Before beginning barefoot running, know that your feet will stink. Most minimalist running shoes are designed to be worn without socks, and while this enhances the fit and effectiveness, it does no favors for your nose. Regardless which shoe you pick, within a few weeks they will start to develop an odor, but don’t let this stop you from barefoot running. Here we’ll show you some of the best ways to have a stink-free barefoot running experience.
OK, we know we said barefoot shoes should be worn without socks. Still, ordering a bit larger size will allow room for socks without sacrificing too much in the way of fit or performance.
If you’re going to wear socks, it’s best to choose a thin athletic type. Wool hiking socks aren’t happening. If the Vibram Five Fingers are your style, you’ll have to dish out a little extra for specialty toe socks. Either way, socks are an effective way to prevent nasty odors from ruining your run.
A cheaper and easier alternative to socks is to simply apply some foot powder before slipping on barefoot running shoes. Gold Bond is a good choice, but the generic store varieties usually work just as well. The powder does wonders to keep your feet dry, which in turn prevents the sweaty smell that would happen otherwise.
One downside to using a foot powder is its lasting power. Even a thorough application before a run will dissipate if you plan on going the extra distance. Foot powder is great for short runs or going to the gym, but it won’t do much for odor on long, sweaty runs.
A lesser-known remedy for stinky barefoot running shoes is cedar chips. Cedar chips are the easiest of smell cures, and work pretty well. Getting rid of the odor is as simple as putting a half-full sock of cedar chips in each shoe while you’re not wearing them (at least as long as overnight). Cedar is a natural absorbent, so leaving chips in your shoes will keep them moisture and smell-free.
A lot of people complain about the smell of barefoot running shoes, but for some reason they don’t realize they can WASH THEM! Most minimalist shoes are machine washable, but check the manufacturer’s site just to make sure. Even if they’re not, a simple soapy cloth will make quick work of any grotesque odors.
Stuffitts are a specialty product made to absorb moisture and kill bacteria growth with Microban antimicrobial protection. They work really well, even when your barefoot running shoes are incredibly soaked from a run in harsh weather.
Don’t let the smell stop you from picking up a pair of barefoot shoes. Pick one or more of these methods and keep your shoes (and feet) smelling like fresh daisies.
Read more: Do You Wear Socks With Barefoot Shoes?