We're all guilty of wearing shoes without socks from time to time, but people who make a habit of it are more at risk of developing fungal problems and infections such as athlete's foot, the has warned.
Some experts are blaming the "bare ankle" trend, which has filtered down from the catwalk to become something of a statement — particularly for men (including celebrity icons Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling and Orlando Bloom), who pair the sockless look with both casual and formal attire. This, coupled with the rise in poorly-made footwear, has caused a significant increase in the number of unwanted foot conditions, says podiatrist Emma Stevenson from the .
Speaking to , Stevenson said, "Depending on the level of sweatiness of the foot, there may be issues with too much moisture in the feet, which can leave you vulnerable to fungal infections such as athlete's foot. On average your feet will sweat half a pint a day; that's a lot to be pouring out straight into your shoe without it being absorbed by a sock."
Because this particular phenomenon is still in its early stages, studies are yet to be performed to establish the true impact of such a problem. However, a combination of excessive sweat, an ill-choice in fabrics and a lack of socks can create an ideal environment in which can thrive — potentially leading to feet that are not only smelly but also painful. Dr. Stevenson adds, "Many shoes that are available today may have leather uppers but are lined in synthetic material, which is not breathable. If the lining is not breathable then moisture, heat and bacteria will all be trapped inside the shoe."
Another culprit, according to Stevenson: Pointy-toed and slip-on shoes.
Such shoes, Dr. Stevenson says, cause friction over bony prominences in the feet such as the toes and heels, increasing the risk of ingrown toenails and other bony defect (like , for example).
Still want to go sockless? Try these simple steps to keep problems at bay:
- Spray the feet with antiperspirant prior to putting shoes on.
- Don't wear the same shoes every day.
- Give shoes 48 hours to dry off.
- Use dry tea bags to absorb excess moisture in shoes.
- Wash and dry feet correctly after going sockless.
- Stop wearing shoes that give you pain.