Feet. They connect us to the Earth. They carry us everywhere we go. They stink. And so do your shoes.
(Pro Tip: The medical name for stinky feet is “bromodosis”. Bromo is Greek for stench or stink, and dosis is Greek for “to give”.)
The Science of Stinky Feet and Shoes
Ever wonder why feet and shoes stink? The answer is not for the faint of heart, or stomach.
On your feet and in your shoes there lives a plethora of tiny bacteria. Why do bacteria thrive here? Because there’s an abundance of food.
Yes, you read that right. The bacteria feed on you – specifically, they feed on a mix of your sweat and dead skin cells. Yummy, right?
Feet have about 600 sweat glands per square centimeter. That’s a lot! And more than anywhere else on the body. Sweat glands on the feet work differentlythan sweat glands on other parts of the body. They sweat all the time, not only in response to heat and exercise.
After consuming the sweat and skin cells, bacteria excrete a fatty acid-rich substance which has an odor that closely resembles Limburger cheese.
If your world and your understanding of how your body works just got rocked, take a deep breath. The sooner you accept that fact as reality, the sooner you can go about addressing it.
Prevention and Treatment for Foot and Shoe Odors
There are many avenues available to prevent and treat foot and shoe odors:
Clean Your Feet
Stop Odor at its Source
Cleaning feet thoroughly every day will help prevent and treat foot and shoe odor.
Here are a few foot cleaning best practices:
- Use a pumice stone to remove dead skin cells
- Scrub feet with soap to help remove bacteria
- Rinse and dry completely, especially between the toes
- Treat with a powder or astringent, a substance that absorbs moisture and tightens pores, to ensure dryness
(Pro Tip: Rocket Pure’s Foot & Shoe Deodorizing Powders work great as an astringent!)
The First Line of Stench-Armor
Sock awareness is the next step in foot and shoe odor treatment and prevention.
Below are ideas on how to use your socks to attain and maintain stink-free feet:
- Wear clean, fresh socks every day
- If your feet sweat a lot, bring extra pairs of socks so you can change them throughout the day
- Cotton or wool socks wick away moisture much better than other materials like nylon
- You can treat your socks with powders as well to increase dryness
Make Your Shoes an Inhospitable Environment for Bacteria
You change your socks and wash and dry them every day.
Your shoes, on the other hand, are worn day after day and are nearly never washed with the kind of intensity that your socks experience.
Consequently, shoes often become a literal breeding ground for bacteria colonies which feed off your sweat and dead skin cells.
Here’s how you tackle your shoes to make sure you’re eliminating and preventing future cheese-like excretions from bacteria that smell horrible:
- Let your shoes dry completely between uses. Recommended ways to dry shoes out:
- Treat with a powder like Rocket Pure’s Foot & Shoe Deodorizing Powders.
- Put in a warm, dry place or run through a cycle in the clothes dryer
- Other ideas to dry shoes: Stuff with newspaper to absorb moisture and odor, microwave shoes in 30 second increments until they are hot
- Treat shoes with natural antimicrobial substances to help eliminate bacteria living in shoes. The following essential oils all have antimicrobial properties: Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Tea Tree Oil, Lemongrass, Thyme, Cedarwood and Neem. (Pro tip: Rocket Pure’s Foot & Shoe Deodorizer Sprays contain these essential oils!)
- Freeze your shoes overnight to kill bacteria living in them
- Remove your shoes often
Now that you’re educated on the scenarios that set you up for stinking, start stifling the bacteria!
Follow the directions listed above like thoroughly cleaning and drying out your feet (using Rocket Pure’s Foot & Shoe Deodorizing Powders), changing your socks daily, and treating your shoes with antimicrobial substances (like Rocket Pure’s Foot & Shoe Deodorizer Sprays).