Monday, April 23, 2012

Stink! Stank! Stunk!

"The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: Stink! Stank! Stunk!"
~ Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel

I love my Vibram Fivefingers. All flavours. From my Sprints to my Bikilas to my KSOs to my Komodo Sports.

I love them all.

For the past five years my shoe of choice has been Fivefingers. And with few exceptions, I wear them everywhere. They feel better on my feet. They let me move my toes and flex my feet. Yes, I own other shoes. And Fivefingers are not practical for every situation. But I adore them.


Well, there is a darkside.

A rather horrible one.

Fivefingers stink. A lot.

And it is not just a sweaty-feet-in-shoes-all-day smell. It is rank. It is concentrated ick.

Not everyone has this issue. But enough people do that I know it is not just my feet.

And the lengths to which people go, the creativity which is applied to this problem is interesting. Because the stink goes beyond just washing them. You can't just thrown them in the washing machine and tada! they are odorless. No. 

As I said, this is super stink.

I know one guy who washes them. Then soaks them in OxiClean for a couple of hours. Then sets them to dry in front of a fan.

After much trial and error with various products, I settled in to a pretty simple routine of washing my Fivefingers - by hand so I could do some scrubbing - with Scent-A-Way and then treating them with McNett MiraZyme Enzyme - an enzyme-based de-stinker for wet suits. It works pretty well.

And then someone brought Nikwax Sandal Wash to my attention. 

Although not made for Fivefingers, it is technology geared toward a similar problem: stinky sandals. I have owned one pair of Tevas in my life. The stink was similar. (I have no idea why.)

I have been using Sandal Wash for about six month now. And I have to say I am impressed. 

My two-step process has been reduced to one; I only have to wash my Fivefingers with Sandal Wash. And it does really get rid of the stink.

The tech behind the de-stinking is great and works without leaving a heavy perfume-y smell behind. 

I do take issue with the application bottle. But this is mainly due to the fact that it is designed for use on sandals and Fivefingers are not sandals. The bottle has a tip with a sponge applicator on it, meant to distribute and then scrub the Sandal Wash into the sandals. Because Fivefingers are shoes not sandals this is problematic. You cannot get into the toe area of the Fiverfingers with the bottle. And to get the Sandal Wash out you have to press down, applying pressure on a little valve on the tip. You cannot just pour the solution out. Within two weeks I had completely destroyed the sponge applicator and it just fell off. Now I just up-end the bottle and put enough pressure on the little valve to get some of the Sandal Wash to pour out. I use an old toothbrush to get the Wash down into the toes. Scrub-a-dub. Rinse. And let dry.

If you have Fivefingers - or sandals - and are plagued by the dreaded VFF stink, I recommend giving Nixwax Sandal Wash a try.

If you want to check out this solution for yourself or if you have any questions about Nikwax Sandal Wash, give @ProfessorNikwax a shout or check out Nikwax to find a dealer near you.

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