Smelly feet can be normal, or they can signal an underlying medical problem. Most people will find relief from embarrassing foot odor by using some or all of these 4 strategies:
Make some changes
- First, change your socks every day – more than once a day if you’ve been exercising. Re-wearing your socks means you’re also re-sweating in them, which makes for a very ripe smell.
- Also, change your habit of buying cotton socks, which hold moisture, to socks that wick moisture away from your skin. Look for socks made from olefin, bamboo, merino wool, or polyester.
- Finally, change your mind about wearing shoes with no socks. Not only will you sweat more, but your sweat will seep into your shoes and make them smell, too.
Get breathable shoes
Step away from any shoes made of plastic or rubber. Choose shoes that allow air to flow through them. Choices abound in today’s shoe store, including comfortable athleisure shoes made with mesh fabrics. Open weaves allow air and moisture to pass through, away from your skin. Shoes and hiking boots made of leather are also very breathable.
It may seem ridiculous to point out that feet need washing. But you’d be surprised how many people – even if they shower daily – aren’t terribly conscientious about actually leaning over and soaping between their toes. And yet, this kind of foot care goes a long way toward eliminating foot odor. Wash away bacteria; wash away odor. Be sure to dry your feet thoroughly, including between your toes, before putting socks on.
- Steep them in natural odor blockers. Help control foot odor by periodically soaking your feet in strong black tea. Tea contains acids that can kill odor-causing bacteria on your skin. You can also try a mixture of one part vinegar to two parts cool water.
If none of these strategies work, our experienced podiatrists, Dr. Craig B. Frey, and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, can help with medications and therapies for sweaty feet such as iontophoresis. Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland, serving Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage, and Geauga counties, is located in beautiful Solon, Ohio. Get to the bottom of your excessive foot odor by calling us at (440) 903-1041 for an appointment. You may also contact us online.