Sniff Sniff: How to Prevent Stinky Shoes

How to Prevent Stinky Shoes | CorporetteWhat are the best practices to avoiding stinky shoes?  How do you destink your shoes once they’re already funky?  Reader K has a delicate question regarding smelly shoes:

I need advice on how to keep my shoes from developing a bad odor. I wear hose 90% of the time with my dress work shoes, and they develop a foul odor within just a few weeks of wear. I have tried odor eaters without success, old pantyhose filled with baking soda, rotating my shoes to never wear them two days in a row – nothing works. I haven’t normally had smelly shoes or feet, but now that I am in a professional environment and wear dress shoes instead of socks/sneakers, I can’t get a handle on this. I don’t notice the smell when my shoes are on, but when I take them off at home, look out. I am afraid that it will keep getting worse and my feet will smell all the time!

Interesting.  We’ve talked about delicate issues such as body odor, sweaty feet in pumps, what to do when drycleaning doesn’t remove smells, and general shoe care for women, but I don’t believe we’ve talked about stinky shoes. Reader K herself mentioned some of the other oft-cited advice, but I might stress a few things:

  • Give your shoes at least a day off — it lets the leather dry out.
  • Products like Silver Linings have insoles “infused with antimicrobial silver ions for women who wear shoes without socks.”  (They’re available at Amazon, but here’s the product page for more behind the technology.) Readers have also previously recommended Summer Soles, for open-toed shoes.
  • Look into ventilated shoes, like Geox — they’re designed to let air circulate better.  They’re sold at the usual spots (Zappos, 6pm, Amazon, Nordstrom), but here’s a link to their product page about the technology behind the shoes.
  • Avoid plastic shoes that don’t breathe at all.
  • Try the freezer — put your shoes in a ziplock bag, then stick them in the freezer for 24-48 hours.  (This is also supposedly a great way to defunk your expensive denim.)
  • Wear socks.  Trouser socks, knee-high pantyhose, even shoe liners all exist for exactly this purpose.  I tend to prefer toe liners when they don’t interrupt the line of the shoe. Here’s a link to our older discussion on what hose to wear with pumps (if any).

Here’s an extensive thread on Reddit with more tips for battling smelly feet; Mashable also has some advice.

Ladies, have you had to deal with stinky shoes?  What are your best practices for avoiding funk, and then your best suggestions for destinking your shoes?  

 

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The Hunt: Purple Pumps

Edelman Orella PumpSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: purple pumps are one of my favorite things to wear to work. I like all shades of purple, truth be told, but my absolute favorites for pumps are the ones the color of wine, with a lot of reddish brown in them (but too dark a color to be considered a classic red or even a cordovan pump). They add a tiny bit of pizzazz, and look great with a variety of colors, including: black, navy, gray, cobalt, olive/army green, and beiges and whites.  We haven’t done a roundup in a while (2014, 2012, 2010).  Ladies, what color heels (not black or nude) do you find to be the most versatile color for pumps? Have you bought any purple pumps recently, or loving any older pairs?  

Some roundups of special interest shoes (most links go to Amazon, Nordstrom, or Zappos):

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Stylish, Comfortable Shoes That Are Made to Last

Salvatore Ferragamo Carla Pump | CorporetteFor some women it makes more sense to splurge on “investment” shoes for work that (hopefully) you can wear for years, rather than choose cheaper ones that you’ll keep having to replace. Reader M wonders:

I am struggling with my shoe game! I would like to invest in shoes that are stylish, comfortable, and long lasting. I notice that guys purchase one expensive pair of work shoes but they last their entire careers. I work in the finance area in a young company. Have you seen any gems lately you would like to share?

I’m curious to hear what readers think here, because I have mixed opinions about this. First, the “classic” black pump does change — right now toes are pointy; in recent years they were almond-shaped instead. Second, beware of pregnancy, aging, and feet — many women find that their shoe size will change throughout their lives. Personally I gained about a half size with each pregnancy, which — after having to donate the vast majority of my shoe collection — makes me happy I never committed and spent the money on that pair of Manolos or Choos. Even just with aging, your arches may fall and your feet may widen. So: I kind of don’t believe in “lifetime” shoes for women.

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The Hunt: Low Heels

stylish-comfortable-heelsSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

We haven’t done a round-up of stylish low heels (2.25″ or below!) for a long while now (2014, 2013, 2012), so I thought we’d collect a few today. My absolute favorite in this space is the Stuart Weitzman Poco heel — I really find the 1.75″ heel to be more comfortable than most ballet flats, and with new colors coming out every season it seems like there are always good sales somewhere (I always check Amazon or 6pm first; currently Amazon has prices as low as $185 and 6pm as low as $106.). Still, I thought I’d round up a bunch… Ladies, what is your favorite pair of low heels? Have you bought any recently, or worn an older pair into the ground? 

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When Is It Time to Stop Wearing Tights and Boots?

stop-wearing-tightsWhen is it time to stop wearing tights to work? What about ankle boots or knee-high boots? Is it determined by date (e.g., Memorial Day), weather, both, or something else? What do you do in the interim? Reader A wonders:

Will I begin to look ridiculous/weather inappropriate for wearing ankle boots to work? Same questions for tights/stockings with dresses and skirts?

I noted a similar conundrum on last weekend’s Open Thread: it’s almost May! It’s 60-70 degrees outside! So: it feels too warm for boots and tights — but it’s too cold for bare legs and peep toes. We’ve talked about summer tweed just recently, as well as bare legs in winter, but that was a while ago.

(Pictured: DKNY has these Light Opaque Control Top Tights in a number of different shades — I’ve pictured the chocolate, but I also like the flannel gray and the light beige “caramel.”) 

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Giveaway: Five Winners Get One Pair of Comfort Heels from UKIES

Arianna UKIES Red Python NappaI’m thrilled to introduce you guys to a new shoe brand that seeks to bridge the gap between comfort and style for women’s pumps: UKIES. The brand’s patented nanogel technology guarantees comfort and support in every step — no more insoles or inserts. The brand currently has two main styles in their AM-PM collection, designed to take you from desk to dinner. The first is the Arianna pump (pictured), a classic 3″ pointy-toe pump that comes in four colors: red python nappa, black nappa, gold nappa, and beige patent, for $199. The second is the Paris, a 3.5″ heel with a .5″ platform; it comes in black and blush nappa, as well as a black and navy patent, all priced at $209. Both shoes come in half and whole sizes, 6-11.

I think they’re both great looking shoes, so I’m excited to announce that five lucky readers will win a pair of shoes of their choosing. It’s easy to enter: leave a comment below (please include your email address!) and tell us: what’s the most important thing you look for in a pair of office heels? 

Pictured: the Arianna pump in red python nappa, $199 at UKIES.com.  

UPDATE AS OF APRIL 14: The giveaway is now closed; thank you to everyone who entered!

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