Did you know that the global footwear market is a multi-billion U.S. dollar industry?
It's not surprising really, we all wear shoes and most of us have more than just one pair. Commonly made of leather, textile, and a range of synthetic materials, I've had a love for shoes as far back as I can remember.
Footwear, in its purest form, is a necessity for the average consumer. We need them to protect our precious toes from the surfaces upon which we walk. Though absolutely a necessity, footwear is also a status symbol and a form of self-expression.
Now, whether you like heels, sneakers, leather boots, suede shoes, or sandals, there's a simple way to enjoy and clean them better without having to buy a new pair. On average, shoes last us only 8 to 12 months with regular, everyday wear. The average person takes 10,000 steps/day. That adds up to 115,000 miles over a lifetime. (or around 4 trips around the planet)
Of course, shoes we wear daily like athletic or work footwear probably won't last as long due to the more demanding use.
This brings me to a second shoe problem: foot odor. Aka smelly feet.
Though it's not a serious condition, it's an awkward one. No need to feel embarrassed about foot odor, if you have it, 16 percent of adults age 21 and older (about 36 million people) have experienced foot odor and it's equally common in men and women.
There are 250,000 sweat glands in the feet which produce as much as half a pint of moisture each day. Good foot hygiene, proper socks, and shoes can solve your problem of smelly feet in most cases.
In any case, I've got you covered. As someone who loves to wear shoes with no socks, I'm no stranger to that foot stank. I have put together a pretty comprehensive list of all the DIY hacks you can use to battle foot odor. Without further ado, here we go.
DIY Hacks To Keep Your Shoes Stink Free And Lasting Longer
I'm going, to begin with how to attack foot odor and then move onto how one should get their shoes to last longer with DIY hacks, tips, and tricks.
Baking Soda and Lemon
The best way to naturally remove that stink is to sprinkle baking soda in your shoe. Add a sliced lemon for even better results. Leave that overnight, and just shake the lemon and the baking soda out in the morning.
Soak Your Feet
A little self-care can go a long way. Try soothing your feet in a basin of warm water or even the sink if you don't have one.
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup Epsom salt
- 10 drops of tea tree oil
- 2 quarts of warm water
You can also try a daily black tea foot bath. Simply boil two tea bags in a pint of water for 15 minutes. Take the bags out and add two quarts of water, let the mixture cool and soak your feet in it for 15 to 30 minutes. Repeat daily until the odor is gone. The tannins contained in tea leaves eradicate bacteria and reduce sweating.
There is also a salt bath you can try:
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 4 cups water
- soak for 10-15 minutes
- dry thoroughly
Dry Your Feet
After you shower take extra care to dry your feet before putting on socks. Get between the toes and under too. Moisture = odor.
Use An Antibiotic Ointment Before Bed
Use an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin or Polysporin on your nails and between your toes before going to bed. Put on socks and go to sleep.
Dust Your Feet
Add cornstarch, baking soda, or baby powder liberally to your feet once or twice a day. My preferred time is before I put on my socks.
Here's an easy recipe my sister shared with me. Sweaty dogs run in our family. I combined the following together and put in a parmesan shaker I got at the dollar store.
- 5 or 6 tbsp Corn Starch
- 3 or 4 tbsp Baking Soda
- 8 drops Tea Tree Oil
- 8 drops Eucalyptus Oil
- 15 drops Peppermint Oil
Spray Your Feet
I found this easy spray to be most effective and quick to make.
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) of Vodka or rubbing alcohol
- 3 or 4 drops of Tea Tree Oil
Combine in a spray bottle and spritz on feet after bathing or anytime you need a pick-me-up. Use within 10 days.
Switch Out Shoes
If at all possible, have two pairs of shoes to switch out. I bought two pairs of work boots so I never had to wear one pair two days in a row. This way my boots were able to dry out between wearings. Removing the insoles can help shoes dry faster.
I have also been known to make coffee-filter pouches. Simply add two to three tablespoons of baking soda and corn starch in a coffee filter, seal with an elastic, and place in shoes overnight.
Switch Out Socks
If you can, purchase padded socks for their moisture-wicking properties. These usually feature an extra-thick padded heel and toe, as well as a strategically located padded region on the top of the sock. It's also advisable to bring an extra pair of socks with you and change halfway through your day.
What works on your armpits will work on your feet. If you sweat a lot from your feet, apply an antiperspirant the same way you would to your armpits.
Use Maxi Pads
Put sanitary pads inside your shoes to absorb your feet' sweat, they will also stop your feet from slipping inside and act as an insole.
When to See a Doctor
So you've tried it all and nothing works. You might need medical help. Sometimes a funky smell can be a sign of a bigger problem.
Do you see a cut or wound between your toes? Is there increased redness? Is there increased heat? Place a mirror on the floor and take a look at the bottom of your feet and have a look for anything that looks out of place.
Fungal and bacterial foot infections can progress quickly, don't let this drag on if you suspect an infection.
A podiatrist or dermatologist can prescribe a stronger antifungal medication and tests to figure out exactly what ails you.