If you’ve ever been afraid to take your shoes and socks off at the end of the day for fear of causing the houseplants to wilt and the dog to cower under the bed, you’re not alone. Foot odor is a common occurrence and it happens to the best of us from time to time.
But it doesn’t have to.
What Causes Foot Odor
It’s estimated that there are about 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet, which can produce about eight ounces of perspiration per day. But sweat alone doesn’t cause the funk—it’s the bacteria that breaks down and consumes the sweat when it can’t evaporate. Over the course of the day, those odor-causing bacteria reproduce and multiply and by the end of the day, you can have a pretty ripe situation on your hands.
Knowing this, fighting smelly feet is as simple as keeping feet dry to deprive odor-causing bacteria the sweat they crave. Here are four easy ways to do it:
1. Wear Socks
Wearing socks may seem obvious, but a lot of people believe skipping out on socks is better in the summer because it will keep feet cool and less sweaty. Plus, a lot of summer shoes simply look better without them. But socks perform an important function: they wick away sweat and moisture.
But not all socks are created equal, and that’s why we recommend our Copper Cloud socks. They’re not only designed to fight odor by wicking away moisture, but they also take things a step further with antibacterial, anti-fungal copper fibers that are woven into the sock. And if you still want to go for the sockless look, they’re available in a no-show style, too.
2. Let Your Feet Breathe
Shoes that aren’t breathable – typically made of rubber or leather – are usually the worst offenders at causing foot odor. That’s why we recommend pairing your moisture-wicking socks with a pair of breathable shoes like those in our women’s and men’s FitLite collection. These shoes are constructed with breathable mesh or wool uppers and designed specifically to allow your feet to breathe, even under intense conditions like jogging or exercising.
3. Change Your Socks and Shoes
Sometimes etiquette or dress codes mean that wearing a breathable pair of athletic shoes isn’t an option. In those situations, it’s a good idea to keep a spare pair of fresh socks to change into when your feet start getting sweaty.
It’s also a good idea to alternate pairs of shoes each day to give them time to dry out completely before they’re worn again. Yes, that may mean you have to keep two pairs of the same kind of shoes but think of it this way: you won't have to buy new shoes as often, and your feet won’t smell!
4. Keep it Clean
It’s easy to overlook washing the bottoms of your feet since you’re usually standing on them when you take a shower. But doing this is a must, as it wipes out any bacteria that’s hanging on your feet, ensuring you start the day with a clean slate. We also recommend routinely exfoliating your feet with a pumice stone since rough patches of skin can give bacteria plenty of places to hide – unless you're wearing Copper Cloud socks, which promote circulation and smooth skin, eliminating the need for a pumice stone.
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