How To Keep Your FiveFingers From Smelling Like A Gangrenous Skunk
As I have said before, I highly recommend FiveFingers as a hiking option on the Camino. But leaving it at that is like recommending a dog as a good fetching/cuddling option – it completely ignores the high level of required maintenance behind said fetching/cuddling technology.
And while both Fidos and FiveFingers are well worth the investment, I owe it to my readers to divulge the stinky truth: halfway through the pilgrimage my girlfriend could hardly walk behind me without gagging at the smell produced by my FiveFingers.
On the Camino I had only running water and my peppermint Dr. Bronner’s soap to work with. While Dr. Bronner’s is impressively versatile and a perfect solution for pilgrims, it lacks the industrial strength needed to tame the near-visible stink lines emanating from my shoes. Instead of relief, I got peppermint-scented foot odor.
Had I found the FiveFingers’ weakness? Was there any way stop my shoes from smelling like a skunk with gangrene had died in them?
The research began when I returned home. As I expected, the smell immediately improved once I stopped wearing my FiveFingers ALL DAY EVERY DAY FOR A MONTH. But this wasn’t enough; the smell had been downgraded to a non-gangrenous, dying skunk, but that left them still smelling like a dying skunk.
Running them through the wash made the smell somewhat more tolerable still, but had the unwanted side effect of making the rest of the clothes in the washing machine smell like they were in the vicinity of a slightly under-the-weather skunk.
I was on the verge of giving up hope. I guessed I’d have to deal with my FiveFingers being the most fun, natural, stanktacular footwear I’d ever owned.
Then, on a day not unlike any other, @VibramFiveFingers tweeted something so crazy I thought it just might work:
For those of you unfamiliar with Efferdent, it’s a denture cleansing tablet: you put your dentures in a glass of water, throw an Efferdent tablet in there and plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is (that I still have teeth and only need Efferdent for my shoes)!
I bought the Efferdent at Walmart (I figured they’re used to unusual purchases), returned home and filled the kitchen sink with water. After dunking the FiveFingers I dropped in four tablets and watched as the water turned a bubbly blue soda pop.
After fifteen minutes of soaking I removed the shoes and gave them a smell from 10 inches away. Nothing! I moved my nose closer. Still nothing! Finally I went in for a real close-encounter sniff. Skunk!
Still, I was impressed. This was a skunk that minded its manners, and the smell was something I (and my girlfriend) could live with.
And that, my friends, is how I became a regular customer of Efferdent denture cleansing tablets.
For a more thorough and detailed look at eliminating the funk from your VFFs, check out The Definitive Guide to Cleaning Vibram Five Fingers.