by Sarah Gibson

A few years ago, after a nice team lunch, I walked back into the office and sat down at my desk. My coworkers were getting situated at their seats, distracted by their headphones and computer screens. I could feel a blister forming inside my shiny, black flats. I slowly slipped my bare feet out to get some relief. 

Soon I hear Matt, a full 4 desks down from me ask aloud, “What’s that funky smell? Do you guys smell that? It smells like nasty feet!” 

People start taking off their headsets, wrinkling their noses, and frowning, all looking around. I quickly put my shoe back on and let the embarrassment wash over me while the stench washed over them. 

My flats were cute, but their odor wasn’t. 

It was embarrassing to say the least, but if you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve been in my shoes.

 

What causes foot odor? 

Your feet are a favorite sweat-feasting spot for odor-causing bacteria. In fact, the foot has a higher concentration of sweat-glands (more than 250,000) than anywhere else on the human body. But sweat itself isn’t the issue. 

Sweat is an important part of “thermoregulation” or more simply your body’s personal air-conditioning system. Sweating helps you stay cool as a cucumber and keep you (or rather, your blood) from getting too salty. 

Your gland-filled feet will sweat for a variety of different reasons. Pores release sweat in response to emotions, exercise, hormonal changes, and temperature. So if you’re being swept off your (stinky) feet by a new flame, stressing about your job, exercising, feeling the heat of the sun, or going through puberty, pregnancy, periods, you’re likely to stand in sweat-soaked shoes. While sweat itself is actually odorless, it feeds the bacteria living on your skin, decomposing the sweat, and causing a putrid smell that could knock anyone off their feet. 


And sandals aren’t the only culprit...

Any shoe made with synthetic or man-made materials (and sometimes even those with natural materials) can absorb and hold onto odor.

For nine months out of the year, we tuck our toes into trusty socks and closed-toe shoes the pungent scent protected by our laced-up sneakers or zipped tight into boots that mask our musty feet. 

Even a clean, dry foot doesn’t stand a chance against an old shoe, old nylons, or synthetic socks on a hot day. If your shoes are old and smelly, just throw them out. Time to get yourself some new kicks!

While good moisture-wicking socks (preferably cotton or wool) and shoes made with natural materials can help, any shoe can get stinky. Your hip Birkenstocks, trendy boat shoes, or chic ballet flats may look cute, but they won’t be what’s turning heads.

In the summer months, you may be looking forward to giving your toes some air with your sandals. This won't solve the problem, though, because the heat of summer will cause more sweat and without socks to wick away the moisture, your sandal becomes the perfect buffet for those odor-causing bacteria. 

 

So what are we to do? 

Aside from proper foot hygiene (wash, dry, keep toenails trimmed), what can we do?

Walk into any drugstore and you’ll see multiple products to help cover foot funk: messy talc powders; too-fragrant, wet, deodorant sprays; sneaker balls; smelly, herbal foot soaks; medicated, ill-fitting inserts, and more. Most of these products are full of ingredients that many people are looking to avoid, like aluminum, talc, phthalates.

Ingredients aside, these products are not an ideal solution. While these may work temporarily to mask odors, as soon as your foot heats up and starts to sweat again, the smells will return with full force.

Lume is the only deodorant that stops the smell from ever being created. Lume Deodorant works by completely halting the odor-causing reactions on external skin. It blocks the ability for bacteria to consume fluids (like your hot, wet, foot sweat) that lead to odor. Plus, it's safe for people of all ages.


Because even the littlest piggies roast

Fun fact: it takes a few years for the body to figure out how to regulate temperatures. Ever wonder why your cute little toddlers’ tots smell so rancid?

Their sweat glands are overactive as they are constantly adjusting to the hormones, activity levels, and rapidly changing baby body temperatures.  Try as you might to keep them bathed and stink free, those little piggies still roast and fume throughout childhood.

Just ask any mom. Moms all know the deal: you go to pick up your adorable daughter from her ballet class. She leaps from the dance floor to the seat, unties her soft pink ribbons, only to fill the minivan with a scent that’s anything but elegant. 

The story is the same for so many “kid-shoes”: faux-leather baby moccasins, rubber Natives, velcro-clasped canvas shoes, sparkly toddler jelly shoes (trust me, that cherry smell doesn’t last forever). Sure your little cherubs may look adorable in their Crocs, but soon their shoes (and toes) will smell like the swamp in which their namesake resides. And let me tell you, foot odor is cute on no one. Not even the tiniest humans.


Jump in the Lume bandwagon….with both feet 

Regardless of age, if your bare toes wreak havoc on the nose, your fume-filled feet can be treated with Lume.

Simply wash and dry your feet. Apply a thin layer of Lume all over your feet, in between your toes, and up onto your ankle. Slip your protected, odorless feet into your shoes and enjoy having stink-free toes. Use socks made with natural fibers like cotton or wool for extra protection.

Your feet, friends, coworkers, and TSA agents will thank you.

If you find your foot offends, let Lume make amends!

Sarah Gibson
Sarah Gibson