There’s nothing more uncomfortable and intolerable than sweaty feet. Once your feet start sweating, it’s a downward spiral towards bad foot odors, infections, and diseases.
The bad news is, sweaty feet are unavoidable; it’s a natural and necessary bodily process for all human beings.
One possible solution is using anti odor shoes. But in most cases, that’s simply not enough.
So, if you’re looking for foolproof and medically validated ways to deal with sweaty feet, keep on reading!
What Causes Sweaty Feet?
Before we get into it, let’s talk about a little biology first. Bear with us; if you want to find an effective treatment for persistent foot odor, it’s important to understand the underlying reason for it.
The medical term for stinky feet is “Bromodosis.” The truth is that no one is immune to bromodosis. Whether you’re a full-time athlete that trains in the relentless sun or you have a desk job in an air-conditioned office, your feet are always prone to some funky odors.
And there’s one small, microscopic reason for it: bacteria.
But let’s back up a little first.
Why Do Your Feet Sweat?
Most people will correlate foot odor with foot sweat. And technically, they’re not wrong.
On average, there are 250,000 sweat glands on your feet. This is the highest concentration of sweat glands compared to any other part of your body.
How much you sweat actually depends on the number of active sweat glands in your feet, which in turn depends on things like hormones, genetics, gender. Of course, this will vary from person to person.
Sweating is your body’s natural mechanism to regulate temperature and expel metabolic waste. Sweat is mostly water mixed with traces of your body’s metabolic waste such as minerals, lactic acid, and urea.
But here’s the thing: sweat, by itself, doesn’t naturally smell.
But what it does is create the ideal breeding ground for a type of bacteria called brevibacterium.
Bacteria Metabolizes the Sweat and Releases Bad Odor
Brevibacterium is a type of bacteria that thrives in moist, saline, sealed environments. Have you connected the dots yet?
Your foot sweat attracts the brevibacterium, which metabolizes the sweat. The smell is the result of this metabolic process. So, the real culprit here is the bacteria, not your sweat.
If you think that you might be sweating more profusely than normal, you might have some underlying medical condition. Here is a list of possible medical reasons for excessive sweating:
- Generalized Hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis refers to unusually excessive sweating, usually on your hands, feet, underarms, and face. Generalized hyperhidrosis is usually hereditary or genetic, and there’s no non-surgical treatment for it.
- Secondary Hyperhidrosis. This refers to excessive sweating that is symptomatic of another medical disease such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, certain types of cancer, low blood sugar, and nervous system disorders.
- Nerve Damage. Your sweat glands and sympathetic nerves work together to regulate sweating. Severe damage or trauma to these nerves can cause you to sweat excessively.
- Depression and anxiety. Studies have found a direct link between mental disorders and excessive sweating. Additionally, prescription medications such as antidepressants are also linked to hyperhidrosis.
Now that you know why your feet sweat and smell, you can start addressing the problem.
10 Ways to Deal With Sweaty Feet and Foot Odor
Let’s get to the good part: how do you actually get rid of smelly feet? In this section, we’ll talk about both prevention and treatments.
Switch to Breathable Anti Odor Shoes
We saw how bacteria thrive in damp and saline conditions. So, the logical solution here is to ensure that your feet remain dry.
However, there’s no way to completely prevent your feet from sweating; it’s a natural process by which your body regulates temperature and expels metabolic waste.
Instead, you can make sure that your shoes remain well-ventilated throughout the day. That’s exactly why we’re huge advocates of breathable, anti odor shoes.
Simply put, breathable shoes refer to shoes that use breathable fabrics such as mesh or woven fabric. These fabrics are porous to allow air to flow in and out of your shoes.
This airflow wicks out moisture from your skin so that it remains cool and dry. This will discourage any bacteria from flourishing on your skin, thereby preventing that unappealing smell.
Additionally, breathable shoes have positive effects on your health as well; not only do they prevent bad foot odor, but they also reduce the chances for fungal infections such as Athlete’s foot.
With so many benefits associated with them, we recommend that you invest in at least one pair of breathable anti odor shoes like Senja’s waterproof hiking sneakers. In addition to being breathable, these shoes are also flexible, durable, and waterproof.
Socks Matter Just as Much as Shoes
Wearing anti odor shoes isn’t a fix-all for sweaty feet. Instead, your socks need to be breathable as well.
Functionality-wise, socks are made to absorb your sweat so that it doesn’t settle in your shoes. But if you think about it, all that sweat and bacteria are still trapped near your skin. And where there are bacteria, there are bad smells.
So, even if you’re wearing breathable shoes, your socks will still retain a substantial amount of moisture. Additionally, they act as a barrier against the air, so the air isn’t even reaching your skin in the first place.
That’s why it’s so important to wear the right types of socks. As a rule of thumb, wool and cotton socks are a safe option since they are naturally breathable.
Stay away from nylon socks, though; the material is such that it absorbs a lot of moisture and retains it instead of expelling it.
Moreover, start getting in the habit of carrying extra socks with you when you’re out and about. Sometimes, your socks become so saturated with sweat that the only viable option is to change out of them.
Change the Insoles
Insoles refer to the inside soles of your shoes. It’s usually a thin strip of fabric that lines the inside of your shoe and comes into direct contact with the soles of your feet. Generally, it’s the insoles that become the most dirt and sweat-ridden.
But what many people don’t know is that you can actually remove and replace the insoles.
That’s right; specialized antibacterial or anti odor shoe insoles can replace your worn-out ones.
If you don’t want to replace the insoles, then you can also just remove and wash them separately. This way, you can address the problem without having to wash your entire shoe.
Use Antiperspirant on Your Feet
There’s a lot of debate surrounding the efficacy of using antiperspirants on your skin. Some people argue that because it blocks your sweat glands, your body can’t expel toxins.
However, medical professionals maintain that your body has many alternate ways to release its metabolic waste. Therefore, antiperspirants aren’t as harmful as people say.
With that out of the way, you should feel at ease using antiperspirant on your feet. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests doing the following:
- Before going to bed, wash and dry your feet completely.
- On dry feet, apply a generous amount of antiperspirant.
- Thoroughly wash off the antiperspirant the following morning.
- Repeat this routine for four consecutive nights.
- After the first four nights, you can span it out to once a week.
Use Antifungal Powder to Keep Your Feet Dry
Antifungal powder is a great way to keep your feet dry while simultaneously fighting off any fungal infections.
If you don’t have antifungal powder, regular talcum powder will also do the trick.
Be warned, though: some people will suggest using baby powder or cornstarch on your feet, which is terrible advice. These powders don’t have any disinfecting properties, and they tend to form clumps when wet.
Alternate Between Shoes Everyday
Everyone has that one pair of shoes that they really love. They’re the perfect fit, they’re comfortable, and they go with everything.
However, if you keep wearing the same shoes every day, then your shoes don’t have enough time to dry out.
As long as the shoes are moist, there’s still a lot of bacteria thriving in them. When you wear them again, the bacteria will metabolize and release that terrible odor even quicker.
That’s why it’s important to alternate between shoes every day.
Foot Care Routine
When it comes to health and hygiene, prevention is always better than cure. That’s why it’s important to adopt an extensive daily foot care routine.
While you should ideally have a foot care routine personalized to your needs, there are some general things you should be doing every day. This includes washing and moisturizing your feet every day.
When you’re washing your feet, spend more time scrubbing in between your toes since it is a hotspot for bacterial activity.
Additionally, there are some things you can incorporate into your foot care routine:
- Foot Bath. Take out one day every week to soak your feet and give them a thorough cleansing. You can either buy foot scrubs or simply DIY it.
- Exfoliate. Exfoliation is a great way to get rid of dead skin cells, especially around your toes and heels. This hard skin becomes soggy very easily and attracts bacteria. However, don’t exfoliate more than once a week.
- Moisturize. Soft skin doesn’t retain as much moisture as hard skin. Moisturizing your feet is a great way to ensure that the skin on your soles doesn’t harden.
Remember: at the end of the day, no amount of anti odor shoes can fix foot odor if you’re not taking proper care of your hygiene.
Wash Your Shoes
You might be doing everything right, yet the smell is relentless. In this case, the problem might not be your feet but rather your shoes.
Think about it: how often do you wash your shoes? If the answer is anything less than once every two weeks, then there’s a problem.
Don’t worry; we get it. Washing your shoes is a lot of effort. However, it’s all that hard work that will keep your feet smelling minty fresh. Check out this guide to learn how to wash your shoes safely and easily.
As we said, you should ideally be washing your shoes at least once every two weeks. Of course, this number could be more or less depending upon your activity level and lifestyle.
By washing your shoes, you’ll be getting rid of all that residual sweat, dirt, and bacteria that might have accumulated over time.
Another useful practice is to leave your shoes out in the sun when you’re not wearing them. The single-celled bacteria are sensitive to high temperatures, and the heat from sunlight is enough to kill them.
Even if there’s no sun, constant exposure to air will be enough to wick out all that moisture. As long as you don’t leave your shoes in a closed space like your closet, you should be fine.
If none of this seems to work, then it might be time to throw out your shoes. Over time, your shoes lose their structural integrity and become less breathable. This is a great opportunity to buy new anti odor shoes online.
Sanitize the Insides of Your Shoes
In the wake of the pandemic, sanitation has become common practice. So, we don’t need to explain to you how certain chemicals can kill bacteria and other pathogens.
Try using specialized antibacterial, disinfectant, and anti odor shoe sprays to kill off bacteria. All you have to do is spray the inside of your shoes after each wear.
Then, just leave them out in the open so the aerosols can dissipate.
Visit the Doctor
If you suspect that there might be some medical reason for your foot odor, then you might require some medical treatment. These could be anything from hormone therapy to cosmetic procedures.
Instead of self-medicating, schedule a doctor’s appointment so that you can receive an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor will most likely recommend a blood and urine test to determine the underlying medical disease behind your hyperhidrosis.
Some medical treatments for bromodosis and hyperhidrosis include:
- Prescription antiperspirant. These are stronger than regular deodorants.
- Nerve-blocking oral medications. As we discussed, your sympathetic nerves are responsible for regulating perspiration. Certain medications can alter these nerves and help produce less sweat.
- Sympathectomy. You can opt to surgically modify your sympathetic nerves, so you don’t produce as much sweat all over your body.
- Sweat gland removal. If your hyperhidrosis is limited to your feet, then you might not want to opt for a more targeted surgery instead of changing your entire nervous system. By removing some of the sweat glands on your feet, you’ll ensure that your feet don’t sweat as much.
You can also discuss other possible treatments with your doctor.
Sweaty feet are a huge nuisance. Beyond just causing discomfort, they also lead to bad odors, infections, itching, blisters, and diseases such as Athlete’s foot.
So, it’s super important to stay on top of your foot hygiene. As you saw, the most important thing to do is to invest in anti odor shoes and breathable socks. Additionally, you might also want to change up your habits, such as washing your shoes and feet more often or carrying extra pairs of socks.
Whether you’re looking to treat persistent odors or you just want to start taking better care of your feet, we hope this post helps you get off on the right foot.