Feet smell. Whether yours are of the garden variety — moderately stinky after a day of action — or are overactive in the odor department, there's no denying that this is one body part that can announce itself in the wrong place at the wrong time, causing embarrassment and the discomfort of other body parts (namely, the nose).
Foot odor is directly related to foot sweat. According to health and wellness website Verywell, foot odor is caused when the moisture from foot sweat and the the heat from inside your shoe meet to breed the odor dream team: bacteria and fungi. This natural biological process doesn't discriminate.
So when I heard from a company claiming to make the world's best odorless socks, I said "bring it". MP Magic Socks says that the trio of metals infused into their socks — silver, copper and zinc — work together to fight bacteria and keep odor at bay. The socks are also allegedly designed to be particularly conductive, breathable and gripping. I decided to put all of these qualities to the test by wearing a single pair of the socks for five straight days of my daily NYC routine. Could the socks possibly keep my feet odorless for the entire work week? I was determined to find out.
Day 1: Monday, September 25, 2017
9:31 a.m.: I arrive at the office and put on a pair of the ankle-cut odorless socks. It's unseasonably hot outside for the first week of fall, but I've prematurely broken my leather boots back out for the week in order to give these socks a true test run. I walk over to the office kitchen to put my lunch in the fridge and check out our cold brew situation — the keg is usually full on summer Mondays. 108 Steps
9:34 a.m.: Apparently cold brew Mondays end promptly with the conclusion of summer, even though it's supposed to be 86 degrees today. I head downstairs to the closest Starbucks — it's surprisingly un-crowded, considering that it's in the center of Times Square. 258 Steps; Temperature: 76 degrees
9:49 a.m.: I go about the rest of my work day as usual — these socks are a little bit squeaky in my boots! Is that audible to my colleagues? Unsure. My day includes a couple of kitchen, bathroom and printer runs, and two meetings. 755 Steps
5:24 p.m.: I leave work and head for the gym. I take the Subway to Alphabet City, where my apartment and gym are located. I have to swap trains at West 4th street, and that station is particularly swampy today! I arrive at the gym and walk the five flights up to the locker room. 1510 Steps; Temperature: 84 degrees
5:50 p.m.: Fox News is on in front of my treadmill while I'm running. Can global affairs and the state of how they're portrayed in the media make me sweat more? I think so. Distance: 3.25 miles
6:45 p.m.: I hit the grocery store on my way home after the gym. I'm definitely stinky... but are my socks? I get home, walk up the four flights to my apartment, and take them off for the day to find out. 1356 Steps
Day One Sock Stink Factor: 1 out of 10
I am dripping but my socks are dry, and on first sniff, they remain odorless. I catch a hint of stinky feet on a second pass, but really, there's no notable odor to speak of.
Day 2: Tuesday, September 26, 2017
8:35 a.m.: I approach the socks. I feel pretty gross about it, but it's all mental — they look, feel and smell pretty much like clean socks. I put my boots on over them, and forget they exist.
8:49 a.m.: I set off on my commute to work. Its 71 degrees outside, but one million degrees in the 2nd Ave. Subway station. I make it to my desk at 9:37 after a quick stop in Whole Foods for some salt and pepper grinders — the office kitchen is always stocked with hard boiled eggs, but never with the salt and pepper necessary to consume them. But now I will never have that problem again. 2476 Steps
9:41 a.m.: I head to the kitchen to grab my eggs and coffee. During the rest of my day, I walk to two meetings, back to the kitchen three times for lunch and snacks, and to the bathroom a normal amount of times. 1012 Steps
6:01 p.m.: Time to pack it up and head out. I walk downtown to meet my husband on 38th street, and then we continue on our commute home from Herald Square. We get off the Subway a stop early and walk home from there — there are delays happening and it's not worth the wait. 3485 Steps
6:45 p.m.: I'm home, but the work day isn't over. We gather our laundry and head to the laundromat. The socks are with me — on my feet, not in the laundry bag. 934 Steps
7:26 p.m.: The loads are in. I head to the nearby market to grab some sushi to eat on the bench outside the laundromat. 530 Steps
8:40 p.m.: I'm home for the night, and the socks are off. Moment of truth. 1029 Steps
Day Two Sock Stink Factor: 3 out of 10
Things are definitely progressing on the stink scale. Do they smell as much as typical socks would after two days of rigorous wear? No. Do they smell more like feet than like nothing at all? Yes. Would it be an HR nightmare if I removed my shoes in the middle of my office with the socks in their current condition? Probably not.
Day 3: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
8:58 a.m.: This is really happening. I'm leaving my house for work, and I'm wearing the same pair of socks for the third day in a row. The saving grace? They seem to have regenerated themselves overnight — the slight stink observed at the end of day two seems to have dissipated. I'm not complaining. I stop for an iced coffee on my way to the Subway. 2155 Steps
9:37 a.m: I'm at my desk — my work day has officially begun. It's a light meeting day, which means plenty of room to dig into built up backlogues — and plenty of time to sit at my desk without stretching my legs. I brought lunch, and have no reason to leave the office until I'm done for the day. 976 Steps
6:20 p.m.: Although things were pretty fresh scented this morning, my confidence in this experiment is beginning to waver. I second guess every odd whiff in the office — but there is literally no way for me to give my feet a sniff at my desk without looking like a real weirdo. I'm relieved when it's time to head home, though I'm pretty sure my self conscious concerns are all mental. I pack up and meet Charlie downstairs — we head downtown together and stop at a hot new Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. 2794 Steps
7:50 p.m.: At dinner, and the pervading scent of fish sauce ensures that my feet are not the only pungent odor in the room. We finish the meal and walk home the few blocks to our apartment, where my duty for the day is done. Socks off. 1407 Steps
Day Three Sock Stink Factor: 2 out of 10
Call me crazy, but I swear these socks smell less like feet than they did 24 hours ago. The metals must really be killing bacteria? At this point, I don't care how it's working, as long as it is.
Day 4: Thursday, September 28th, 2017
8:42 a.m.: The socks are on. I set off on my commute and make a stop for my iced coffee. It's 74 degrees, but for the fourth day in a row, I'm wearing my black leather boots. My colleagues are probably beginning to think these are my only shoes. (I know that's not true, they've likely barely noticed.) I hate transition seasons. 2,200 Steps
12:26 p.m.: I have no meetings today, so I haven't gotten up much since I got to my desk at 9:20 a.m. I ran out of leftovers so I have to go out for lunch — my favorite healthy lunch spot is only a little ways down the block, but I have to cross Times Square to get there. Nightmare. I eat outside with a friend — we managed to snag a sunny table with no Elmos in sight. 1116 Steps
5:40 p.m.: I leave work to head to the gym, but make a pit stop at Crate and Barrel on Broadway and Houston to pick up an order I made online. I saved $6 by not having it shipped, but now I have to drag it to the gym and grocery store on my way home. Worth it? Questionable. 2808 steps
6:30 p.m.: Fox News is on at the gym again, but this time instead of getting me fired up, I'm just depressed. This is New York! Know your audience. I cut my run short at two miles, and hit the mat for some planks and arm work. Distance Run: 2.21 miles
7:20 p.m.: Home for the night, after a stop at the grocery store for my second sushi dinner this week. I peel the socks off my feet and they just do not smell. My curiosity gets the best of me so I give my foot a sniff. It definitely smells like a foot — I mean, I just walked around all day in boots and ran two miles, so I'll allow it — but the socks are more or less odorless. I'm impressed. 1,500 Steps
Day Four Sock Stink Factor: 1 out of 10
Day 5: Friday, September 29th, 2017
9:17 a.m.: There were moments when I really didn't think I'd get this far, but here we are, on the last day of my experiment. I leave for work with the socks on underneath my slip-on Vans. 2142 Steps; Temperature: 60 degrees
9:55 a.m.: I'm at my desk for the day, and even though summer Fridays in the office are officially over for the year, I'm still almost the only one here. Are people avoiding my presence because of some odor that I've become so accustomed to that I can no longer sense? Likely not, but I do think that things are starting to get a little sketchy down at the bottom of my lowest extremities. My day includes minimal movement, aside from a quick jaunt to grab lunch down the block. 1326 Steps
3:44 p.m.: I'm pretty sure that the combo of five-day-old socks and slip-on sneakers that I typically wear without socks is finally culminating in a ripe situation. Or maybe my socks know it's their last day on the job and they're knocking off early? Either way, I cannot wait to take these socks off for the final time.
I leave work early and run to Penn Station to head out to Long Island for the weekend — if my socks do smell at this point, this Long Island Rail Road train is certainly a safe space. 793 Steps
5:16 p.m.: I change trains at Babylon Station. We're in the home stretch. 172 Steps
5:39 p.m.: I've reached my destination and my socks are off. They stink, as do my feet and my shoes. 149 Steps
Day Five Sock Stink Factor: 6 out of 10
After five days, 32,991 steps and 5.46 treadmill miles of wear, the MP Magic Socks stink. But what sock wouldn't? These socks held up right until the very last day — they might have felt like a reused pair of socks by day three, but they stuck to their claim of odorlessness long into the test period.
Would I recommend these socks to a traveler? Yes. Travel often includes various situations in which shoes need to be removed; whether you're being scanned at an airport, getting comfortable on a long-haul flight, entering a religious house of worship or visiting a local friend in their home, custom and procedure allow plenty of opportunities for the embarrassment of foot odor to rear its ripe head. These socks can eliminate the need for concern when worn for a day of exploring, and can lighten up your suitcase when used for a longer period. Don't rely on one pair for five days, but if cutting your sock consumption in half during your vacation sounds like a dream, feel comfortable knowing that this model can easily handle 48 hours of wear — especially when they're allowed to rest their hardworking threads overnight.
(As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary product for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, TripSavvy believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.)