Have you had athlete’s foot before? If you’ve already experienced the foot fungus you know how uncomfortable and embarrassing it can be. Once you get rid of athlete’s foot, it is important that you take proper precautions to prevent reinfection in the future. Keeping your shoes clean and fungus free is a key part of foot care and preventing the fungal infection from coming back.

Washing your shoes regularly and learning how to disinfect shoes from athlete's foot after experiencing an infection are some of the best things you can do to prevent athlete’s foot from coming back.

how long can athlete's foot live in shoes?

Your shoes provide the perfect environment for the athlete’s foot fungus to reproduce and thrive. Hot and humid conditions caused by sweaty feet encourage the fungi to develop even after you remove your footwear.

If left unwashed for long periods of time, the athlete's foot fungus can live long enough in your shoes to cause reinfection — particularly if you wear the same pair of shoes every day. Sneakers used for intense workouts are the worst offenders, since your feet sweat more during exercise and the absorbent fabric used to make these shoes have no problem soaking it all up.

To prevent athlete’s foot from coming back, you will need to wash and disinfect your shoes thoroughly after you’ve experienced an infection.

green shoes being washed by hand to prevent athletes foot

How to wash shoes

Washing your shoes regularly is the best way to ensure you kill fungi and bacteria while keeping smelly odors under control. Most shoes can be put straight in the washing machine, and then hung out to dry. That said, shoes should never be put in a tumble dryer, as the soles of the shoes can cause damage to the machine.

You can try using a laundry disinfectant to make sure that your shoes are as clean as possible, though detergent and water should work just fine.

Keep in mind that shoes should be completely dry before wearing them again. If you are not sure if they are dry all the way through, it is best to wait another day or two to ensure that there is no moisture left in the shoes.

This is why, when it comes to shoes you wear regularly, like sneakers, it’s a good idea to own several pairs so you can wear one while the other is being washed and dried.

Shoes and your foot care routine

A proper foot care routine is essential to preventing athlete's foot. Here are some specific shoe-related tips to take into account to prevent the foot fungus from taking hold:

Change Your Shoes Regularly

Wearing the same pair of shoes every day increases the chance of acquiring an athlete’s foot infection. Changing your shoes regularly, particularly after a heavy workout or any other time your feet have sweat a lot, helps to ensure that your shoes are dry before each use.

Try wearing shoes made from natural breathable materials like leather or canvas, as opposed to synthetic materials, to prevent sweat from accumulating in your shoes.

man changing into a fresh pair of cotton socks to prevent athletes foot

Choose Socks Made From Natural Fabrics

When you’re thinking about socks for athlete’s foot, it’s best to stick with socks made from natural fibers, like cotton. These fibers wick moisture away from your feet and dry fast, so that your feet are not stuck in wet socks all day.

As part of keeping good foot care habits, you should change your socks at least once a day. If you’re doing vigorous exercise, change into a fresh pair of socks immediately after you finish.

For more tips on preventing athlete’s foot when exercising, read our blog 8 Tips to Prevent Athlete’s Foot When Playing Sports or Exercising.

Using Foot Powder to Prevent Athlete’s Foot

An antifungal foot powder, like Silka Ⓡ Powder Miconazole can be a really effective way of killing athlete's foot fungus on your toes. Its active ingredient, miconazole, weakens the fungi’s cell membranes so it can’t reproduce.

Non-medicated foot powder like Silka Ⓡ Odor Defense Powder is also a great way to calm sweaty feet, and ensure that shoes stay dry to begin with. For more tips on how to keep your sweaty feet under control read our blog post, How to Get Rid of Sweaty Feet.

Incorporating foot powder into your routine is a great way to strengthen your foot hygiene routine and keep your feet dry and cool. Though that said, applying foot powder can be a messy pursuit that would rather be avoided by most. Thankfully, products such as Silka Ⓡ Liquid Powder can give you the power of foot powder in an easy to apply cream.

For more athlete's foot prevention tips, take a look at our post on the topic.

Take care!