The most breathable shoes you've ever worn.
June 27, 2009 5:08 PM   Subscribe

Super sweaty feet leading to eczema on the tops of my feet. What are your favorite breathable shoes?

I work long days (up to 14 hours) on my feet. I'm running around all day, climbing ladders, and walking on a mix of concrete and wood floors. I rarely get to sit down. My job is pretty physically demanding, and I sweat a lot.

I used to work in boots, but sweaty feet gave me eczema all over my feet and ankles. Now I wear sneakers, but even the super breathable ones I'm wearing right now still irritate the tops of my feet. I think it's that the tongue is lined in neoprene.

So, hivemind, what are your favorite super breathable shoes? Requirements:
Non slip
Super amazingly breathable
Closed toe and heel
Lace up (or some variation thereof, no slipons)
No hard plastic on the sole instep (slips on ladders, scary!)
Available in women's 11/men's 8.5 (ish)

Black or some close to black color (this would make my locker less crowded, but I can always throw on black chucks for showtime)
posted by mollymayhem to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How about some Keens?
posted by Sassyfras at 5:17 PM on June 27, 2009

Some of my Onitsuka Tigers have a mesh top and sides and that's are super comfy/breathable. Others are leather. They might help!
posted by GilloD at 5:27 PM on June 27, 2009

This doesn't answer your question about shoes, but what kind of socks do you wear during your work day? Thin wool socks will help amazingly with sweaty feet; they are super-wicking. Cotton socks are the enemy.
posted by BostonTerrier at 6:03 PM on June 27, 2009

Can I piggyback on this? I've been having the same problem. Level of difficulty: the shoes must be steel toed, shockproof, slip-proof, and closed heel.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:06 PM on June 27, 2009

Adidas Clima-Cool. Those shoes breathe/vent like no other. I wore them in extreme heat and my feet were fine. Regular shoes were far from fine.
posted by ambient2 at 8:46 PM on June 27, 2009

posted by taff at 9:52 PM on June 27, 2009

Keens are ridiculously sweaty. I love mine but they are very warm

Try plain old leather shoes with leather lining or at least leather tongues, these are getting hard to find but Ariat makes them, Lowa, Blundstone, RedBack, Timberland etc. And definitely lose the cotton socks.
posted by fshgrl at 10:29 PM on June 27, 2009

I've got the sock thing under control. I wear shorty socks, either smartwool or whatever wicking socks REI has when I happen to swing by there. They all perform about the same: better than cotton, but not great.

I'm thinking the mary jane style Keens are going to be worth a try. It's just the tops of my feet that have the problem, and those leave the tops of the foot open.

Leather shoes are not the solution for me. I wore leather boots for a season; that's what started this whole issue.

dirtynumbangelboy, you might be completely fucked. I'm sorry. I've had some luck mitigating this by taking my shoes off at lunch, airing my feet out as much as possible, and putting fresh socks back on.
posted by mollymayhem at 11:15 PM on June 27, 2009

I've had this forever. I even wore those Merrell Water shoes forever and STILL had a heat rash and a terrible athlete's foot problem (damp, dark, warm). Here's my attack method:
- Drysol or another super antiperspirant AT NIGHT -- these go on over night and wash off in the shower in the morning. They work much better than the other antiperspirant AND it's important for the next step:
- if you have active scaling/fungus, put some Zeasorb powder into your socks. Likewise with spray antifungals like Lotrimin
- wear the best socks ALWAYS for you (for some it's all cotton. For others it's smartwool. For others it's a technical sock with part cotton part synthetic)
- if possible get removable insoles -- buy about three of them. Change insoles at lunch or at least after work
- change socks at lunch, take shoes off if possible -- even having a pair of flip-flops or tevas at work for lunchtime (if possible) really lets them get reset back to zero for the afternoon
- come home and wash feet immediately - all the sweat gunks up your pores and it's easier for them to cool down under nice running water. If they are peeling a lot - let them sit in some water with antiseptic cleaner (like Tetraseptic) and that will help a lot of the fungus/peeling
- Some Geox shoes really do work, surprisingly enough -- they are the only leather shoes I can wear without having a foot fire
- I have some Simple shoes (the brand) made out of hemp - they seem better than most cotton shoes in terms of breathing and support, and with a better insole they'd be fine, but probably not as supportive as you'd like
- I also just got a pair of ventilated Keens -- they are super dorky looking, but they actually are doing OK so far.

Good luck. I've had sweating/heat issues for my hands and feet ever since I can remember. I'm over 30 and it's starting to calm down but still nowhere near normal.
posted by barnone at 8:28 AM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

PS: those Mary Janes are cute but they'd still look hot to me. Are you totally unable to wear one of their sandals like this? With short black socks that don't peek out the top (or longer ones, if you're wearing long pants), you can barely tell they're sandals (really). There are a ton of versions, some more for water (with a harder insole) and some more for street (with more support and a softer insole). They are quite supportive and the heel doesn't slip at all. They're worth a try - more ventilation for sure than the MJ shoes you linked to.
posted by barnone at 8:32 AM on June 28, 2009

dirtynumbangelboy, you might be completely fucked.

I had that feeling. Thankfully in real kitchens there's a lot more relaxation about footwear. School is just insane about it for insurance reasons.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:28 AM on June 28, 2009

To expand on taff's one-word comment above, Geox shoes are designed for this. They don't appear to have a proper US website, but are definitely available in the US. Zappo's probably even has them. They breathe through the sole as well as though the sides, which makes a world of difference.
posted by dizziest at 10:49 AM on June 28, 2009

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