Whether your feet are callused or pedicured, big or small, it doesn't matter. The overwhelming majority of grand scholars agree that a woman's feet must be covered in front of those who are not mahram to her. It's considered a mandatory part of Hijab.
If exposing your feet at all is problematic, then showing unrelated men one's polished nails, henna/mehndi, jingling anklets, or toe rings is definitely a no-no for Hijab.
I know, it's summer and it gets hot. But regardless, you need to wear socks, and ones that aren't transparent. Hence, very sheer nylons are not going to help hide your purple toenails. Look for lightweight opaque trouser socks. They come in a variety of shades and colors, and some are even made of bamboo and special cooling materials.
What About Sky-High Heels?
Socks are not the only thing to consider though. What about the shoes that will cover your feet? Does wearing extremely high and attractive heels fit in with the idea behind Hijab? After all, the high heels' purpose is to raise the behind, make the line of the leg more beautiful, add elegance to the arch of the feet, and alter one's walk so it becomes more seductive.
Add in the clackety-clack as one strides, and it equals trouble. Of course, many shoes make noise that we can't help, but a really high-heeled pair has its own excessively loud marching band. And when heads turn and also see a too-attractive shoe...well...think about it.
Wearing an outrageous shoe defeats the point of Hijab. So, what's a girl to do?
What to Look for in a Hijab-Friendly Shoe
Shop for shoes at the end of the day, when your feet will be more swollen and tired, to make sure they fit properly even at such a time. Wear the weight of sock you would normally wear with that type of shoe.
Look for soles that are lined with nonskid materials for your regular workday shoes. Besides being less noisy, such shoes will be more comfortable, and you'll be able to wear them on slippery rainy days. Lots of stylish shoes are available with this option.
Stick to lower height heels. Besides being more modest than stilettos, wide heels (the Losve blogs recommends wide ones in a low or mid height, and especially wide low ones for work) are better for your feet, especially if you have to do a lot of walking and don't want to wear flats. Just check that they don't make excessive noise when you walk, and that they aren't too fancy. (The same rules apply here as they do in choosing other Hijabi clothing and accessories.)
You can be modest but still have fun with different textures and detailing (patent or crocodile leather, a tiny buckle, a thin strap). Just keep the colors muted. Black, tan, brown, navy are the essential colors that will cover your entire wardrobe. Maybe grey will be good as well. With a coordinating purse (either the same color as your shoes or one that picks up a color from your scarf) you can look really pulled together and modestly stylish.
But of course, you would have to try it on in the store and see how it looks in person. Is it comfortable and quiet enough when you walk? The design is an example of how you can play around with styles and still be subtle. More Hijab-friendly options are modest versions of medium-heel court shoes, kitten heels, and low-heeled Mary Janes.
Even though they're in style, don't bother buying open-toe shoes. You'd have to wear socks with them anyway, so the look won't work.
That's not to say that in a ladies gathering, or with your own family, you can't have fun with gorgeous shoes. Want to glam up your sari/gown with gold stilettos decorated with sequins and beads at a wedding reception? If men and women are not going to come across each other, no problem! Go ahead, ditch the socks, wear the heels and have fun!
In fact, if the timing is right, you can even go ahead and put on some polish for the occasion. For example, if it's that time of the month and therefore you cannot perform Salat (hence don't need to do wudhu), you can wear nail polish, as long as you are keeping it hidden from non-mahrams. (That includes polish on your fingers – those are difficult to keep hidden!) For a ladies-only occasion though, or if you're staying in the house, it's fine.
If you can pray, and still want to put on nail polish for a special occasion like that wedding reception, follow the same plan as you would for your waterproof makeup (warning: this will get complicated!): At home, get everything else ready, then go to the washroom, and make sure to do wudhu. Only then, while you are in a state of wudhu, should you apply your heavy makeup and nail polish. Only do this if you are confident you can keep your wudhu until prayer time at the event.
Just in case you'll have to break your wudhu, keep a makeup remover wipe and nail polish remover wipe in your purse. Such wipes are fantastic – you can buy them individually wrapped at the drugstore or grocery store.
Some ladies do this before coming to the Islamic center for an Eid celebration, and it can work out fine, but it is risky too. You don't want to miss prayer for the sake of your cosmetics! So judge accordingly, and be prepared with removers in case your wudhu breaks.
Aside from nail polish remover wipes, while traveling and at home you can use these little jars for your fingers. They are fitted with a sponge which contains remover. All you do is stick your finger into the sponge, twist, and the polish is off. Super fast, easy, and convenient.
Getting Too Smart for Their Own Good
Of course, removing nail polish from the toes requires a little more work. Some sisters get a little too cute and creative when they see the following rulings about wiping feet in wudhu:
"After wiping the head, one should wipe, with the moisture present in one's hands, one's feet from any toe of the foot up to the joint. As a recommended precaution, the right foot should be wiped with the right hand, and the left foot with the left hand.
"Wiping of the feet can have any breadth, but it is better that the breadth of the wiping should be equal to three joined fingers, and it is still better that the wiping of the entire foot is done with the entire hand." (Reference)
So what do they do? They decide that they will put nail polish on all their toes except one, and go around like that for weeks!
Aside from the fact that this will look very, very odd and unstylish to whoever sees it (and non-mahrams aren't supposed to see it – still, if they did, imagine what they'd think!), keep in mind that the polish will have to be removed for any ghusls that need to be done. Sorry, but Style Watch does not endorse this habit at all – it's strange and unsightly!
Another much more serious and alarming trend is the use of artificial nails – aside from having to be hidden from non-mahrams, acrylic nails pose a permanent obstacle to acts of worship. Like nail polish, acrylic nails block water from reaching the nail, which means you can't do wudhu and ghusl, which means none of your obligatory prayers will be accepted. Obviously, skipping prayers for such a reason is forbidden. And unlike temporary nail polish, acrylics cannot be removed at will.
Since one has to wait for the fake nail to grow out, which takes months, one's wudhus and ghusls will never be correct. And, in the worst case scenario, if a sister passes away wearing such nails, communities have discovered that the fake nails cannot even be removed to give her corpse the ritual bath that must be performed before burial. Sisters, is it worth it?
This ancient cosmetic art is still popular today. Do be careful and buy your henna pastes from a reliable source, as some black henna mixtures have dangerous chemicals added to them. Again, any henna/mehndi needs to be hidden from non-mahrams. As far as performing wudhu and ghusl goes, since it just stains the nail and does not block water from reaching it, it's fine to wear during ablutions.