From Dr. Mercola:

When the sun starts warming the pavement and the temperature starts to rise, you may be tempted to go sockless in your shoes. It’s a feeling of freedom and brings back memories of childhood.

Unfortunately, unless you take care of those shoes, it also breeds bacterial growth and a smell you can identify when you walk in the room. If smell were an indicator, your shoes could stand up and walk around all on their own.

How can you enjoy that sockless feeling without contributing to air pollution in your home?

The Foundation of Foot Odor

Shoes start to smell because they are in close proximity to smelly feet. One step to keeping your shoes smelling sweetly is to reduce your foot odor. The medical term for smelly feet is bromodosis, and it can affect anyone.

The smell starts with sweat secreted from sweat glands on your feet. The functions of these glands are to keep your feet moist, skin supple and aid in temperature regulation. When you’re hot or exercising, your feet sweat even more than usual.

Unlike other sweat glands on your body, the sweat glands in your feet secrete sweat all the time, and not just in response to heat or exercise.1

The smell begins when the sweat is broken down by bacteria and fungi living on your skin. As the sweat decomposes a noticeable cheesy odor is produced. This scent can become even more offensive when there is a buildup of bacteria and sweat, such as in your shoes.

Socks Prevent the Smell

Using socks prevents the smell because your socks absorb the sweat and the bacteria, protecting your shoes. When your feet are stuffed inside your shoes all day, bacteria, sweat and dirt are transferred to the insoles and fabric of the shoes.

When you replace your socks daily, you reduce the buildup of bacteria and decomposing sweat that line the insides of your favorite shoes.

Socks reduce the friction between your feet and your shoes, reducing the build-up of calluses on your feet. Socks also keep your feet from becoming dry and cracked, leaving openings in your skin that increase your risk of infection. Your socks will protect your feet from fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, as well.

A buildup of moisture can also lead to mold growth on your shoes. This will break down the integrity of the shoes far more quickly, resulting in shoes that no longer provide support and are ready to be retired.

But, there are ways to reduce the odor emanating from your shoes, while still not wearing socks or stockings in your favorite athletic shoes or flats.

The Smell of Athlete’s Foot

The medical term for athlete’s foot is tinea pedis. It develops from a fungal infection, most often between your toes. Symptoms may vary from person to person.

You may experience all possible symptoms, including severe discomfort, or just a couple. The fungus usually grows in a warm,

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