It’s an issue that can affect anyone, but one that not everyone likes to talk about: smelly feet. Caused when sweat accumulates on the skin and fuels the growth of odor-causing bacteria, it’s an embarrassing situation that can afflict anyone, from professionals who spend all day in dress socks to weekend warriors on the hiking trail to gym rats.
But you don’t have to live with feet stink. Consider these tips for fresher smelling feet:
• Wash and Dry: Don’t neglect to scrub your feet in the shower. Get between toes with a good antibacterial soap. After showering, apply the same between-the-toes treatment with a towel, being sure that feet are completely dry before putting on socks and shoes.
• Air Out: After a long active day or workout, a lot of people have the habit of keeping their shoes and socks on, taking care of things around the house. Take your shoes and socks off as soon as possible to give your feet and toes a chance to air out and breathe.
• Improve Your Sock Game: Look beyond the “odor-resistant” label on socks, as many manufacturers simply use a liquid application on the socks, which works only until it bleeds out of the fibers, which happens when socks are worn for periods of time. Check out innovations in sock design, which are making it easier to beat smelly feet long-term. For example, ScentLok Socks are odor destroying socks, manufactured using silver particles that are permanently embedded into the sock fibers to help control bacterial growth and odor for the life of the sock. More information is available at www.scentloksocks.com.
• Rotate and Clean Shoes: Don’t wear the same pair of shoes for more than a couple of days in a row. If possible, alternate pairs daily and store them in a cool, dry place, allowing them to air out before putting them in a box or a bag. Handwashing shoes and insoles with cool water is also a good way to keep them fresh, and you can even add some disinfectant to the water to keep them smelling their best.
“Shoes and boots create an extremely harsh environment for our feet. There’s no air moving around; it’s dark, moist and warm — a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and a wide range of noxious smells,” says Nick Andrews, resident sock tester for ScentLok Socks and vice president of marketing for the company.
Luckily there are some easy ways to avoid feet stink — from odor destroying socks to better foot care to proper shoe rotation.