There can be something oddly satisfying about wearing sneakers without socks. Your feet feel light, and there’s no bulky sock between you and your shoe. Perhaps you know deep-down that it’s not good for you, and maybe that’s part of the appeal of skipping out on socks. You might be fine at first, but this bad habit will catch up with you.
Here’s why going sock-less makes your feet stink
As much as you may think your feet are clean, that won’t be the case if you stop wearing socks. Your feet can produce 500 ml of sweat every day. To put that into perspective, that’s about 16.9 fluid ounces, which is slightly larger than the bottle of soda you buy at the grocery checkout. To put it another way, that’s more than one pint of sweat. That’s a lot of liquid!
If sweat were a sterile fluid, that much liquid in your shoes would still be a bad thing. Unfortunately, sweat contains bacteria. Bacteria thrive and reproduce rapidly in damp and dark environments. Those pristine feet you prided yourself on having are going to stink if you don’t put on some socks.
When you don’t wear socks, you’re going to have problems.. More Than You Can Imagine
Failing to wear socks can also hurt your feet. Many shoes aren’t designed to make direct contact with your foot. You can easily get a blister from wearing shoes without socks for a day.
A blister on your foot is painful, but if there’s no sock to protect you, you’ll be sticking an open wound into a bacteria-filled shoe. The bacteria growing in your shoe has an easy pathway to your bloodstream through the blister. You could be setting yourself up for a nasty infection.
A 2014 story in the Daily Mail reports that a 12-year old boy nearly died after a blister on his foot provided a gateway for an infection. His blister had come from wearing shoes without socks.1
Even if you manage to cram your sockless feet into your shoes without getting an injury, the things living in the lining of your shoe can still cause you trouble. Going without socks puts you at risk for developing a fungal infection called onychomycosis.2 The fungus is not pretty, difficult to get rid of, and it can damage your toenails.
When your body is trying to keep itself cool, you’re going to sweat. Sweaty feet quickly become stinky feet, and it can be hard to get the foul odor out of shoes.3 Experts suggest using baking soda, trying medicated insoles, airing out your shoes, and alternating the days that you wear your favorite shoes, but if they get too funky, you’ll have to buy new ones.4
Why people don’t wear socks when they should?
When you think about essential items for a winter wardrobe, cozy socks are probably near the top of the list. Nobody likes cold feet, and there are plenty of thermal socks to keep you warm.
It might seem counter-intuitive to wear socks to stay cool, but you’ll be much more comfortable with the right socks than without. Not all socks are created equally. The thermal socks that you wear on the ski slopes or a hunting trip are not the same as athletic socks, which are designed to wick away moisture and support your foot.
One misconception about socks is that they look awkward. You wouldn’t want to wear boot socks with your canvas tennis shoes, but you can invest in the right socks for the shoes that you have.5 Athletic socks look better with sneakers, and there are fun prints for when you’re feeling quirky. If you really hate the look of socks, you can find low-cut sport or ankle socks, which will hardly be visible outside your shoe.
Sometimes people go sockless because they forgot to bring socks with them when they left home in the morning. They’re easy to forget when you’re in a hurry. If it’s too much of a hassle to go home and get a pair, you might do without.
It’s time to break the habit of going without socks once and for all
Hopefully you’re convinced that wearing socks is good for your health. If you have the bad habit of not wearing socks, you can change it.
1. Change your mindset. Think of your socks like your underwear. They’re here for your protection. Sure, your shoes can protect your feet from some types of injury and bacteria, but they can also cause injury and breed bacteria. You wash your socks after each use, but the same isn’t true for your shoes. Your socks are a protective layer between your feet and the bacteria lurking in your shoes and environment.
2. Get socks that fit your style. Crew socks, which come up to mid-calf, are standard, but they aren’t the only option. Find the type of sock that matches your shoes and style instead of lamenting about how odd your socks look with your sneakers. Remember that there are sock options for people who don’t want to see socks at all. If you like the no-sock look, you can still have that without putting your health at risk.
3. Stash socks so that you won’t forget them. If you’re the person who rushes out of the house in the morning without socks, stick a fresh pair in your sneakers or gym bag when you get home. You might also consider keeping a spare pair in your car or in your desk. If never hurts to have a pair on hand in case your feet get sweaty when you are away from home.
The small things you do can make a big difference in your life
Going without socks seems like such a small thing, but it can have a dramatic impact on your life. At the very least, you’ll send people running away from the stench every time you remove your shoes. At the worst, you could wind up with a life-threatening infection.
Your feet support you all day. Show them some love by protecting them with a nice pair of socks.