Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet.

It's that time of year. No not Halloween. Here in Quebec, at least in the francophone circles that I run in, winter is the time when you wear two or three different types of footwear daily. It seems it is a tradition to have your outdoor winter boots or shoes and your indoor shoes. Basically you change shoes each time you exit or enter places where they want to keep out the dirt and the salt, like at home, your office, or other people's homes. It makes perfect sense even though it is a bit of a hassle some of the time.

But there is a disadvantage to this. Winter footwear is made to be waterproof. Water can't get in, but moisture also can't get out. So this can make everyone's feet pretty ripe especially considering you are usually using your feet when you are wearing the winter footwear. Usually the footwear is stored in a closet or an entry foyer. The problem is the confined space reeks of smelly feet. So when the time comes to get dressed up or dressed down from the outdoors, you try to abbreviate the process as much as possible.

I reached into the closet this evening and was almost overcome by the odor. Then my coat had that wonderful hint of feet the rest of the evening. But it didn't stop there. Our daycare has a policy of requiring the parents to remove their shoes before going to retrieve their child. So the alcove and the dress-up area quickly become the last place you want to struggle outfitting a young child. You yearn to exit into the bitter cold where you deeply inhale as your snot freezes solid.

That said, it is still better than that mildew smell in the locker room the morning after an afternoon of high school team sport practice in the rain.


Blork said...

I take a three-pronged approach to this problem. First, the mantra "Odor Eaters are your friend." Believe it. Second, I sometimes use a foot spray, either directly into the boot, or one that goes on the foot before you put your socks on. (I usually only resort to the spray when things get really bad.)

Finally, if possible, maintain two pairs of winter boots, and alternate them each day. That gives yesterday's boots a chance to dry out before you put them on again.

Incidently, the two-pairs thing is a four-season solution. I also try not to wear the same shoe two days in a row in summer. This is particularly true with leather shoes.

Unknown said...

I have been fortunate to have relatively not smelly feet. Maybe that's why I have difficulty with others.

I've actually had a different issue regarding shoes. The green side of me won't let me throw away things just because I don't like them. So I am now trying to literally run my less desireable footwear into the ground. Until I find them completely unusable, I'll keep wearing them. I have quite a few pairs, so I have been playing the shoe shuffle.

Anonymous said...

Both Arsheena and I have non-smelly feet. So I feel for you. It seems that when your own feet don't smell, you notice others stinkers that much more quickly.

Still, Ed's suggestion are golden.

For anyone else who has a pair of not so fresh shoes or boots, there's a secret to getting rid of the stink and it's pretty much free.

Make sure your shoes are dry and then wrap them in a plastic bag and stuff them in the freezer or put them outside. The bacteria that causes that smell can't survive cold temperatures and dies. Voila! Neutralized footwear.