If you have sweaty feet, you just can’t win: in the summer your feet swelter in hot shoes, and in the winter you’re forced into thick warm socks that make your feet sweat. Stinky feet are a common problem – our feet have over 250,000 sweat glands and easily pick up bacteria that creates a distinctive smell when our feet sweat. This is an especially frustrating and embarrassing problem if you struggle with hyperhidrosis and your feet sweat excessively.
In this post, we discuss what causes stinky feet, the materials you should look for when buying socks for smelly feet, and the best socks for sweaty feet. Read on for answers to all your questions and suggestions for the best socks to add to your wardrobe.
Foot odor is a medical issue called bromodosis. It is a form of body odor that occurs when the sweat of your feet mixes with bacteria. When your feet sweat, bacteria react by feeding on foot skin. That process is what creates the “sour” or “cheesy” foot smell.
With more than 250,000 sweat glands on each foot, everyone has sweaty feet. In fact, it is the area of the body with the most sweat glands. If you suffer from excessive foot sweat, you most likely produce more than the average pint of sweat a day. Oftentimes excessive sweating is attributed to a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. Yet excessive sweating may also be caused by medications or hormonal changes.
Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot can cause foot odor. When treating fungal infections, avoid applying lotion between your toes. Moisture keeps the fungus growing and lotion between the toes locks in moisture. Instead, apply lotion to your soles and powders between your toes. This prevents a fungal foot infection from getting worse.
The best socks for smelly feet are clean, dry socks. Foot odor can be worse in the winter if you live in a cold climate where heavy socks are a must to keep warm. Many heavy winter socks do not breathe well, causing feet to produce more sweat.
Damp socks from snow and slush can also contribute to smelly feet. Because moisture contributes to sweat-related odor, remove wet socks as soon as possible. Keep a pair of clean socks handy, so you can change into dry ones even if you aren’t at home.
Stress can cause feet to sweat. Stress-related sweat stinks because it is produced by different glands. These glands do not produce the clear, watery sweat that sweat glands produce... so stress sweat reeks regardless of the bacteria on your skin. If you are stressed out and have foot odor, wash your feet and change your socks.
Sweaty feet make for stinky feet. One surefire way to keep foot odor at bay is to wear proper sweat-absorbing socks. Ejis makes an excellent sock (buy in our shop or on Amazon) designed to fight foot sweat and odor. Socks that help reduce sweat are socks that help you avoid smelly feet!
Look for these features when searching for moisture-wicking and anti-odor socks:
Along with the moisture-wicking and breathable features, look for socks that are also designed for comfort. Cushioned footbeds, seamless construction and non-slip cuffs reduce friction and irritation.
Here are five of the best socks for sweaty feet. These socks help reduce and manage foot sweat, and are thus the top choices for smelly feet.
The Double Duty Crew Length Work Sock from Wigwam makes our list of the best socks for stinky feet because it has several good things going for it. First, the socks are made of a blend of materials that help reduce foot sweat – and thus foot smell! The socks are also infused with an antimicrobial treatment that helps reduce bacteria on your feet, also reducing foot stinkiness. You can get a two-pack of Wigwam Double Duty socks on Amazon.
Looking for an ultralight liner sock? Bridgedale has what you’re looking for! Bridgedale Ultralight Coolmax Liner Socks are made primarily of Coolmax, a proprietary microfiber that helps keep your feet dry and cool all day without making the socks bulky or thick. This Coolmax material is what makes them among the best moisture-wicking socks you can find. They’re ideal for warm weather days when you need socks to help cut down stinky feet but can’t afford the sweat and smelliness that goes with them. You can find Bridgedale Ultralight Coolmax Liner socks in a two-pack on Amazon.
Did you know that bamboo is a great natural fiber to help reduce foot sweat and smell? Bamboo is a thin, soft material for socks but also has natural antibacterial qualities. Serisimple sells a breathable low quarter sock that’s 80% bamboo fiber, able to last the whole workday, and one of the top socks for sweaty feet. You can get a five-pack of Serisimple Bamboo Breathable Low Quarter Socks on Amazon.
If you love shoes that show some ankle but also struggle with foot sweat and stinky feet, you know first hand the pain of trying to find socks. Luckily SIXDAYSOX offers a good option: their No Show Odor-Resistant Non-Slip Socks are good for an active day – or just one when you want to show a little ankle. That’s part of what makes these socks from SIXDAYSOX among the best athletic socks for sweaty feet. They’re designed to be odor-resistant and cool, and you can get an eight-pack on Amazon.
Socks infused with silver anti-odor technology stops odor-causing bacteria.
We obviously think that our socks are among the best socks for smelly feet, too! Our Dress Socks (buy in our shop or on Amazon) have odor-fighting silver woven right into every sock – and it won’t wash out like other anti-odor sock treatments. Our socks are also designed to help remove sweat from your feet so that you stay dry and cool; we think that’s what makes them the best dress socks for sweaty feet! Buy a pair in black, blue, grey, or all three, for just $14.99 per pair in the Ejis store.
With the right socks, you can confidently step out of your shoes in any situation... knowing your feet are cool and dry; and your shoes are fresh and odor-free.
This article was originally published in March 2019, and was updated in December 2019.
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