Breathable dress shoes for sweaty feet
February 17, 2009 7:38 PM   Subscribe

My feet sweat a lot, no matter if I'm sitting still or running around. I am in search of the perfect work/dress shoes (business casual) that will help me best deal with my sweaty feet! All shoe suggestions are welcomed!

Sweaty feet run in my family (no pun intended). I sometimes sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, and sometimes I travel and am on my feet for 8 hours a day. Regardless of my activity, my feet sweat a consistent amount. I'm looking for dress shoes (for a business casual job) that help combat or deal with this situation.

What I Am Asking of You:
Please provide me with successful/applicable dress shoe brands/models, sock brands, etc. that you have tried (or your family/friend/co-worker) that either help my feet breath (so my feet/socks/shoes aren't damp/wet at the end of the day and subsequently smell), help wick away the moisture or otherwise cut down on/reduce/better address the sweating.

What I am Not Asking:
I'm not looking for over-the-counter non-shoe or non-sock "apply to your feet/shoe" solutions (gold bond, dr. Scholl's inserts, desenex, tinactin, etc.). I've tried every over-the-counter powder, insert/insole, cream, etc. on the shelves of the drug store. So have my family members that also have this problem. It just seems to be that our feet like to sweat. I'm ready to accept that I have a problem and attempt to deal with it! As a result, I am turning to you, Hive Mind! TIA.
posted by thankyoumuchly to Work & Money (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Try Geox shoes. I seem to remember that some Nordstrom stores carry 'em.
posted by herrdoktor at 7:43 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: At work, I generally don't have my shoes on. I have a pair of Birkenstock clogs under my desk that I slip on when I have to leave my cube, but for the most part, I'm shoeless. It makes me really happy.

For socks, I'd recommend trying SmartWool socks. They wick extremely well and resist odor.
posted by advicepig at 7:48 PM on February 17, 2009

These copper sole socks are worth a shot. You could probably just go to an athletic store to find them, that's where I got mine. The copper is reputed to be really good for keeping odor under control, and they're moisture wicking too. I think they work fine but I don't have unreasonably sweaty feet.

Choosing natural materials like leather for your shoes is supposed to be the best option for breathable shoes. So stay away from synthetics? Choose a looser shoe?
posted by lizbunny at 7:51 PM on February 17, 2009

Best answer: Seconding the Smartwool socks. They do not itch. They feel great. And even though my feet sweat, too (seems like summer and winter, not fall or spring), it's not particularly uncomfortable, and there is rarely any odor (usually only if I have my shoes on all weekend out in the woods).
posted by notsnot at 7:56 PM on February 17, 2009

One thing that works extremely well is wearing black boot socks.

There are some pairs of Bass waterproof shoes that look acceptable with slacks that seem to do a good job of keeping moisture down.
posted by Night_owl at 7:58 PM on February 17, 2009

Yes - Smartwool socks. I wait for seconds on sale at Sierra Trading Post, then buy half a dozen pairs.
posted by chinston at 8:11 PM on February 17, 2009

You probably already know this, but just in case you don't, vinyl doesn't breathe at all. Avoid like the plague if you have overheated feet anyway.
posted by orange swan at 8:25 PM on February 17, 2009

Best answer: My feet seem to sweat most in the Winter... go figure.
I'll agree with keeping your shoes off as long as possible. I don't wear them while I'm driving or sitting at my desk.
I don't have exact brand recommendations but I like my dress shoes to be a little loose (especially in the main opening) so air can get in and I can get some flow around my feet.

As for socks, definitely stay away from the typical black dress sock (or stockings... I'm not sure if you're a guy or girl)... which is the thin nylon-y material... it seems to make my feet sweat more... and instead use black wool or cotton socks. I'm a Smartwool fan as well.

This is what you requested I didn't provide, but, I was having major issues with the funk at the end of the day. I would want to take my shoes off to air out the wetness but the smell, by this time, would be too strong so I would have to leave my shoes on and it felt like I was walking in puddles.
I've been experimenting with a ton of over the counter shoe sprays, deoderant balls, powders, etc. I recently picked up Dr Scholl's Odor Destroyers Spray Powder... it's a deodorant for your feet. I've been using it for 3 weeks now and there is zero odor at the end of the day. None of the other products I've tried have worked as powerfully.
And I've also been somewhat less sweaty--which might be attributed to the change of Seasons... but the lack of odor is totally worth the extra minute it takes for me to apply in the mornings.
posted by simplethings at 8:32 PM on February 17, 2009

Trapped perspiration in the shoe environment tends to flatten or crush common acrylic yarns. THOR•LON acrylics from the Thorlo sock company are specially spun to maintain both softness and resilience, which maximizes foot comfort, blister protection and sock durability.
posted by netbros at 8:40 PM on February 17, 2009

Smartwool! Smartwoolsmartwoolsmartwoolsmartwoolsmartwool oh dear god smartwool. You can buy them at any sporting goods/hiking/running store, and they also make business casual versions: straight black, or cute girly ones.

My boyfriend's mother sent us a few pairs a year ago, and now we are hooked.
posted by kestrel251 at 10:41 PM on February 17, 2009

Wool socks (Smartwool are great, but I've had good luck with other brands) and Rockport shoes.
posted by fixedgear at 6:28 AM on February 18, 2009

[Nth]ing Smartwool. Also recommend real leather shoe$.
posted by resurrexit at 8:33 AM on February 18, 2009

I forgot to mention, I try my best not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. I find that letting them air out for 24 hours or so helps.
posted by advicepig at 8:53 AM on February 18, 2009

Sweaty feet and hands here. Geox shoes absolutely work.

And get the kind of super-antiperspirant that you put on at night. It really helps. There's a new Secret Clinical or something that works - the old stuff was over-the-counter.
posted by barnone at 8:57 AM on February 18, 2009

What kind of shoes are you wearing now? I've found that most of my leather soled shoes tend not to make my feet sweat as much as my shoes with non-leather soles. I'm currently wearing some Allen-Edmonds I bought off of which are nicely non-sweaty and take a nice shine.

W/regards to socks I've tried a bunch of socks including smartwool, teko, and thorlo. I really like my teko socks although they are a bit snug.

I noticed that a bunch of folks recommended the smartwool -- they just don't seem to hold up all that well. I've noticed fuzzballs and pills appearing only after a couple of washes.

The best (and most durable) socks I have are the dalhgren alpaca socks.

They're super, super comfy and they keep my foot nice and dry. Which is great since "The Mekong will eat a grunt's feet right off his legs." --Figuratively speaking of course.
posted by cheez-it at 11:00 AM on February 18, 2009

You didn't ask for it, but this stuff actually works.
posted by monospace at 11:30 AM on February 18, 2009

Response by poster: Tremendous recommendations, keep them coming! Thank you all :)
posted by thankyoumuchly at 11:31 AM on February 18, 2009

Response by poster: I've tried most of the suggestions. Here's what worked:

SmartWool Socks - I have no idea how (maybe because of the small "padding" along the soul/toes of the sock), but these reduced the moisture in my shoes at the end of the day, and there was no foul odor (same exact shoes I was wearing before which stunk/were wet(as were the socks) before I asked this question).

Dr Scholl's Odor Destroyers Spray Powder - I went on a limb and picked this up from CVS. It's an aerosol spray, but goes on dry (almost like instant drying white spray paint) and didn't get white residue on my pants/socks/etc when I put them on moments later (I sprayed my feet/toes after getting out of the shower and drying them off thoroughly). The smell/scent of the spray is strong and somewhat odd. It's not necessarily a "bad" smell, and it's better than the old foot stink, but it's definitely pungent. I'd describe it as dry and peppery. Try it out, it's only a few bucks and it can't hurt.

Using the above two together is fool proof. Sweat is reduced, smell is non-existent (sans aroma from Dr Sholl's spray). Problem (90%) solved (minus the tiny bit of foot moisture remaining).

Thank you all!
posted by thankyoumuchly at 9:58 PM on March 11, 2009

Response by poster: FWIW, I purchased the SmartWool "Textured Stripe" model #10-233 which had a height of "Crew" and a cushion level of "Light Cushion".
posted by thankyoumuchly at 10:32 PM on March 11, 2009

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