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The Common Causes of Smelly Feet (and What to Do About It!)

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Are you tired of giving excuses when you want to cuddle on the sofa? Do your feet smell even when you’ve just been for a dip in the ocean? If so, you likely have smelly feet.

Though it’s often a sign of bacterial infections, it can also result from poor personal hygiene. Perhaps you didn’t wash your feet well or forgot to wear clean shoes.

Either way, it’s time to find a solution. Read on to learn the possible causes of smelly feet and what you can do about it!

Sweaty Feet and Smelly Feet: The Two Go Hand-In-Hand

One of the most common causes of smelly feet is sweat. When your feet sweat, the moisture provides a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. This can cause your feet to smell bad and lead to fungal infections like athlete’s foot.

If you suffer from sweaty feet, the best solution is to keep them dry. You can wear socks made from materials that wick away moisture and give your feet a chance to air out after you’ve been sweating.

You can also try wearing shoes made of materials that breathe, like leather or canvas. Try wearing sandals or open-toed shoes when it’s hot. Wearing odor-resistant socks when it’s hot makes feet smell better while keeping your feet cool.

Not Washing Your Feet

Another common cause of smelly feet is poor hygiene. One is not washing your feet regularly. When you don’t wash your feet, the sweat and bacteria on your skin can cause an odor.

To prevent this, be sure to wash your feet every day using soap and water. You should also dry your feet thoroughly, particularly the spaces between the toes.

Tight-Fitting Shoes

Along with many common causes of smelly feet, another reason is wearing tight-fitting shoes. When your feet are confined in a tight space, they cannot breathe, and sweat builds up. This sweat becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause an unpleasant odor.

Make sure you’re wearing shoes that fit correctly and that your feet have enough room to breathe. Matching your socks with your shoes is also essential. Avoid wearing thick socks to make more space for your feet to move in your shoes.

Not Changing Your Socks

Another cause of smelly feet is not changing your socks. This can cause a build-up of sweat and bacteria, making your feet smell bad. You can prevent this by regularly changing your socks and keeping your feet clean and dry.

Not Using the Right Kind of Socks

Wear socks that wick the moisture away from your skin if you sweat a lot. Otherwise, your feet will stay wet and start to smell.

You may also be more prone to foot problems and smelly feet. Check your feet regularly for any cuts, blisters, or other issues.

Changing into socks made of natural materials, such as cotton, wool, or bamboo, can help absorb sweat. Cotton and wool are known materials that absorb moisture. Bamboo anti odor socks help keep feet dry with the help of bamboo fabric which is super absorbent.

Shoes and Socks That Are Worn for Too Long Can Also Cause Smelly Feet

If you wear the same pair of shoes day after day, they don’t have a chance to dry out completely, which can cause bacteria to grow. Socks that are worn for too long can also cause smelly feet.

You may want to alternate between a few different pairs of shoes to give them a chance to dry out completely between wearings. If you’re still having issues, deodorizing sprays for shoes and powders for socks can also help.

Certain Medical Conditions Can Cause Smelly Feet

We have discussed many reasons why feet may smell bad. Some medical conditions also contribute to the causes of smelly feet.


When diabetes isn’t managed well, it can cause nerve damage and reduced blood flow. This can lead to sweating problems, making your feet more likely to become smelly. Address these effects of smelly feet by using what we learned about preventing sweat.

Athlete’s Foot

Athletes’ foot is a common cause of smelly feet. This fungal infection thrives in warm, moist environments, which is why it’s often found in locker rooms and public showers.

Symptoms include itching, redness, and scaling of the skin. It can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams or sprays. If the athlete’s foot does not improve with over-the-counter treatments, you should see a doctor or a dermatologist for further treatment.


Psoriasis is a common skin condition that can cause red, scaly patches on the skin, and it is also a common cause of smelly feet. The condition is caused by an overproduction of skin cells, which can build up sweat and bacteria on the skin.

Psoriasis treatment often includes topical creams or ointments, light therapy, and oral medications. If you have psoriasis and are also experiencing foot odor, talk to your doctor to determine the best course of treatment.

Home Remedies

There are a few home remedies you can try. One is to soak your feet in a vinegar and water solution for about 15 minutes. This can help kill bacteria and absorb odors.

You can also try rubbing your feet with cornstarch, which will help absorb sweat and keep your feet dry. If you want to prevent smelly feet, these home remedies help keep your feet smelling fresh.

From Smelly Feet to Fresh Feet

The leading cause of smelly feet is sweat. When your feet sweat, the moisture causes bacteria to grow, which leads to foot odor. Try wearing odor-resistant socks made of materials that can wick away moisture, avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes, and practice proper foot hygiene.

You may be more susceptible to foot odor due to poor circulation, nerve damage, skin cuts, and infections if you have medical conditions. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

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