The Baking Soda Hack That’ll Save Your Sneakers If You Wear Them Without Socks

Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold
There are two types of people reading this article right now: those who clicked because they go sock-less in sneakers and are genuinely curious in the information I'm about to present, and those who are horrified at the notion of sticking their bare feet into sneakers and are checking to see if this is actually a "thing people do."

I assure you, the latter group, that it is a thing. I'll admit that I've even engaged in this practice on occasion. My APLs seemed breathable enough, and I'm always losing my socks (someone please explain where they go), so why "waste" a pair? The smell is one answer, but we'll get there. An informal poll of my friends found that many of them, too, have foregone socks when wearing sneakers.

Foot docs super do not recommend this, however. "[Wearing socks] can help decrease perspiration as well as prevent foot odor and blister—and the right socks make sneakers feel more comfortable," says podiatrist Suzanne Fuchs, DPM. "Wearing sneakers without socks make them smell bad because of increased perspiration." On top of that, she says that sweating in your sneakers can make your feet smell bad because the increased moisture creates a "breeding ground" for odor-inducing bacteria.

Should none of this deter you from living a sock-less lifestyle, there are some things you can do to keep your feet healthy and slow down your sneaker turnover. Dr. Fuchs recommends cleaning your kicks daily—yes, daily!—if you wear them without socks. "You can clean and deodorize sneakers with baking soda," she says. Sprinkle it in your shoes and let them sit overnight, then dump out the baking soda in the morning. "You can also machine wash them using a gentle wash. Remove the laces first so they don’t get tangled," she adds.

And before you slip your bare feet into your shoes, she recommends using an anti-fungal powder or spray. "This will decrease moisture and help prevent fungal infections," she says. It's worth noting, however, that simply putting on a pair of socks will also help with all of these issues. (*Decides to take own advice for once.*)

While we're at it, let's talk about how often you should be replacing your underwear.

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