What Causes Sweaty Feet? 9 Ways to Treat Smelly Feet

December 31, 2019 4 min read

sweaty feet causes

Sweaty feet are a natural occurrence for most of us at one point or another. The sweat produced by our feet helps to keep them cool and the skin moist. However, because each foot has over 250,000 sweat glands, foot sweat can be troublesome for someone who suffers from hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating.

When sweat is excessive with no chance of evaporation, it causes smelly feet, also known as bromodosis. If foot odor becomes a regular occurrence, it can be embarrassing and anxiety-inducing when thinking about taking off your shoes.

However, just because you have sweaty feet doesn’t mean you’re stuck with smelly feet. Keep reading to learn what causes sweaty feet and tap into nine easy ways to treat smelly feet.

What Causes Sweaty Feet?

Occasional sweaty feet can be caused by a number of things, including physical exertion, higher temperatures, shoes that are too tight or shoes that don’t “breathe.” Daily or excessive foot sweat may be attributed to a medical condition called plantar hyperhidrosis, which causes the foot’s many sweat glands to overproduce.

What Causes Smelly Feet?

Like sweaty feet, encountering foot odor is a very common occurrence. It typically happens when sweat builds up on the feet without an outlet to evaporate. For instance, this can occur when shoes or socks become damp from sweat and don’t have a chance to completely dry out. When bacteria from your skin interacts with (or feeds on) the sweat on your feet – odor is sure to ensue.

Because each foot has over 250,000 sweat glands, foot sweat can be troublesome for someone who suffers from hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating.

The causes of smelly feet can also be attributed to fungal infections. An example of a foot-based fungal infection is Athlete’s Foot.

9 Ways to Treat Smelly Feet

If you have smelly feet, there is no reason to despair. Here are nine methods you can employ to treat smelly feet.

1. Focus on foot hygiene.

Maintaining excellent foot hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent and treat smelly feet. The key processes in an effective foot hygiene routine includes washing your feet with antifungal soap (daily), clipping your toenails (regularly), and even exfoliating your feet (biweekly).

2. Exfoliate or remove dead skin.

Bacteria can build up quickly around dead skin. When bacteria interacts with sweat, this results in smelly feet. You can get rid of the dead skin cells by soaking your feet and then using a pumice stone or a scrub to remove the dead skin cells from your feet. For the best results, exfoliate your feet 2-3 times a week.

3. Wear dry shoes.

One of the causes of smelly feet is damp or wet shoes. To avoid this, allow your shoes to dry out properly after each use. You can achieve this by either stuffing your shoes with newspaper after wearing them or you can alternate the shoes you wear each day.

treat smelly feet

4. Replace insoles.

Using insoles is a good way to keep sweaty feet dry. However, if they are not replaced frequently, sweat can build-up in them and lead to smelly feet. Switch out insoles regularly and use disinfecting spray on them after they dry out.

5. Apply deodorant/antiperspirant.

Although deodorants and antiperspirants are typically used for the armpits, using them on the feet is an efficient way to reduce odor and/or sweating. If you suffer from intense foot sweat, talk to your doctor about a prescription-strength antiperspirant to use on your feet. You can also powder your feet with cornstarch as an alternative.

6. Use an antifungal soap or powder.

Fungal build-up is another cause of stinky feet. Treat foot fungus with an antifungal soap or powder. Simply use the soap to wash your feet or use the powder after you wash your feet.

7. Soak feet in Epsom salt.

Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate compound, and is known for its healing and soothing properties. To create a foot soak, dissolve ½ cup of Epsom into a basin or tub of warm water. Soak feet for 30-60 minutes and dry thoroughly. If you want to exfoliate your feet using Epsom salt, massage a handful of it on the dead or dry skin on your feet.

8. Soak feet in vinegar bath.

Another foot soak option is vinegar and water. Mix 1 part of white or apple cider vinegar into 2 parts of warm water in a basic or tub. Soak your feet 10-20 minutes. Do not use a vinegar soak if there are any cuts, bruises or sores on your feet.

Foot odor typically happens when sweat builds up on the feet without an outlet to evaporate.

9. Wear odor-fighting socks.

Ejis dress socks with odor fighting silver (buy in our shop or on Amazon) are highly effective, attractive, and exceptionally comfortable. Silver anti-odor technology is embedded into every sock to stop odor-causing bacteria from building up. The terry loop design and mesh ventilation zones improve circulation and keep your feet dry and cool. Our high-quality dress socks come in three colors: black, navy and grey.

We’ve also compiled a list of the 5 best socks for sweaty feet and the features to look for when purchasing socks if you have sweaty or smelly feet.

With these nine simple suggestions to treat your sweaty and smelly feet, you can finally bid farewell to embarrassing foot odor.  And with a pair of Ejis dress socks in your arsenal, you can step out (of your shoes) with confidence. 

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