Why Do My Feet Sweat and Smell Excessively?

By Dimi | Tips

You come back home from your daily run or from long hours at work to find that your shoes and feet are all sweaty and smelly? Don’t worry – perspiration is only natural for all human beings. The problem is properly managing the sweating and taking care of both your feet and your shoes in order to keep them fresh, healthy and odor-free. If you find that your feet have started sweating more, and that you favorite running shoes or work boots are staring to emit a nasty stench, here is a list of things that you may be doing wrong, as well as some tips on how to minimize the negative effect of perspiration of the feet:


Tips for making your feet sweat less

  1. Are you wearing the same shoes for running, walking, working or other activities every day?

Not switching shoes, and not allowing them to air out and dry completely before putting them back on, could be the reason for the bad smell of your feet and shoes. It is highly recommended that you always take the insoles out of your shoes, and place the shoes and insoles in a nicely aerated place where they can dry completely before you wear them again. If possible, make sure that you have a spare pair of shoes to inter-switch, so that you allow each pair to dry off from the sweat before putting them back on. If you are a runner or workout regularly, you should consider getting another pair of trainers for your crossfit workout, so that you ensure that your feet and your shoes do not start growing nasty bacteria and fungus which are the main causes for the foul odor. The same goes for any work boots or walking shoes which you wear on a daily basis.

  1. Maybe you are not washing your feet well?

Since you probably spend most of your day on your feet, they are the parts of the body which puts up with the most stress, impact and carry your body weight. This is why you should take the time to make sure that your feet are properly washed every time you take a bath or a shower. Don’t think that the water and soap which you use to wash your body will simply pass through the feet and wash them. Make sure you lather some soap and meticulously wash your feet, including the heels, toes and in between the toes. You can use anti-microbial soap in order to ensure that any germs or fungus is killed and removed.

“Good foot hygiene is essential. Wash your feet daily with an antibacterial soap; be sure to wash between the toes.” [1] according to American Podiatric Medical Association

  1. Don’t have time for a proper pedicure?

Taking care to cut and regularly clean your toe nails is also crucial for the health of your feet. Make sure you treat and remove any calluses and scrub off the dead skin from your heels and feet on a regular basis. Use pumice stone and specialized cosmetic products to soften the skin of the heels in order to scrub away all dead skin cells. Remember that microbes and other harmful growths on your feet and in your shoes feed on those dead skin cells!

  1. Are you changing your socks regularly?

Never be tempted to wear the same unwashed socks for your next run or workout, or for work. Always change socks with a fresh pair after you shower, and throw the dirty ones in the laundry basket. Dirty socks, even if they are dry will cause your feet and shoes to smell more. APMA even recommends wearing a spare pair of socks and changing them mid-day [2]

  1. Do you allow your feet to air out?

Besides leaving your shoes to air out after wearing them, you should also allow your feet to get some air as well. This is very easy in the summer time when you can wear shoes with open toes, sandals or flip flops, but make sure you let your feet air out for a while during the winter months as well. Slip off your slippers and socks and let your feet breathe for a while. This will help decrease the sweating and the smell.

  1. Have you considered using a foot deodorant?

Just like you most probably use deodorant for your armpits, you should make a habit of spraying or applying some foot deodorant on your feet after you shower and before you put your socks and shoes on. Specialized deodorant for feet can do wonders for keeping the feet fresh, dry and odor free for hours. Some people use regular spray deodorant to treat their feet, so if you prefer to save money you can use one deodorant for both your armpits and your feet.

  1. How about getting some moisture wicking, anti-microbial, deodorized insoles?

They are affordable and are an excellent alternative for people who have sweaty feet. You can wear most insoles in nearly any type of shoes or boots, and will immediately feel the fresh effect they have on your feet. It is important to remove and dry them out after you take your shoes off. If necessary, purchase another pair of inserts to switch between the two.

  1. Are you wearing the wrong kind of shoes?

Plastic shoes will trap all the sweat and smell inside the shoe and will lead to discomfort, increased sweating and a nasty smell. You must wear canvas or leather shoes which are breathable. If your shoes have moisture wicking, anti-microbial treated insoles – the effect will be even better. Your feet will stay dry and fresh even after hours of wearing this type of shoes.

  1. How about your socks?

If your feet are overly-sweaty and are starting to get smelly, then maybe the problem is in your socks. Socks should be breathable, so stick to the classic cotton or wool ones, and throw away the nylon and polyester socks away if you want your feet to feel and smell fresh at all times. For added effect, you could get some antibacterial socks which are treated with special chemicals allowing he feet to smell well at all times, and protecting them from harmful bacteria.

  1. Does your age have anything to do with your sweaty, stinky feet?

If you are a teenage boy, then it is more likely that your feet and shoes will be smelly. This is due to the hormones, as well as to other factors, such as neglecting personal hygiene and the tendency to wear the same sneakers or shoes on a daily basis. If this is the case – take the time to wash yourself and your feet, change your socks and shoes on a daily basis, and thing will get better with the odor and sweat problem!

In conclusion

There are various possible reasons for your feet to sweat profusely and for the bad odor emitted. If you take into consideration the abovementioned simple rules, you are highly likely to resolve this uncomfortable and often embarrassing condition. Taking extra care will cost you little, but can make a big difference for your comfort and wellbeing!


1., 2. Sweaty Feet – by American Podiatric Medical Association