Monday, June 6, 2011

Stinky FiveFingers ? Why ? And Prevention

I hear and see horror stories about the unbearable funk that follow some users like a nuclear mushroom over their heads and t heir feet…. God forbid when they take them off .... Run for your life !
I have to admit that, since my first pair back in 2005, I have never encountered such problem ever. I have taken some time to specially investigate the funk phenomenon at my lab using some of my friends' VFF's that have the issue haunting them. You sure do not want to wait till your partner ask you to spend the night on the back porch ... !
Here is the scoop:
Foot odor come from sweat, dead skin and the Corynebacteria and Micrococci bacteria;
A human foot, with it’s 250,000 sweat glands, during the course of a day can sweat up to 1/2 pint of liquids composed of the following ingredients: Fatty Acids, Urea, Sebum and many other organic compounds. Just add a little heat from your body a couple days of wear compounded by accumulating materials then you just made yourself the ultimate stink bomb. You just uncovered the bio-chemist in you ... !
When you wear regular shoes or sneakers with socks you don’t wear your same socks for an entire week… Socks absorb sweat & dead skin. When your wear VFF’s barefoot your footwear absorb sweat & dead skin. That needs to be washed or it will stink, sometimes very very bad, depending on the individual’s chemistry …..
I have these simple rules:
  • I wash my feet before I get in my VFF’s
  • I jump in the shower and clean-rinse my VFF’s (with a little sud from my body-wash) at the end of the day, then let them air dry wherever there is air circulation (be creative here, a window seal in summer no direct sun, near an air vent in winter no direct heat).
  • Every 2-3 days, depending on my daily activities My VFF’s will get a real wash in the machine and will air day as usual.
  • Always use lukewarm or cold water with regular laundry detergent when using a washing machine.
  • Always Dry my VFF"s away from the sun or heat sources and in a well ventilated area.
Never let you VFF"s go out of control. The more you wait, the more difficult it will be to get your VFF's clean again.

It all comes down to Basic hygiene; Prevention and a good maintenance regimen will give you years of fun times with your FiveFingers footwear. I am not a clean freak but since I was born with only 1 pair of feet and I hear that they are not replaceable I'd rather take good care of them and my footwear too.

Providing that you can stand socks, Injinji is a premier maker of sport toe socks & liners that works perfect with FiveFingers footwear. This solution works beautifully but if you choose not to wear socks then clean, clean clean.... repeat ... clean, clean, clean ...

Agent Orange Blossom

I am investigating some cleaning methods for out of control funk; Each product or recipe is graded as follow: from 1 to 10 as 1 is the least efficient and 10 the most efficient; A $ represents the cheapest methods and $$$$$ the most expensive.

Updates will be posted daily. I expect the research work to be completed by June 15 2011. Visit this post often.

Among other we are investigating the following products:

  • Lysol
  • UV Light bacteria killer
  • Mouthwash
  • Peroxide (H2O2)
  • Vinegar / Water mix
  • OxyClean
  • Denture tablets
  • Baking Soda pockets
  • Fabric Softener sheet
  • Sportzyme by Norwex
  • SteriShoe™ shoe sanitizer
If you have ideas or tricks please feel free to include them in the comment box below.
I always welcome other people input and comments.

Updates to this article can be found here:

Lysol, OxyClean, Sportzyme, SteriShoe, Arm&Hammer are commercial branded products owned by their own Copyrights on which I have no claim.


  1. I tried baking soda in the shoes while I was wearing them. It resulted in the shoes looking like the soil of Carthage after Rome left, the leather insole getting dessicated and hard and finally the creation of an abrasive past that A) stank like hell and B) eroded the bottom of my food. This lasted 1 week before I gave up hope. time to start cleaning them daily.

  2. Great feedback AJ
    Thank you for your input