The causes and solutions of a very common problem for men.
Cause: Sweat. That moisture, coupled with the heat of an enclosed shoe, produces a playground for bacteria to break down the dead skin cells hanging around on your feet — and that’s the process that generates that eye-watering stank.
Solution: Socks. Find a good pair that wicks the sweat away from your feet — wool and cotton are both breathable materials, whereas synthetics like nylon trap moisture and worsen the odour. Carry around a spare pair for a quick change at lunch if you know you’re facing a particularly long, stressful, and sweaty day at work.
Cause: Hygiene. Your toots need a good wash every day — trimmed nails, a daily scrub with anti-bacterial soap, and thorough drying before you pop your socks on — to get rid of all the dead skin cells the bacteria are chowing down on.
Solution: There are plenty of home remedies that do the trick: salt water draws moisture out of the skin, vinegar starves the bacteria, tea closes the pores to reduce the amount you can perspire, even methylated spirits disinfect the skin and dry it out, too. And don’t forget to go barefoot at home to give your trotters a chance to breathe every evening.
Cause: Shoes. Wearing the same pair day after day after day keeps your shoes warm and moist — great for bacteria, not so great for the unfortunate soul who cops a whiff of your toots at the end of the day.
Solution: Rotate your work footwear to give each pair the chance to cool down and dry out before you lace them up for another day of perspiration. If you can’t rotate your shoe selection every day, there are disinfectant sprays and powders you can use to sanitise your smelly footwear, too.
Cause: Infection. If you’re strutting around the gym showers without wearing thongs, you might have picked up some of the fungus lurking on the floor . . . another cause of the dreaded foot stink.
Solution: Anti-fungal treatments do the trick, but apply them correctly. Don’t put cream between your toes (moisture is bacteria’s best friend, remember) — use a powder between your little piggies and save the cream for the bottom of your feet.