How to Cure Smelly Feet: The Complete Guide
So you’re dealing with foot odor? We’ve got you covered!
Foot odor! We all have experienced it, some worse than others. So what causes it and what can we do to fight this stinky battle of feet!? We’ll I have done some research on this annoying problem and have come up with the best methods of combatting this issue.
Now a lot of us suffer from a mild form of foot odor, whereas some of us have it so bad we clear out a room when we remove our shoes. Side note, I personally borrowed a pair of my mother’s shoes for an afternoon and upon returning them, I was told to keep them because she didn’t believe she could get the odor out! True story! So as some of us suffer from genetics, medical issues, stress, and hormones, causing our stinky feet, let’s look at the most common cause.
First, here are a few popular myths that we need to bust and make clear before we move on.
- Sweat does not cause smelly feet. The bacteria that grows because of sweat causes it.
- Men’s feet smell worse than women’s. WRONG! Women actually have more sweat glands than men.
- Baby powder stops sweaty feet. Baby powder helps remove some moister and smells good for a bit, but it does nothing to kill the odor causing bacteria.
- Soaking your feet in freshly brewed tea. While it will act as an astringent, it will only dry the top layer of skin and is only a very temporary fix.
The main culprit for foot odor is excess sweating. I know, know, it’s on the myth list, but just listen. There are over 250,000 sweat glands on each foot alone, that can produce up to a pint of moisture a day! No wonder they can get so sweaty! And believe it or not, it’s not technically the sweat that causes that awful foot cheese smell! Sweat is actually odorless, but when you sweat you create a breeding ground for bacteria, which in turn causes the smell. So the more you sweat, the more bacteria you are growing! So how do we fix this issue!?
What Causes the Odor?
Let’s look a bit more at one of the main causes of smelly feet to understand how to remedy the situation.
So remember it’s not the “sweat” that causes the odor, but the bacteria that grows as a result of sweating. The main villain is a bacteria called brevibacteria. Brevibacteria feeds off the dead skin mainly found on the soles and in between your toes. After consuming the dead skin cells they let off a colorless gas, a putrid stink called methanethiol. Which has been referred to as a thick cheese-like smell, or even a malt vinegar smell. It might give a reminder to a cheese smell because brevibacteria is in used cheeses such as Limburger, and Munster, and that is what gives it its pungent smell.
So now that we know a big factor is bacteria that causes the smell, and unlike genetics, we can take action against this. So what can we do!? First, there are many different types of products to battle this issue, special insoles, sprays, creams, powders, uv germ killers, injections even. But let’s begin with the basics. Socks and shoes.
Let’s start with shoes. Most of us love shoes, some of us are obsessed. And when shopping for shoes sometimes we will pick fashion over functionality. Which is not a big deal for most of us but if you are like me and battle the foot stink, we need to look for practicality over looks. However, there are a few new shoe companies, like Skechers, that help with that struggle and you can customize your shoes.
The Right Shoes can Help Prevent Odor
So let’s look at some things to look for and some to avoid when picking out new footwear:
- Pick shoes made out of breathable materials, such as leather, mesh, and canvas are a few good ones. (Running shoes are typically well ventilated)
- Avoid shoes with closed toes. Remember bacteria grows mainly in between your toes.
- Clogs and similar type shoes are okay options. Even though they have closed toes, they are well ventilated.
- Avoid shoes made of plastic as that is the worst material to let air in, unless they have large ventilation holes.
- Some shoes are washable so look for pairs that have the wash symbol, or a removable insole.
- For hot summer days, consider sandals or flip flops.
Some Well Ventilated Shoe Options
- Nike Flyknit Shoes
- Flyknit is Super Breathable
- Crocs Classic Clogs
- Large Ventilation Holes
- Clarks Breeze Sea Flip Flop
- Open-Air Design
Your Choice of Socks is a Factor
Now, let’s talk socks! The number one given Christmas gift. The West Coast retailer Fred Meyer is known for its giant sock sale! People don’t pay much attention to what socks are made of. We just love the fun designs, prints, and how soft they are. Never really considering the material. I have never given it much thought before this, so after some research, I have come up with some points to remember when looking for socks to help with foot odor.
- Socks should be changed daily, if not more frequently if you sweat a lot.
- Stay away from polyester and nylon socks, these materials lead to stinker feet.
Let’s break down the different sock options and compare some types.
- DO look for socks made of cotton or wool, these materials allow for more airflow.
- Wool socks are better than cotton. Wool has almost twice the moisture absorbing ability as cotton. Can wick as much as 30% of its weight in water.
- A lot of synthetic socks are now treated with chemicals to help in reducing odor.
- Bamboo socks are naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, they are great for wicking moister away helping fight foot odor. Bamboo socks are four times more moister absorbing than Cotten socks. These are environmentally friendly as well.
- Look for socks featuring CoolMax technology, it’s like air conditioning for your feet!
- Drymax socks have a so-called active odor control, made of many materials including olefin, also known under its brand name CoolMax. They are geared toward athletic performance.
Recommended Socks to Prevent Foot Odor
- People Socks
- 70% Merino Wool
- Darn Tough Vermont
- 60% Merino Wool
- Smartwool PhD Ultra Light
- 50% Merino Wool
Soaps, Creams, Powders and More
Now that we have covered the prevention methods, let’s look at some of the extras that are offered to battle foot odor if you’re already dealing with it. There are many many different options available and choosing one can be very overwhelming! From foot creams, powders to insoles, and shoe dryers! What to choose! So let’s break down a few basics, and pick a few of the best top products out now.
Foot creams, powders, soaps! There’s so many and what all do they do!?
Soaps and Cleaners:
Recommended Soaps for Smelly Feet
- Hibiclens antimicrobial antiseptic skin cleanser is a great choice! This is basically they same stuff used by surgeons to disinfect their hands before surgery. So if you got some stinky stinky! This will kill it!
- Scent-a-way body shampoo. This product is an all over body deodorizer but works great on your feet. It’s not a typical body wash but works to target the Oder causing bacteria.
- Hibiclens Skin Cleanser
- Hibiclens Skin Cleanser 16oz
- Scent-A-Way Body Soap
- Prevents Drying
They have been around since the 1900’s. They have come a long way since then and have improved quite a bit! Take a look below at some tried and true options and some new ones that are giving them a run for their money!
Recommended Powders for Smelly Feet
- Gold Bond medicated foot powder. You get the old time classic and never failing gold bond but with an added ingredient to help fight itchiness and pain that can come with the skin irritation.
- Dr. Scholls Odor X is always a great choice! Powerful and great sweat absorbing abilities, it also has a cooling affect to keep your feet comfy all day!
- Shoe Rescue, an all natural alternative. This powder offers a more pleasant natural smell compared to the chemical smell others can have. With ingredients that are just as beneficial as they are pleasant to the nose, such as peppermint, tea-tree and lavender oils.
- The best for last, the new game-changing foot powder – On Your Toes Bactericide Foot Powder! If you are looking for a more permeant, less time-consuming option. Look no further! This company uses a microfined formula that penetrates the pores of your shoes lasting for 6 months! Which they proudly promise to eliminate your foot odor for six months or they’ll give you your money back!
- On Your Toes Foot Bactericide
- 6 Month Odor Relief
- Podiatrist Recommended
- Gold Bond Medicated Foot Powder
- Absorbs Moisture
- Controls Foot Odor
- Dr. Scholls OdorX
- All-Day Protection
- Controls Wetness
Now that we looked at a few powder options for your shoes.
What about all the different creams to help with stink-causing bacteria? Let’s look at some of the most popular and useful products.
Recommended Creams for Smelly Feet
- Lavilin foot cream. This all natural cream contains no alcohol and no aluminum. It has great reviews but if you are a chronic foot sweater this may not be the right product for you.
- Gehwol foot cream. This is another all natural disinfecting cream that also contains soothing properties for a mild pain reliever. With ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oils, aloe vera, revitalizing camphor and cooling menthol, your feet not only will be clean but smell great and feel relaxed.
- Lavilin Foot Cream
- 0% Alcohol / 0% Aluminum
- Gehwol Foot Cream
- Naturally Fresh
- Removes Foot Odour
- Lavilin Roll-On Cream
- Natural Herbs
- Essential Oils
UV Lights, Charcoal Bags, Special Insoles & Dryers
- There are antibacterial lights that you can put into your shoes to kill bacteria. •Also available are boot/shoe warmers for those of us who sweat a ton, and need to dry our shoes out. If you want a cheaper route they have bamboo charcoal bags to place in your shoes to help dry them out.
- Specially designed insoles, you get a 2-1 benefit. Some are made with charcoal to absorb the odor.
- Peet Shoe Dryer
- Silent Operation
- Uben UV Shoe Sanitizer
- Ultraviolet Sterilization
- Jalousie Bamboo Charcoal Bags
- Natural Odor Absorption
Points to Consider
There are many ways to fight the unwanted foot cheese smell. And based on how quickly yours clears a room out depends on what on this list you should do. I recommend if you are struggling with stinky feet try at least 1-2 of these options and go from there. All else it might be time to go see the doctor. So take a look below, and consider what foot issues you are struggling with mainly, and pick a few to try.
- Hygiene: Proper foot care begins with proper hygiene. If your job or lifestyle makes it where the end of your day your feet are just disgusting. Try using a foot cleaner, like one of the ones listed above.
- Socks: Socks make a huge difference! The main cause of smelly feet is sweat. So finding a brand of socks that are moister absorbing, antimicrobial, and antibacterial are very important! LET YOUR FEET BREATH! If your not sure what to choose take a look at the list of some options above.
- Shoes: Wearing proper shoes that are made of materials to allow your feet to breath are very important. Also allowing your shoes to dry out before wearing them again is just as important. Don’t let your shoes become a breeding ground for bacteria!
- Powders: Powders have been around forever and usually are a good enough to fix for most people. They have been around since the 1900s and have improved greatly. Some last for 6 months now!
- Creams: Creams have been around for a long time, and fight the smell at the source! Most creams use natural and chemicals to fight and kill odor causing bacteria. But don’t just grab the first one you see! There are many options available now!
- Additional: There are many other not so common and more expensive options to try.
Well, I hope you found this how to guide for smelly feet useful, and I wish you luck in your battle of foot odor! And I hope you were able to learn some new and useful tips! Hopefully, you won’t need to use any many as the options that I need for my feet, but if you do, take your pick.