The topics of the post

1. Feet odor depends on the bacteria that inhabit the shoes
2. A scientific experiment on vegetable tanned leather shoes with tannins
3. Tannin: mediator of the skin bacterial flora

Let’s face it: one of the most positive aspects of summer is the possibility of freeing our feet from closed and heavy footwear!

Wearing summer shoes, sandals to be specific, is a comfortable feeling, but it also means exposing a part of our body that has remained hidden for a long time. Immediately we worry about its appearance, resorting to nail polish and pedicures.

But who cares about feet well-being? Feet are our roots, connect us with the ground and ensure our mobility. Taking care of them is the first step to feel good, in harmony with our body, full of energy and ready for action!

Unfortunately, we often overlook the comfort of our feet. We force them into unhealthy footwear and take poor care of their well-being.

A “happy” foot looks healthy, it is not swollen and above all… does not stink! Yes, the much-hated “#footstink” is a symptom of discomfort: it means that the foot is overheated and subjected to excessive sweating. And this, as well as causing embarrassment, is a signal not to be underestimated.

In summertime, internet queries related to “how to get rid of smelly feet” or “stinky feet remedies” increase exponentially. Eventually, we take off our shoes more often than we think: at the gym, at the doctor or during a date.

Even the finest summer shoes, such as sabots or classic sandals, can make your feet stink, especially when this involves direct contact between your skin and the material the shoe is made of. Synthetic materials are not sufficiently breathable, so they cause more sweating and that unpleasant feeling of “hot feet“.

Deodorants or talcum powders are certainly not the definitive solution. In the long run they could even make the situation worse and the shoes dirty. A solution, however, exists, and it’s pretty easy: choosing the right shoes to wear.

Have you ever tried to wear leather sandals realized with real vegetable tanned leather? If so, we don’t need to tell you the difference: you’ve already experienced it yourself! Sandals in vegetable tanned leather made with tannins are highly breathable, absorb sweat and keep your feet fresh and dry all day long.

Feet odor depends on the bacteria that inhabit the shoes

It is widely believed that the cause of bad smell is poor foot hygiene. Wrong!

Recent scientific researches have shown that the stink of the feet is not related to personal hygiene. It means that washing your feet even several times a day does not solve this problem. It may work for a while, but then the odor comes back. This is because the cause of stink is not the feet, but the shoes!

On the feet, as on the rest of our body, there are many different kinds of bacteria, defined as microbiome. The foot, for example, is populated with very common bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus.

These microorganisms feed on sweat and dead cells that peel off the skin: the bad odor is the result of their metabolic activity. Bacteria degrade amino acids into short-chain fatty acids, volatile substances that are unpleasant to smell. A completely natural and harmless phenomenon, if we were free to walk barefoot. But the situation changes inside the shoes.

  • Bacteria themselves are not a problem, they become the problem when their ecosystem “goes crazy”, for example due to the increase in body temperature and the consequent production of sweat: the shoe then creates the ideal microclimate for bacterial proliferation. Even in open shoes, like sandals? Well, yes! In fact, most bacteria are concentrated right in the area of the foot sole.

  • The solution to the stinky feet therefore lies in ensuring a balance to the microbial ecosystem of the foot. How? Using breathable vegetable tanned leather shoes and sandals that absorb sweat and create a fresh and healthy environment, against bacterial proliferation.

What about sneakers or gym shoes? In these cases, a vegetable tanned leather insole can help. Put it inside your shoe and you’ll feel the difference from the first time you wear it.

A scientific experiment on vegetable tanned leather shoes with tannins

Wellmicro, a spin-off company of the University of Bologna, carried out an interesting experiment: it demonstrated that a lining and insole made in vegetable tanned leather can select the bacteria inside the shoe and eliminate the ones responsible for bad smell. On the contrary, synthetic material inside a shoe makes these bacteria increase exponentially.

The in vivo trial involved 15 men and women who wore one pair of shoes every day for 28 consecutive days. The inside of one shoe was made in vegetable tanned leather, the other one was in synthetic material. The result?

  1. In the vegetable tanned leather shoes, the swabs taken at the beginning of the trial and after 28 days showed the almost total disappearance of the bacteria responsible for feet odor.

  2. On the contrary, in the shoes with synthetic material interior, bacteria had proliferated and therefore caused the stinky odor.

Tannin: mediator of the skin bacterial flora

These results show that shoes with an inner part made in vegetable tanned leather are highly recommended to avoid foot odor. Their effectiveness has a secret: the presence of tannin, a 100% natural substance used in the tanning process that can regulate the ecosystem inside the footwear, acting in particular on the microorganisms responsible for the production of bad smell.

During tanning process, tannin stabilizes the hide fibers while imparting absorbency and perspiration properties to the leather. These qualities ensure a healthy environment and counteract the activity of bacteria.

Thanks to tannins, the feet inside the shoe made of vegetable tanned leather do not stink, even after many hours and under physical effort.

Do you want to know more about how to get rid of smelly feet? Find out more in our “smelly feet causes” page.