Foot File and Callus Remover. It’s simple, but the thousands of positive reviews don’t lie—it’ll remove just about everything. The Orly Callus Eraser is a fantastic chemical exfoliator for those who don't like filing and comes in an easy-to-use gel formula.

Boyce recommends proven methods like manually buffing them off with things such as a pumice stone or gently exfoliating and breaking apart the dead skin via ingredients such as acids and potassium hydroxide. With expert advice, we researched the best callus removers, ensuring they are easy to use, deliver results quickly, and won’t cause pain or injury to your precious soles. While taking the DIY route may be slightly less enjoyable than having someone else do it for you, these are the best calluses removers to reach for any time you need to get your tootsies into tip-top shape

Ahead, find the best callus removers to smooth out rough feet.

Best Overall

Rikans Foot File and Callus Remover

Foot file

Walmart

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Very effective

  • High-quality

What We Don't Like
  • Messy process

Thousands (and we mean thousands; at last count, there were over 58,000 ratings) of people have purchased this Amazon best-seller. It’s so simple yet so effective, quickly removing everything from flaky skin to calluses to corns. While yes, it does kind of look like a cheese grater, you’ll quickly get over that mental block once you see just how well it works, no matter whether you use it on wet or dry feet.

We like using it in the shower, since the process can be a little messy.

Key Ingredients: Metal, Plastic | Type: Manual | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Drugstore

AmLactin Foot Repair Foot Cream Therapy

AmLactin Foot Repair Foot Cream Therapy
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Takes time to work

“This formula contains a variety of different acids to help chemically exfoliate the skin while also moisturizing it,” says Boyce of one of her picks. Namely, it’s a combo of different AHAs that help leave your feet softer and smoother with continued use. (The affordable price and drugstore availability is a nice bonus.) We like to slather on a nice thick layer and then slip on a pair of socks for overnight use.

Key Ingredients: Lactic Acid, Glycerin | Type: Exfoliating Cream | Size: 3 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Cream

PurSources PurOrganica Urea 40% Foot Cream + Pumice Stone

PurOrganica Urea 40 Percent Foot Cream
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Easy to use

  • Can be used elsewhere on the body

What We Don't Like
  • Takes time to work

Urea is a standout exfoliant; you’ll typically find it in body products, where it’s ideal for softening and smoothing dead, dry patches on areas such as elbows, knees, and, yes, feet. It gives you extra bang for your buck by not only breaking down the dead skin but also imparting extra moisture, too. Another Amazon standout, reviewers note that it’s great for softening and decreasing calluses with continued use, and you can even use it on other dry spots.

Key Ingredients: Urea, Tea Tree, Aloe Vera, Chamomile | Type: Exfoliating Cream | Size: 4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Pumice Stone

Pumice Valley Natural Earth Lava Pumice Stone

Pumice Stone
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Easy to hold

What We Don't Like
  • Requires some elbow grease

A pumice stone is the most classic callus remover of all time, and this is one great option. It’s made of pure volcanic lava (as you can tell by the pure black color); when rubbed onto feet, it buffs away dead skin and helps stimulate circulation, a nice treat for tired feet. Follow Boyce’s lead and try using it after applying one of the other chemical-based callus removers, a super effective two-step process.

Key Ingredients: 100% Pumice Stone | Type: Manual, stone | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Professional Strength

Orly Callus Eraser

Orly Callus Eraser
What We Like
  • Very effective

  • Works very quickly

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • You need to wear gloves

  • Must use a pumice stone/file after

This pro-level formula earns Boyce’s vote: “Because it was formulated for in-salon use, it works really fast and is very effective, yet still gentle,” she says. (Credit the addition of clove and aloe vera oil, respectively.) Apply onto any affected areas, let sit for three to five minutes, then rinse off and use a pumice stone to buff away any dead skin.

Key Ingredients: Potassium Hydroxide, Clove, Glycerin, Aloe Vera | Type: Gel | Size: 4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Peel

Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel

Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel

Courtesy of Baby Foot

What We Like
  • Very effective

  • Results of one use last for months

What We Don't Like
  • Messy when peeling starts

If you think that the whole foot-sloughing process at the nail salon is satisfying, wait until you try this peel. (Let’s just say there's a good reason why it’s a cult classic.) Pop on the single-use peel for one hour; it comes in plastic booties that are filled with a gel that contains a blend of botanical extracts and exfoliating acids. Wash your feet after, and then wait. The effects start to show up about a week later, namely when you see your feet peel and shed layer after layer of skin. “You have to be patient, but it really does give you super soft, baby feet,” says Boyce, who says this is one of her top picks for at-home use.

Key Ingredients: Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Malic Acid | Type: Peel socks | Size: 2.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Scrub

The Body Shop Peppermint Reviving Pumice Foot Scrub

Peppermint Reviving Pumice Foot Scrub

 Courtesy of  The Body Shop 

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Refreshing sensation

What We Don't Like
  • Better for preventing calluses

Again, scrubbing your own feet may not be as enjoyable as when someone else does it, but it is a good way to start to break down dead skin—and it works especially well to help prevent new calluses from building up. This particular scrub is a great choice, with tiny, volcanic rock granules that do the buffing (not unlike a pumice stone, as the name suggests). But what’s especially nice is the addition of peppermint oil, which makes it feel supercooling, soothing, and refreshing—we reach for it time and time again after long runs.

Key Ingredients: Pumice, Peppermint Oil | Type: Scrub | Size: 3.45 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No 

Best Electric

Amope Pedi Perfect Extra Coarse Electric Foot File

Amope Pedi Perfect
What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Totally hands-off

What We Don't Like
  • Only use on rough areas

All you have to do is switch on this handy-dandy, battery-operated device and let it go to town. The exfoliating head is made with diamond crystals and spins 360 degrees, essentially sanding down calluses. It’s effective and pretty easy to use, though reviewers note that if you accidentally get it near non-callused, thinner skin, it can be a little bit painful.

Key Ingredients: Metal, Plastic | Type: Electric, roller | Byrdie Clean: Yes 

Best for Targeted Calluses

Dr. Sholl’s Duragel Salicylic Acid Callus Remover Cushion

Dr. Sholl’s Duragel Salicylic Acid Callus Remover Cushion
What We Like
  • Great for targeted calluses

  • Foolproof and totally hands-off

What We Don't Like
  • Only four come in a pack

If you have just one or two super stubborn calluses, try these convenient stickers. The cushiony gel patches are infused with a whopping 40 percent concentration of salicylic acid, which is a well-known peel and rejuvenating agent for skin. Since they’re stickers, they're also great to stick onto individual calluses. They’re meant to be worn for 48 hours, though you’ll likely need to repeat with another sticker for at least one more round.

Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid | Type: Gel Sticker | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Value

Asutra Tea Tree & Lavender Therapeutic Foot Soak

Asutra Tea Tree & Lavender Therapeutic Foot Soak

Asutra

What We Like
  • Refreshing sensation

  • Clean ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Takes time to work, about 20 minutes to soak your feet

If you’re looking for a spa-worthy experience at home, try this therapeutic foot soak. The star ingredient is dead sea salts, which are shown to soften and moisturize dry skin. Essential oils like coconut and peppermint oils further help smooth skin. This foot soak is packaged with a free pumice stone to complete the at-home treatment and leave feet with a velvet finish. 

Key Ingredients: Dead Sea Salt, Tea Tree, Peppermint | Type: Scrub | Size: 16 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Splurge

Bare Hands The Natural Pedicure

Bare Hands The Natural Pedicure

Bare Hands

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Can use the balm all over your body

  • Clean ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • May take time to work

This beautiful pedicure set naturally softens soles in two steps. First, the unique glass file buffs rough skin more gently and precisely than a regular file. Then the slightly scented verbena balm rolls right on, distributing a creamy layer to lock in moisture. Because it comes in a paper push-up tube, the balm is less messy than a regular lotion, and you can easily apply it to other dry areas like your elbows and cuticles. Take this luxe set anywhere with its reusable pouch. 

Key Ingredients: Glass File, Balm: Verbena, Cocoa Butter, Calendula | Type: Manual file and Balm | Size: 2 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Sensitive Skin

Skin Buttr Pomango Scrub

Skin Buttr Pomango Scrub

Skin Buttr

What We Like
  • Gentle

  • Affordable

  • Great for sensitive skin

What We Don't Like
  • Requires some work

Ready for your softest soles? This sugar scrub deeply nourishes skin with shea butter and coconut oil l which repair the skin barrier. Sugar gently exfoliates skin to soften calluses and smooth soles. When it comes to scrubs, consistency is key, so we recommend using this one a few times a week for best results.

Key Ingredients: Shea, Castor Oil, Pomegranate | Type: Scrub | Size: 3.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Anti-bacterial

Tweezerman Sole Smoother Antibacterial Callus Stone

Tweezerman Sole Smoother Antibacterial Callus Stone

Amazon

What We Like
  • Ergonomic handle

  • Works quickly

  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • It can be a little messy

There is no denying the ease of this callus stone. Made with an ergonomic handle to increase your control and grip, this gentle yet effective sole hugs the curves of your foot. The rough side quickly sloughs off calluses while the opposite side smooths. Infused with silver to provide antibacterial benefits, it's also waterproof, which makes for a great option to use and store in the shower.

Key Ingredients: Ceramic stone, Silver | Type: Ceramic Stone | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Moisturizing

Barefoot Scientist High Dive Intensive Hydration Cream

Barefoot Scientist High Dive Intensive Hydration Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Visible results in days

  • Great for hands too

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Formulated with over a dozen ingredients that restore moisture, this ultra-nourishing cream takes hydration to the next level. Glycolic acid exfoliates, while hyaluronic acid, shea butter, glycerin, and ceramides restore moisture. All you have to do is apply an even layer, slide your socks on, and let the sole softening begin. Leave this cream on overnight and wake up to supple feet. 

Key Ingredients: Urea, Hyaluronic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Ceramide NG | Type: Cream | Size: 4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is the Rikans Foot File and Callus Remover; this physical callus remover works safely and effectively without taking too much skin off. If you’re looking for something a bit more gentle, we love the Orly Callus Eraser, which can be used for chemical exfoliation.

Meet the Expert

  • Syreeta Aaron is a nail artist and LeChat Nails educator based in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • Brittney Boyce is a celebrity nail artist and the founder of Nails of LA. With over a decade of experience in the nail industry, Boyce has worked on everything from fashion campaigns to the hands of celebrity clientele.
  • Dr. Danielle McNeil is a board-certified podiatrist and founder of Coddle & Cure.

What to Look for in a Callus Remover

Physical vs. Chemical Callus Removers

Callus removers come in multiple forms, from physical pumice stones, foot files, and razors to treatment gels and creams. Nail artist and LeChat Nails educator Syreeta Aaron says the first thing to look into when shopping for a callus remover is what type is best suited for your needs. “If there’s not a lot of buildup or dead skin, a cream is sufficient to use, along with a pumice stone,” she says. “A foot file is the least abrasive option and is great for in-between maintenance after a callus has already been addressed.” Rikans Foot File and Callus Remover is a no-fuss foot file that gets the job done.

If your calluses are more serious, consider opting for stronger options. “If you really need to attack a callus, use a razor or a gel treatment, as these will work for more severe cases.” She notes that razors are illegal in most states, and they can leave your feet more prone to infection. “I wouldn’t trust myself at home on my own using a razor because you can take off too much skin, which can leave your feet burning when you walk.” Yup, we’ll stick to gel, like the Orly Callus Eraser.

Safe and Gentle Removal

Board-certified Podiatrist and Founder of Coddle & Cure, Dr. Danielle McNeil, tends to stay away from aggressive at-home devices as there is a higher risk of tearing or cutting your skin and causing injury. 

Aaron also stresses the importance of using a product that's safe and gentle, even if you’re trying to remove a tougher callus. We’ve already mentioned the potential dangers of razors, but gel treatments—which are formulated with a mix of skincare acids to remove dead skin—can be very strong and irritating if not used correctly. They’re safe, but be sure to always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.

Easy to Use

Callus removers that are easy to use and don’t involve much manual labor are always great options. An electric foot buffer, like Amope Pedi Perfect Extra Coarse Electric Foot File, requires little to no effort, making callus and corn removal a breeze. Foot masks with plastic booties, like Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel, are a great (and relatively mess-free) way to kick back and relax while addressing any pesky rough patches.

FAQ
  • Do callus removers work?

    According to Aaron, callus removers—both physical and chemical—do work as long as they are used properly. McNeil recommends starting with callus removers containing acids like salicylic, lactic, and glycolic to soften the hard skin and exfoliate. Amlactin Foot Repair is a lotion containing alpha-hydroxy acids that you can use daily to soften your feet. “Depending on how thick the callus is, try using a mechanical method like a pumice stone, lava stone,” says McNeil. Pumice Valley Natural Earth Lava Pumice Stone uses natural rock to slough off dry skin.

Why Trust Byrdie? 

Lauren Hackney Behringer has over 10 years of experience as a celebrity aesthetician, health coach, writer, and beauty industry expert. As a practicing medical aesthetician, Lauren sees firsthand how skincare performs on her NYC clients. She is also a devoted skin care enthusiast, always ready to try the latest beauty products. One of her new favorite products is the Bare Hands Natural Pedicure set. She loves the way the glass file buffs and how soft the verbena balm leaves skin—a great treat after seeing clients all day.  

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  2. Tang SC, Yang JH. Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the SkinMolecules. 2018;23(4):863. doi:10.3390/molecules23040863

  3. Celleno L. Topical Urea in Skincare: A review. Dermatol Ther. 2018;31(6):e12690. doi:10.1111/dth.12690

  4. Arif T. Salicylic Acid As a Peeling Agent: A Comprehensive ReviewClin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015;8:455-461. doi:10.2147/CCID.S84765

  5. Proksch E, Nissen H-P, Bremgartner M, Urquhart C. Bathing in a magnesium-rich dead sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. International Journal of Dermatology. 2005;44(2):151-157. doi:10.1111/j.1365-4632.2005.02079.x

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