THE FACTS ON FOOT ODOR & SWEAT:

WHAT IS FOOT ODOR & SWEAT?

image of bottom of foot taking a step

Smelly and sweaty feet can be an embarrassing problem, but if you suffer from them you’re not alone. They are common problems affecting adults and children on a daily basis. It’s not unexpected that you may occasionally suffer from sweaty feet. Your feet have over 250,000 densely-packed sweat glands, and bacteria – when aided by the presence of moisture from sweat- are the primary source of stinky feet.

When you have sweaty feet, the excess foot perspiration soaks the lining of your shoes and socks. This creates an environment for bacteria to feed off the dead skin cells from your feet and grow, which causes a bad odor. These bacteria can also spread and thrive inside your shoes, leading to shoe odor.

WHAT CAUSES SMELLY FEET?

Sweaty feet, and the bacteria that feed on it, are the biggest cause of foot odor.

People who wear poorly ventilated shoes, synthetic or non-leather boots, or non-wicking socks made of polyester or nylon may be more likely to have persistent foot odor.

Some people have a genetic predisposition to sweating (also called hyperhidrosis). This means you produce a high level of sweating which may contribute to you experiencing smelly feet year-round and not just in the hot summer months.

image of woman outside putting on sweat absorbing socks

HOW TO PREVENT SMELLY FEET?

The easiest way to prevent sweaty and smelly feet is through some simple lifestyle changes:

  • Keep your feet clean and dry: Wash your feet every day with soap and water, and dry thoroughly between your toes.
  • Wear shoes made of natural materials: Leather and other natural fabrics “breathe” better than synthetics.
  • Wear socks made of wool, acrylic, or polypropylene: These fabrics help wick moisture away from your skin.
  • Rotate your shoes: Change them daily to give each pair a chance to dry out before you wear them again.
  • Change your socks often: Changing them daily, or even more, helps keep your skin dry.
  • Change your insoles regularly: If they become moist, bacteria and fungus can thrive in them.
  • Air out your feet: Go barefoot when you can.

HOW TO GET RID OF FOOT ODOR?

Treatments and home remedies for smelly feet include:

You should see a doctor about foot odor and wetness if:

  • It disrupts your daily activities.
  • You suddenly begin sweating more than usual.

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