All About Smelly Feet – What causes Them to Stink and How to Prevent It

Feet aren’t the most well-loved body parts—at least when they’re seen or smelled by others. Some have even expressed squeamishness at seeing other people’s bare, shoeless feet in public places, such as libraries or even airplanes. These fears are primarily due to hygiene concerns, mainly when the feet in question emit a particular stench.

Although it’s fairly typical to have some foot funk if they’ve been sweating inside socks or shoes all day, some people struggle with Bromodosis, also known as stinky feet. The foul smell often occurs when our feet’s sweat glands, numbering over 250,000, work a bit too enthusiastically. As a result, it accumulates bacteria, which feed on the sweat. If you’ve been suffering from smelly feet, here’s what you need to know about it:

Common Causes of Smelly Feet

There are many reasons your feet may stink, even if you’ve taken care to wash them every day. Here are some of them: 

  1. Infections or Medical Conditions

Some infections like athlete’s foot cause your feet to smell and itch. In this case, you’ll need antifungal medication and a trip to a podiatrist immediately to solve the problem. Sometimes, over-the-counter treatments aren’t as strong as what your doctor can offer.

Additionally, conditions like hyperhidrosis, a genetic condition, cause your feet to sweat excessively. Other factors like body changes, fluid consumption, and medications can also cause your feet’s sweat glands to go into overdrive and work up a stink.

  1. The Shoes You Wear

Shoes play a prominent role in the health of your feet. They absorb all the bacteria, sweat, and odor your feet give off, essentially becoming a cocoon of these unless you watch them often. It then becomes the ideal breeding ground for more bacteria to thrive, contributing to your smelly feet issue even more. 

  1. Hormones

Sometimes, your hormones are the culprit for sweatier, stinkier feet. Teenagers, for example, are known to have especially sweaty feet due to their fluctuating hormones. The same applies to pregnant women, who often battle body odor due to the increased levels of hormones that accompany pregnancy.

How to Prevent the Stench

Given the many causes of smelly feet, you may be wondering how to stop it in its tracks and enjoy fresh, healthy feet. Luckily, there are plenty of easy ways to prevent the stench from happening at all. Here are a few tips for doing just that:

  1. Wear Socks

Wearing socks underneath closed shoes is always a must since it absorbs moisture and odor that your feet give off. It also prevents sweat and bacteria from seeping into your shoes, creating a vicious cycle that will give you perpetually stinky feet. Choose sweat-wicking socks, which move your sweat to the outer layers of the fabric, where it can evaporate over time. Additionally, avoid 100 percent cotton socks since they trap moisture. Change your socks frequently, and never use them for more than a day!

  1. Wear Breathable Shoes

Your feet need to breathe to prevent it from developing a foul stench, so you’ll want to wear shoes made of canvas, mesh, leather, or other breathable materials. It will reduce the accumulation of sweat while encouraging air circulation. Keep in mind that you must remove your shoes once your feet get damp, or else bacteria will begin to develop!

  1. Wash and Dry Your Feet

Wash your feet every day using warm water and gentle soap, and be sure to rinse them properly. Allow your feet to dry completely before putting on socks or shoes, or the trapped moisture may result in fungus growth. Avoid using other people’s foot hygiene instruments or footwear, as you can catch infections this way!


Nobody enjoys having smelly feet, especially when it’s due to factors out of your control, like hormonal imbalances or genetic conditions. However, by understanding its many causes and the ways to prevent it, you’ll enjoy healthy feet in no time!

If you need Solutions for smelly feet, be sure to check out ClearZal® BAC! Offering a range of topical solutions used by Podiatrists to take care of common foot aliments. Check out our products today to find proven solutions for all your foot care needs!

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