optimized foot in grass image

Tips to Keep our Feet and Shoes Smelling Fresh

Let’s face it – feet stink. Daily activities, especially exercise, can lead to strong, lingering odors. Foot odor occurs when bacteria feed on the skin cells our feet produce. The bacteria increase activity under moist conditions.  So how can you keep your feet and shoes smelling fresh week after week? There are a number of things you can do to reduce foot and shoe odors. Follow these tips:

1) Let your shoes breathe
Wearing the same shoes day after day can lead to a buildup of bacteria which is the primary cause of foot odor. Giving your shoes the day off after wearing allows them to air out. This is especially important with athletic shoes where the feet get extra sweaty. If you exercise daily, consider purchasing two pairs of shoes at a time and rotating.

image of three pairs of shoes

2) Choose moisture-wicking socks
Since excess moisture from sweat leads to odors, wearing moisture-wicking socks allows the feet to dry more quickly, reducing odor-causing bacteria. Moisture-wicking socks are made from synthetic fabrics that draw moisture away from the skin. These wonder socks are especially helpful for athletic activities like hiking and running.

image of woman outside putting on sweat absorbing socks

3) Give your feet some room
Avoid tight-fitting shoes and opt for open toed shoes and sandals in warmer weather whenever you can. The tighter and more enclosed the shoe is, the more likely it is for sweat to get trapped. Choose athletic shoes made out of materials that ventilate, allowing air to move through freely.

image of sneaker with magnifying glass

4) Wash shoes and insoles
Everyone knows they can quickly eliminate sweat and odors by hopping in the shower and throwing clothing into the washing machine but many of us don’t think about washing our shoes and insoles. While leather shoes can be tricky to clean, many athletic shoes can be washed by hand or in the washing machine. Check with the manufacturer first and then follow these steps for hand washing:

  • Be sure to remove any insoles and wash them separately from your shoes.
  • Wash shoes and insoles with warm water and a mild detergent. Liquid laundry and dish detergent work great.
  • Use a shoe brush or an old tooth brush to scrub off dirt and grime.
  • Rinse shoes and insoles thoroughly and shake to eliminate excess water.
  • Set everything out (preferably in the sun) to dry.

You can also wash your shoes in the washing machine following these steps:

  • Prior to washing, put your shoes and insoles in a laundry bag to keep everything from jumping around in the washing machine.
  • Select delicate cycle and cold for temperature.
  • Add a small amount of mild laundry detergent.
  • Set shoes and insoles out to air dry. Never put shoes or insoles in the dryer.

image of sneakers in a mesh bag ready to go in the wash machine

5) Keep your feet clean – Take extra care when washing your feet.

image of man spraying his foot

6.) Fight odor from the start – Insoles bear the brunt of sweaty feet so it makes sense to tackle foot odor at its source. To eliminate odors and moisture, try Dr. Scholl’s® Odor-X® Odor-Fighting Insoles with activated charcoal and baking soda for lasting protection.

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