Wearing Sneakers Without Socks Is Much Worse Than You Thought

While going sock-free in sneakers for the gym has long been considered to be a big no-no, a new study reveals that wearing sneakers without socks generally is a bad idea.

The report, conducted by European shoe retailer Size?, shows that up to three times more bacteria grows on kicks when they’re worn without socks.

The retailer ran swab tests on the soles, upper and insoles of several kinds of sneakers, which were worn in different environments.

The study found that canvas sneakers can accumulate three times more bacteria when worn without socks.

Surprisingly, sneakers worn at the gym may not be more bacteria-filled than those worn in the street. What does this mean? Bad odor does not equal bacteria, so shoes that smell bad aren’t necessarily dirtier than those that smell good.

I turns out that white sneakers actually may be cleaner than dark-colored ones. This may be because white sneakers are washed more frequently, as wearers are hoping to preserve the fresh look.

The main takeaways from the report? Wear socks with your sneakers and wash your shoes, regardless of colorway. The only way to prevent bacteria buildup is through taking care of your kicks.

For tips on how to keep your sneakers clean — particularly during the summer months, when you’re more likely to be sporting kicks — check out this FN tutorial video.

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