Smelly feet are an age-old problem in an era where feet are constantly in socks and shoes. Surprisingly, not very many people know why stink happens and how to stop it.

Making the Stink

The feet are not what cause the odor of feet. Sweat glands are very abundant in the feet, and these little tubes are where the problem begins. When feet are housed in shoes and socks all day, the sweat cannot evaporate and remains on the foot for a long time. As the bacteria begin to eat away at the sweat, a byproduct of the meal is an acid. This acid is what causes smelly feet on a typical day.

Of course, there are other factors that can contribute to the stench. Athlete’s Foot, a fungal skin infection, can lead to smelly feet. Some medications may also contribute to stinky feet. Below average hygiene and certain environmental factors add to the bad smell often associated with feet. The quality of shoes worn and the duration shoes are worn will also contribute to how stinky a foot may become.

Preventing the Stink

One of the easiest ways to prevent stinky feet is by reducing how much sweat remains in shoes. One way to accomplish this is by reducing the amount of time shoes are worn overall. Wearing shoes with more breathable materials will allow sweat to more easily evaporate, thus depriving the bacteria of their daily meal. Socks should also be made of a material that allows proper ventilation. There are some products that can be placed inside shoes to block odor and prevent bacteria accumulation.

When going out in public, dress for the occasion but in a smart way. Do not wear socks that are too thick. If the event will be in a hot environment, consider not wearing heavy clothes or try to reduce time spent in the heat. Feet should be washed daily to promote good hygiene and a reduction of foul odor. If there is a history of smelly feet, use an antibacterial soap. At home, let feet be free from the confines of shoes and socks.

Curing the Stink

While there is no medicine that cures stinky feet, there are still treatments that will “cure” stinky feet. Deodorants work on feet the same way they do in armpits: they block odor! Antiperspirants also work on feet. While antiperspirants do not block odor, they can prevent it. Antiperspirants work by using an aluminum salt that forms a plug in sweat glands and give the best results by being applied before bed. Sometimes, deodorants and antiperspirants come together.

There are other treatments that could be helpful. Vinegar baths, salt baths, and tea baths can greatly reduce foot stink. A bath should last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes for maximum effectiveness. Certain powders like talc or baking soda can help by absorbing excess sweat too! Just a slight change in habit can create a profound change in foot odor.

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