MD Podiatrist Discusses Preventing Shoe Odor

Smelly shoes start with your feet. “The odor in feet is caused by the sweat and moisture “˜fermenting’-it’s actually a byproduct and can be any combination of bacteria, fungus, mold, or yeast,” says podiatrist Daniel Michaels, DPM. These odor-causing germs thrive in dark, damp spaces, which make your shoes an ideal environment. Feet that are not well ventilated can deposit moisture, sweat, and odor into the shoes which will become absorbed into the materials of the shoe from prolonged contact with feet.” 
This explains why the colder months-when your feet are usually shoved into thick socks and non-ventilated shoes-can make the situation particularly smelly. Dr. Michaels suggests sprinkling your feet with powder or antiperspirant to help keep them dry, and wearing socks that are designed to help absorb moisture and sweat. “When you don’t wear socks, there isn’t any barrier and the material in your shoes ends up absorbing the sweat, which in turn grows odor-causing bacteria,” says Dr. Michaels. “Wear socks made of natural fibers, or that are infused with copper which has antimicrobial properties.”