“I’ve got your shoes,” my friend’s said in an email.
“Great!” I replied. “ Send them down as soon as you can. I need the freezer space.”
I’m a big believer in good shoes, and for me Keens are the perfect travel shoe. And now that I have the luxury of living in a place where it’s always sandal weather, they’re the perfect shoe for everything.
I expect a lot from them, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when my Keens turned on me. It was sudden but undeniable. I would put them on and within half an hour the stench was dizzying. I washed them constantly, but still, after only a short while, the odor arose. So even though it’s against my nature to replace something that isn’t beyond worn out, I decided it was time for new ones.
The city of Leon, Mexico is about an hour away from me and is a Mecca for shoes. There are entire malls (big ones, with shuttle buses to take you from shop to shop) of nothing but shoe stores. I’m not much of a shopper, but I went to check it out. Didn’t seen any Keens.
So when a friend was coming down from the US, I asked her to bring me pair. “Black, Venice, size eight and half,” I said. Easy enough.
I was thrilled when my friend (and my new shoes) arrived. I slipped a metatarsal pad (necessary for the metatarsalgia I suffer) into the left shoe and headed out. They felt a little stiff, as a new shoe does, but other than that fine. At least the left one felt fine.
The toes of my right foot felt like they were hitting the front of the shoe. Maybe my foot is sliding forward, I thought, and put a metatarsal pad in that side too. It made it worse. After two days, my right foot was sore in several places. Back at the house, I removed my new shoes and took a closer look.
Was I hallucinating?
It appeared that the right show was smaller than left. I got out the tape measure. Sure enough, one shoe was a full centimeter shorter than the other. (In spite of the fact that they both had “Size 8.5” printed clearly on them.)
So my new shoes, went back up to Gringolandia to be returned. And I went to the internet for stink management strategies.
Dealing with Funky Keens
Foot stink is caused by bacteria. Various websites offer the following suggestions:
- Wash your Keens in the wash machine
- Sun dry for several hours
- Sprinkle with baking soda
- Put them in the freezer for several hours
Of course, when you’re traveling, you probably don’t have access to a wash machine or a freezer, probably don’t carry baking soda and are probably wearing your shoes when the sun is shining. When I’m the road, I deal with podiatric pungency by washing my shoes frequently and rubbing hand-sanitizing gel into the soles.