Think about the last time that you went shoe shopping. Did you find a pair that you liked, take your shoes off, and then slip on the new pair to see how they fit? Of course you did because that is what everyone does to make sure they are comfortable. However how many times have you worn socks or the free pantyhose socks that they provide at the store? Those socks are there for a reason and you really should wear them every time that you put your foot into a pair of shoes on the sales floor.
The fungus that causes athlete’s foot can linger in shoes after someone tries them on. The virus that causes plantar warts can also stick around for quite a while. Think about how many people have stuck their feet into that pair of shoes that you are trying on. Now think about how likely it is that at least a few probably have warts or athlete’s foot. You need protection on your feet when you are trying on shoes just as much as you would if you were walking around the showers at the gym.
The human papillomavirus is what causes plantar warts. This one is hard to transmit through normal contact but if you have any cuts on your skin the virus can easily be picked up. The virus loves being in moist environments which makes your feet a hotbed. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot is much easier to catch and causes dry, itchy, and scaly feet.
Fortunately the chance of catching either of these infections is a lot lower than you think when trying on shoes as the shoes are not constantly warm and moist, but they can still lurk. People who are more susceptible to infections such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems should take a little extra care.