Not much in this unsteady 2017 fashion climate is more gut-stirringly questionable than the “hot men wearing dress shoes without socks” epidemic. Stars like Sam Smith, Ryan Gosling, Jude Law, and more have hopped sockless feet onboard this sweaty train, and many more are following suit:
But there’s more to this fashion sensation than meets the eye — even more than pale ankles and curly leg hair. Namely, sweat. Your feet have approximately 250,000 sweat glands, releasing as much as half a pint of sweat on average per day. Or more, potentially, if you experience hyperhidrosis.
The College of Podiatry reports a rise in fungal infections in young men due to this treasonous sock abandonment. Emma Stephenson, podiatrist, told Newsbeat that more and more men between 18 to 25 years old are developing problems due to ill-fitting shoes, like redness and blisters. And the sockless aren’t exempt. “Too much moisture and warmth can lead to fungal infections such as athlete's foot,” she says.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection which affects the skin of the feet, and can spread to toenails or even hands. It spreads easily in warm, moist environments — like sweat-drenched shoes.
If you insist on following the sockless trend, here are a few tips on how to ensure you don’t find yourself prone to fungal infections and other foot problems:
1. Choose the right shoes
Wear shoes made from breathable materials, like canvas or leather. Additionally, wear absorbent insoles that can soak up excess sweat.
2. Wash your feet often
You should wash your feet at least once per day, and twice if you have particularly sweaty feet. Use an antifungal soap — there are many over-the-counter varieties — and make sure to dry your feet thoroughly, with extra attention between the toes.
3. Use a foot antiperspirant
Antiperspirants come in all sorts of varieties — sprays, powders, and roll-ons. If you plan to go sockless in the morning, put on some antiperspirant before you go to sleep, so that your feet are dry and ready when you wake up.
4. Wear socks
Yes, really! There’s no shortage of no-show socks on the market. Be sneaky and make sure you’re keeping your feet healthy while still following the trends!
Leather, in particular, provides a prime sauna-like experience for toes, as it lacks a proper lining for absorption of this wave of bodily fluid.
Be safe and conscious. Your feet are meant to take you places — and they’ll take you all the way to your local podiatrist, if you’re not careful.