Well+Good On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Gross Is It If I Never Change My Socks?
“One thing became certain from Yolanda Ragland, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist and foot surgeon and founder of FixYourFeet.com from the get-go. If you have Athlete’s Foot, you can't be so nonchalant about sock changes. Yes, that between-the-toes cracking and dryness so often associated with the locker room, occurs no-matter your activity level, due to a charming fungi that affects the top layer of the skin through small cracks or wounds. Anywhere between 15 to 25 percent of the population suffer from it at any given time.”
“In the winter months, the feet get cold quickly because, after all, they are the part of the body that is closest to the ground!” says Dr. Ragland. “Layering socks might sound intuitive, but keeping the foot too warm will trigger sweating and bacteria, especially since fungus thrives in warm, dark, moisture conditions. Unless you are in subzero weather, there is no need to layer socks—they will only encourage microorganisms to propagate and could result in itchy malodorous feet.”
Ultimately, “wearing a sock specializing in wicking and absorption is your best option,” said Dr. Ragland. “Merino Wool socks are great—this [is] natural fiber, which means it is breathable and can mechanically transport moisture and vapor from a higher area of humidity by the skin to a lower area of humidity away from the skin.”