Going Sockless: Is The Risk Worth a (Fashionably) Exposed Ankle?

It seems that exposing your ankle is one of the newer fashion trends these days for men.

Known colloquially as the Italian style, men are strutting down the catwalks and streets with sockless feet that are coupled with a pair of chic, shortened slacks. (We’re certain women are also sporting this look.) However, with so much foot-on-shoe contact, could you ultimately be risking your health in the name of this dare-to-go-bare fashion statement? The short answer: Yes.

What Going Sockless Is Doing to You

There aren’t really any benefits to this situation other than how you look. In fact, we feel confident in stating that there is nothing good about this trend at all, and the negatives far outweigh any positive effects wearing your shoes this way may provide you.

You’re Harboring a Breeding Ground of Unpleasantries

Think about it: What could be a more ideal place for bacteria and fungi to grow than the inside of your dark, moist shoe?

The sweat glands in your feet produce approximately half a pint of sweat a day. That’s a lot of sweat—which is filled with bacteria—that has nowhere to go other than to be absorbed into the bottom of your shoe. Not only will that cause your shoes and feet to stink to high Heaven, but it also leaves you potentially exposed to infection.

[Most] Shoes Are Designed to be Worn With Socks

Anything that fully encloses your foot should ideally be worn with a sock made of a breathable synthetic material, especially if you plan to keep your foot in it for long periods of time. In fact, the majority of everyday shoes are specifically created to be worn with a barrier between your foot and the shoe’s insides. Without the sock, the skin of your foot runs the risk of developing blisters from friction. If you combine that with the number of bacteria and fungi that are festering, you’ll find yourself with a perfect storm for infection, including athlete’s foot. (Contrary to its informal name, it’s not just for athletes. It’s also an issue that plagues the fashion-conscious.) All of that moisture also leaves the skin on your feet softer and can result in ingrown toenails.

In some extreme cases, it could even lead to more serious health issues and possibly death.

You’re Ruining Your Shoes

This may have less to do with the health of your feet and more to do with the health of your bank account, but it’s worth noting nonetheless: Going sockless destroys shoes. Your shoes will not only distort in color over the course of time, but anything with a padded sole will eventually feel like donning on a wet sponge every time you put your foot inside it. Also, let’s not forget the smell all of that aforementioned bacteria and fungi will produce as it sits and festers in your footwear.

How to Keep Foot Fungus and Bacteria at Bay

If despite everything you have just read you are still considering going sockless in your shoes, there are a few precautionary measures you can take to potentially avoid turning your shoes into a fashion-forward health hazard:

  • Apply foot spray or an antiperspirant to the bottoms of your feet before putting your shoes on. Also, placing talcum or foot powder to your shoes can’t hurt.
  • Don’t wear the same pair every day. Shoes need 48 hours to completely dry out. (Tip: You can use tea bags to help draw out the moisture better.)
  • Remove your shoes if they begin to cause pain to avoid developing openings in the skin.
  • Wash your feet with warm water and soap at the end of every day. Be sure to dry your feet thoroughly after you wash, and pay special attention to the skin between your toes.

What to Do If You Think You Have an Infection

If our guidance has come too late and you suspect an infection, seeking medical treatment from a professional is the best option. In doing so, you can get an accurate diagnosis and the right treatment (e.g., an antifungal prescription) to get your feet runway ready as soon as possible.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, contact us today.