Grooming

9 Easy Ways To Keep Your Feet (and Shoes) Fresh

Saltwater baths, cedar shoe trees, rest days, and more things you can do right now to keep your feet happy.
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Foot and shoe odors—they’re a thing, and whether you’re sporting a pair of canvas sneakers or your trusty loafers, in this hot and humid country, it’s an inevitability.

They’re not completely unavoidable, though, which means you can slip on a pair and not have them smell like something just died inside. Here, pointers on keeping your feet fresh and your shoes good as new. 

1| Don’t go completely sockless
It’s trendy and, in the country’s year-round tropical weather, undoubtedly stylish, yet if you want to keep your shoes and feet from smelling like rotten fish, don’t actually go sockless—you only have to look the part. Ditch the bare route and cop a pair of no-show socks, meant to be worn beneath topsiders and other low-cut shoes. 

2| Keep your feet clean
We hate to sound like your mother, but don’t forget to scrub your feet in the shower. You’re going to want to really get in there and lather your toes and in between them with soap or scrub. Remember to rinse your feet and dry them thoroughly before slipping a sock on. Oh, and don’t forget to cut your toenails regularly, which could be collecting dirt and other bacteria. 

3| Always wear fresh socks
The best way to avoid a stench? Make sure you’re wearing a pair of clean and fresh socks every day. Socks can prevent odors, but they can only do so much, especially if you’re wearing a week’s worth of sweat and bacteria. Even better if you can get your hands on anti-microbial socks. 

4| Run a saltwater bath for your feet
If your feet reek no matter what you do, go for a time-tested home remedy and soak your feet in a tub of warm saltwater to get rid of the stink. The saline composition neutralizes the odor and absorbs any remaining moisture on your skin that might breed any bacteria. Dip your feet in for 20 minutes. 

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5| Invest in an unvarnished cedar shoe tree
When you’re giving your leather shoes a break, stick in an unvarnished shoe tree to help them return to their original shape, prevent creases, and absorb moisture that could lead to unpleasant odors. The cedar also gives your shoes a nice, fresh-smelling scent. 

6| Use crumpled newspaper for wet shoes
Meanwhile, if you’ve caught yourself in a downpour or a flood and your shoes are soaking wet, act fast and stuff crumpled newspaper inside your soles to absorb moisture. If you’re trying to dry out any kind of leather shoe, store them away from direct sunlight to prevent cracking. 

7| Spray on some deodorizer
When your shoes are dry yet there’s still a smelly whiff, give your kicks a light spray of a deodorizer specially made for shoes. 

8| Go for foot powder
Before every use, don’t forget to dust some foot powder on. Foot powders usually contain talcum and baking soda, which together, absorb sweat and eliminate the smell that can come from bacteria that thrive in cramped, moist environments. This simple step can spell all the difference.

9| Alternate your kicks in between uses
When you use a pair of shoes too often, you’re not giving them time to rest and dry out. It’s ideal to have at least three pairs of work shoes that you can alternate during the week, but if there’s a pair you’re particularly partial to, give them at least a day of rest. If you can go on for longer, even better.

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Sam Beltran
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