Why Do My Feet Smell 10 Times Worse After Wearing Flats?

I thought I was the only one until I drunkenly confessed to a room full of strangers that I get funky in flats. And I don't mean dancing.
Publish date:
May 13, 2013
feet, shoes

The other day, I was at a friend’s apartment with a bunch of people I had never met before. We had all had a few drinks before we got there, and everyone took of their shoes and made themselves pretty comfortable.

Since I had downed, like, five vodka sodas (which made me act gross because, let's face it, vodka sodas are gross), I announced to the entire room, “I’m going to sit in this comfortable chair, but I refuse to take my shoes off because I’m wearing flats and my feet smell like roadkill.”

And as I was immediately beating myself up for saying it, some girl said, “Oh my god--no way! I thought that only happens to me!”

What the eff?! Why don’t we talk about this flats-specific stinkiness more often?

I have been plagued with this since high school, thinking I was way nasty. Whenever I've been wearing flats and take them off at the end of the day, it smells so bad. Like, it stinks up the room I’m in, and my boyfriend won’t even sit close to me on the couch.

I have gone my whole life thinking I’m a freak, but apparently I'm not the only one!

The problem gets really bad for me in the hot months because my feet sweat all day in the shoes and I’m not going to wear socks with my ballet flat. Ew.

In order to combat the horrendous stinkage, I have to make sure I wash my feet every night after wearing flats. Sometimes I don’t feel like taking a full shower, so I’ll just let my feet dangle in front of running water and throw some soap on them.

However, the problem persists again the next day because I can’t do ANYTHING to make my actual shoes smell better. They get this gross black gunk on them, and it freaks me out because WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? My feet do not ooze sludge.

I have tried wiping them out, but the goo just appears again the next day. I’ve also let them sit outside for a while, which I think helps for a minute, but they get gross again after another day of wear.

I switch up the shoes I wear every day to keep my feet from smelling terrible day after day. So, if I wear flats on Monday, I’ll wear boots with socks or sandals on Tuesday. I don’t know if it actually helps anything, but it makes me more confident when I get home on Tuesday and kick off my shoes and my feet don’t make me gag.

I haven’t been able to find a permanent remedy yet, but one associate at Lush told me he keeps a Lush bath bomb in his closet and it makes everything, including his footwear, smell amazing.

I’m thinking I’ll try that with their Sex Bomb, because it smells like how I would want my feet to smell. I just haven’t done it yet because I know the bath bomb wouldn’t make it to my closet before ending up in its intended destination (and also because I’m just lazy and don’t know if he really does that).

I guess the best attitude would be to say “Screw it, I’m going to own my stench.” But I just can’t. I don’t feel pretty when my feet smell, and I’m definitely not in the mood to crawl into bed with the BF.

So what do you guys do? How nasty are your post-flats feet? Do you need a nightly footbath like me or do you not care? Am I doomed to a life of black sludge? HALP.