Natural materials, such as wool and cotton, have long been used for making socks. For warmth, a pair of thick woolen socks is the best choice in most environments. But for wicking sweat away from the foot, and allowing it to breathe, you can't really beat cotton socks.
Our feet take an awful lot of strain. They carry the weight of our bodies, cushioning the impact of every step we take. There are 26 bones, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons in each of our feet, all of which play a part in protecting the rest of our body from the stresses and strains of everyday movement. So it only makes sense that we should take care of them.
Feet sweat for a reason. The moisture keeps our skin soft and supple, so that our feet can move comfortably, and protects them from cracking and becoming sore. Your feet have more sweat glands per inch than any other area in your body, and each foot produces between a cup and a pint of sweat each day. Unfortunately, the by-product of sweat is that familiar, unpleasant smell. This is produced by bacteria that live on the skin. They feed on the sweat, and the smell is produced by the waste they excrete. Sadly, men's feet sweat even more than women's, often making the problem much worse for men (or rather men's socks, as it's usually the socks that carry the odor).
So, while we don't want to prevent our feet sweating we do, for social reasons, want to prevent the unpleasant smell that comes with the sweating. There are various ways that we can do this.
For a start, wear cotton socks. It's fine if they include other materials as well, such as lycra, to insure a good fit, but they should be made mainly of cotton (for cold weather socks, wool is a good alternative).
Also, make sure your shoes are not too tight. When possible, wear breathable fabrics, such as leather, canvas, or suede, and shoes rather than boots, sandals rather than shoes. This allows the sweat absorbed by the cotton socks to evaporate, again denying the bacteria their food. Both men's socks and shoes are often not carefully fitted, and this can cause soreness as well as odor.
Finally, wash your feet regularly, in tepid (not hot) water, using antibacterial soap, and change your socks at the very least once a day. Men's socks, and women's, should be washed and dried carefully, and never worn more than once. Cotton socks will dry quickly outside, and the fresh air helps give them a lovely fresh smell.
So there you have it – cleanliness, cotton socks (especially in men's socks), properly fitting shoes and you will have naturally happy feet. Bless their little cotton socks!