As a country that has a tropical climate with humid and hot weather conditions throughout the year, there is an increased sweat that humans produce. One of the parts of the body which produces sweat is the foot, because it is usually often covered with socks and shoes.
Wearing socks frequently that are rarely changed will cause foot odor problems. Sweat retained on the foot will produce moisture or grow bacteria that can cause odor. Therefore, choosing the right socks can be a solution to foot odor problems.
According to this problem, one of the Hasanuddin University Student Creativity Program (PKM) group, has innovated socks called Aromatherapy Socks (KAKARO) through the utilization of Aroma Theobroma Cacao L.
Head of the PKM Group, Muhammad Rifai conveyed his innovation idea in socks had existed since 2021 and had been included in the Engineering Student Scientific Week (PIMTEK). From the competition, they won 1st place and intend to submit in PKM 2022 again.
Based on a survey conducted for 100 students, 53% of students have foot odor problems. This indicates that the foot odor is a major problem, especially in town of Makassar.
Furthermore, internet research from the PKM group has found that the production level of socks is still a primary need for society. Therefore, they tried to take advantage of the opportunity through the innovation of unique socks, with the aim of overcoming foot odor.
Salah satu anggota, Astri Anggraini menambahkan bahwa yang menjadi pembeda inovasi kaos kaki saat PIMTEK dan PKM adalah dari segi varian aroma dan teknologi yang digunakan untuk mempertahankan aromanya.
One of the team members, Astri Anggraini also said the difference of socks innovation in PIMTEK and PKM is in terms of aroma variants and the technology used to maintain the aroma.
“What we looked at is the level of creativity and uniqueness of a product, that’s why we chose cocoa-scented socks because if we observe the aroma of cocoa, it has not made up to this time. Then we also presented microcapsules which function to maintain the aroma itself. That’s the main difference from our previous idea,” she said.
Microcapsule technology is a method that aims to protect the core material so that it remains safe and not contaminated with environmental influences. Likewise in the production of these socks, the cocoa aroma that has been mixed with a microcapsule solution will be able to retain the aroma when it has been dipped with the socks.
Before the product is marketed, a quality control test is first carried out with 30 respondents to find out how long the cocoa aroma lasts. “When we conducted a quality control test, it was found that these aromatherapy socks could last up to seven washes, but for permanent problems, when the aroma disappears, it will disappear for one month with regular use,” she added.
In addition to using the distinctive aroma of cocoa and microcapsule technology, this aromatherapy sock product also utilizes tea powder which contains catechin compounds which are able to prevent the growth of bacteria on the feet.
“So, on the base, we sewed it in the form of an insole, filled with tea grounds, then on the sock (inside) we added stitches like a bag that serves to insert the insole containing tea grounds,” continued Astri.
By cooperating with a sock supplier in Makassar, the PKM group consisting of five members was able to produce 60 pairs of socks in the first production and 80 pairs in the second production. As for the sales results from the first production, 53 products have been sold with consumers who have touched outside the island of Sulawesi, namely the islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Java.
Behind that, there are several obstacles encountered, including time management because it coincides with Community Service Program (KKN) activities and the quality control process which takes quite some time.
“That’s also one of the ways this aroma can last, how many times do we have to use the dosage. How many microcapsules did we use, how much for the cocoa extract was a long time for us because we had to repeat it several times. Then when drying, sometimes we cannot predict the weather,” said Astri, the agrotechnology student.
At the end of the interview, Astri as hopes that consumer input, such as adding aroma variants, can be realized, as well as the marketing of aromatherapy socks to reach consumers overseas.
“If we look at the level of use of socks between Indonesia and abroad, for example Japan, the use of socks is higher. We hope that in the future we can maximize the KAKARO so that it can be sold abroad,” she concluded.
Original writer: Miftahul Janna
Translator: Nabila Rifqah Awaluddin & Muhammad Alif M.