Nothing ruins your entryway, date night, or a good pair of shoes like a stink. And once the smell starts, it’s hard to keep it from invading the rest of your footwear.
That’s because even the most delicate shoes are a dark, sweaty breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. You can’t completely remove it, but you can control the stench. Try these expert tips for preventing smelly feet. So the next time a hostess says, “Would you mind taking your shoes off,” you can do so in confidence.
“The best way to prevent smelly feet is to keep your feet dry,” says Dr. Rebecca Baxt, a board certified dermatologist. Towel off your feet–especially in between toes–after the shower, and dab them with anti-fungal powder that keeps you dry while warding off odor-causing fungus.
Socks and shoes aren’t always a fashion statement. But when you skip out on socks there’s nothing to absorb the sweat your feet naturally produce, trapping it between your toes and inside your shoes, says Baxt. If you know you’re wouldn’t be wearing socks, try dotting antiperspirant on the bottoms of your feet and between toes.
Sprinkle baby powder (or a more targeted odor-eating powder) on the insides of your shoes before and after you wear them, suggests Baxt. And get them out of your dark, damp closet! Your shoes need to be aired out, too.
If your feet end up smelling less than swell no matter what, wipe them down with a vodka-soaked washcloth to get rid of the stench. It’s the same principle as rubbing alcohol. Vodka contains alcohol, which is antiseptic and drying, so it destroys odor-causing fungus and bacteria and dries out the moisture that lets these organisms grow.
If you still can’t get your sweat under control, see your dermatologist and ask her about Drysol, an anti-sweat prescription in the form of a roller ball specifically formulated for reducing the amount of sweat your foot produces.