Smelly Feet: Common Causes and Remedies

Smelly feet are a common affliction most of us have had to deal with one time or another. While poor hygiene is one of the leading causes, it is not the sole reason why feet smell. Below are common causes of smelly feet.

Smelly feet causes and remedies
Smelly feet causes and remedies



Sweat glands on feet secret all the time, unlike those on other parts of the body.

The foul smell materializes after the sweat encourages bacterial growth and consequent break down skin secretions.

Hormonal imbalance

Hormonal changes, mostly experienced among teenagers and expectant women, can make one sweat more than usual.

Wearing same shoes daily

Shoes accumulate sweat and when not given time to dry and air out, they may become smelly.


This is a condition that causes one to sweat more than usual. it affects different parts of the body including feet, under arms and palms.


Stress on feet may result from structural problems, strain or fatigue.

Remedies for smelly feet:


Regularly clean feet and toes using soapy water and a clean wash cloth, making sure to wipe toe webs too.

For already smell feet, clean gently with a wash cloth and then lather up with an antiseptic soap.

Leave the lather on feet for a for a few minutes before washing off.

You can also wipe smelly feet, toes and toe web with rubbing alcohol to create a hostile environment for bacteria and get rid of foul of smell.

Apply deodorant

Spray a regular deodorant or antiperspirant on smelly feet. It will work as good as it does under the arms.

Shoe inserts and powders

Shoe inserts and powder can be especially helpful to people who suffer from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis).

The inserts absorb moisture and help keep feet drier. They can also help prevent feet from slipping.

Wear absorbent shoes

Shoes made from non-absorbent materials such as plastic, vinyl or rubber do not allow feat to ‘breathe.’

Wear shoes that are made from leather or canvas (especially the top part), not synthetic materials.

Wear fitting shoes

Opt for shoes that match the shape of your feet and that fit properly. Fitting shoes will leave some room for your feet to breathe.

You will know you have the right fit of shoes if you are able to wiggle your toes freely.

Change shoes

Do not wear the same pair of shoes every day of the week. Alternate so that no pair is worn two days in a row.

Allow shoes to air out and dry for a full day before wearing them again.

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Wear absorbent socks

Socks made from absorbent material, such as blends of wool, acrylic and polypro will keep feet drier and warmer.

Pure cotton socks are absorbent but they retain and hold sweat against the skin.

Also be sure to wear a clean pair of socks daily.

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