How to Get Rid of Shoe Odor?

Smelly summer feet?

I love wearing shoes without socks in the summer, but it makes my feet sweat and smell awful. Is there anything I can do?

S.R., Summit, N.J.

One of the delights of summer is going sockless, but it does increase your chances of foot odor. The cause: fungus, which grows in warm, damp environments, including sweaty feet. When you go without socks, which normally absorb moisture, your feet remain wet inside your shoes, causing them to smell.

(Sandals, on the other hand, let the moisture around your feet evaporate.) Some people’s feet sweat more than others.

If that’s you, take these extra precautions. Pamela Colman, D.P.M., in Bethesda, Maryland, recommends putting antifungal powder (such as Tinactin, Mycelex) between your toes every morning to absorb moisture and retard fungus growth. To combat already existing smells in your shoes, avoid wearing the same shoes every day.

Alternate pairs so that each can dry out. Deodorizing insoles (such as those by Dr. Scholl’s) and perfumed foot powders (such as Crabtree & Evelyn Aloe Vera Deodorant Foot Talc, Jessica Aroma Foot Powder) will help to mask smells as well.

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