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Stinky feet? Not mine.

May 20, 2012

A rock concert is quite a sensory experience. Of course, there is the music that is always much louder than is safe, the lights and visual effects on the stage, and all the smells. Cigarettes. Marijuana. Alcohol. Occasionally vomit. Sweat from all the hot bodies crammed close together… It’s makes one heckuva an olfactory cocktail.

Last weekend my husband and I saw Wilco in concert. They played in a theater that seemed to do a pretty good job at keeping out most of the usual concert smells. But there was one smell that they had no control over: stinky feet. It was coming from the seat behind me where a teenager sat wearing a pair of old Tevas. Then to make it worse, he rested his ankle on his knee putting his smelly foot at my shoulder level, which was much too close to my nose. I generally hate the smell of cigarettes, but I was relieved when someone lit up around me, giving my nose a break from the feet.

Interestingly, I also caught up with an old friend this past week via e-mail. He was asking me about my barefooting and his first question was how do you deal with the stink?

“Well, do your hands smell?” I asked in response.

Feet smell because bacteria feast on our sweat and then excrete waste with a strong odor. Bacteria also love the dark, moist environment that shoes provide. Bare feet typically are not smelly because they sweat less, and when they do sweat, it’s released into the air, keeping the bacteria from enjoying the feeding frenzy they get with shoes.

Fortunately, not even the stinky feet could ruin the Wilco show. If they’re headed your way, definitely check them out. Jeff Tweedy and his crew are fabulous live. Here’s a favorite from their most recent album, The Whole Love. Enjoy!


From → Out and about

  1. fortonk permalink

    So were you barefoot at the concert too?

  2. Of course!

  3. It seems so obvious to us who go barefoot… how can it not be obvious to everyone? If you kept your hands in gloves 10 hours every day, guess what? You would have stinky hands. Also, it should be noted that keeping your feet locked away in shoes decreases their ability to kill microbes and fight infection – at the same time they are housed within a culture flask. This is why athlete’s foot and toenail fungus are so prevalent in shoe-wearing societies. The desiccating effects of wind and air, assisted by natural antibiotics released from skin, keep microbes at bay when your feet are bare, but the soft, sweat-soaked skin on shod feet cannot fight back as well. Even stepping on a nail is more dangerous in shoes than barefoot. I document the research in my book (The Barefoot Book), but studies reveal that you have essentially 0% chance of getting a potentially deadly Pseudomonas infection stepping on a nail barefoot, but about 50% chance of such infection when stepping on a nail with shoes on (because the bacteria live in shoes, not on skin). Anyway, I could go on, but thank you, Marci, for sharing on your blog and being such an inspiration to barefooters everywhere! BTW, as a college professor I don’t teach during the summer. Crazy as it is, I do have to wear shoes when I teach, but after graduation on May 12 I threw away my shoes. I will not own any shoes until I buy some more for the Fall semester in late August. A wonderful barefoot summer!

  4. Thanks for all that info. And woo-hoo for your shoeless summer. My 3-year-old finished off preschool last week, so it looks like he won’t have to put on shoes for another three months either.

  5. Hi Marci You might dig an Aussie brother and sister combo
    Angus & Julia Stone…. Very folksy and mellow.
    Cheers Steve

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