The bottoms of your feet aren’t just dirty. They’re absolutely filthy. This, of course, isn’t anything you don’t know. Stinky and feet go together like bread and butter. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Even though your feet bear the brunt of everything you do—walking, standing, bug-stomping—they can be saved from all of that odious wear-and-tear. In fact, according to podiatrist Ami Sheth, it doesn’t take much to keep them smelling like roses.
Let Your Shoes (Plural) Catch Some Rays. “Shoes are warm, dark and moist, so they’re a bacteria haven,” Sheth says. “And if you’re wearing them without socks, chances are, you have a whole colony of junk living on your feet.” Sheth says one way to keep your shoes germ-free is by rotating them—i.e., not wearing the same pair every day. She also suggests leaving them out in the sun whenever you take them off—the sun’s UV rays have powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Change Your Socks At Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The 250,000 sweat glands on your feet produce about a half a pint of perspiration every day. That is gross. (Imagine a pint glass halfway filled with sweat instead of beer.) But it’s also preventable. “Make sure you’re wearing moisture-wicking socks and changing them multiple times a day,” Sheth advises. “If your feet still feel moist, sprinkle a little cornstarch-based powder on them before sliding your shoes on. The powder will soak up any excess moisture.”
NEVER, EVER WEAR MANDALS. They’re ugly. And they’re the primary cause of dryness. While you definitely don’t want a half pint of perspiration sloshing around your shoes and socks, they do retain important moisture that keeps the skin on your feet hydrated. Or at least they do a better job at hydration than open-toed footwear says Sheth, “Wearing closed-back shoes and socks when you’re out and about helps to maintain the right balance of natural hydrating oils that keep the soles of your feet nice and soft.”
You Don’t Want to Have Big Shoes to Fill. The bane of every foot, calluses, are mostly the result of an ill-fitting pair of shoes. “Calluses are caused by friction,” Sheth explains. “If your foot is sliding around in your shoe, you’re probably going to get a callus.” Still, if the callus seems nastier than not, Sheth offers the oldest piece of advice in the book: Get yourself to a doctor.