The Easiest Way to Keep Your Sneakers From Smelling

Photo: Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

White sneakers are definitely a contender in the official-shoe-of-summer category (though pastel pink trainers might be taking that title soon). Not only does a fresh pair of kicks go with your lightweight leggings, but also those breezy summer dresses you've been living in lately—plus, pretty much everything else in your wardrobe.

The one downside to rocking the athleisure staple in lieu of sandals when it's hot out? Foot sweat. (Ewww, I know, but I'm going there.) In an effort to make this the year you don't toss out your Stan Smiths on Labor Day, I tapped Deena Kastor, ASICS elite athlete and world record long-distance runner, for advice on how to keep your sneakers so fresh and so clean (smelling). My thought being, as someone who wears sneakers for a living, she must have some pro tips to share on this topic.

She, of course, does and her best advice is both smart and simple: “Buy new socks to coincide with your sneakers.” Why? Because sweat happens. It's a natural way for your body to stay cool (which you want when it feels like an infrared sauna outside). But, between the excessive moisture you're producing right now and the humidity, it's hard to keep sneakers from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria—kind of like those plastic bags you should stop tossing your wet workout clothes into. So rather than focus on not sweating, concentrate on keeping it contained in your socks, which work as a barrier for your feet—especially during workouts. (Maybe even pack an extra pair in your purse or bag for an emergency swap if necessary.)

There are so many styles now that you can find a shape to wear undetected under any style of sneaker. Plus, washing your socks on the reg, instead of your sneakers, will extend the life of the latter. “You run the risk of damaging your shoes if you wash them too often,” Kastor cautions.

It's not foolproof, but it's the easiest way to keep your sneakers from stinking. And if you want to take extra precautions to prevent funk, Kastor has a unique tip for battling foot odor: “In the past, I've used lavender sprigs in my shoes. This was more of a homage to my shoes versus a preventative measure, but it did keep them smelling nice.” Think of it as a little aromatherapy for your feet.

It's officially Feet Week here at Well+Good where we're tackling the questions you really want answers to about what's happening below your ankles—like why nail polish lasts so much longer on your toes than your hands

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