How Do I Keep My Sockless Shoes From Smelling?

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The last time you heard about the barrier method was probably in ninth-grade health class. But as it turns out, there’s also a barrier method to preventing foot odor—socks. Socks help cut down on stinky feet by absorbing sweat, picking up dead skin and taking all of that residue along for the ride to your hamper.

But unless you’re Normcore, common fashion sense dictates that you can’t wear socks with every pair of shoes, e.g., TOMS or Top-Siders. Which creates an all-you-can-eat buffet for the bacteria that thrive in moist, dark environments, with unfettered access to dead, calloused skin and sweat from the 250,000 glands on your feet.

And when these bacteria party with no curfew, your nose—and the noses of those around you—will be alerted immediately.

Beyond socks, your best chance at fighting fetid foot odors is reducing the amount of sweat that collects in your shoe. “Apply antiperspirant or deodorant to your feet before putting on shoes you’re going to wear without socks,” suggests Kaiser Permanente dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio.

If trying to keep track of which deodorant is for your feet and which is for your underarms proves too intense, try an over-the-counter anti-fungal spray, or sprinkling baby powder in your shoes, to soak up some of the sweat before it has a chance to mingle with bacteria.

Your companions, romantic or not, will definitely appreciate your commitment to going sockless, safely.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question—especially when it comes to your body, your health or your hygiene. Send us the things that you’ve always wondered about to bm@dollarshaveclub.com.