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Why Do Some Feet Smell?

Occasionally I get a question that I feel is relatively absurd and I thought this one fell into that category: Why do feet smell? After considering it more, I realized it wasn't as weird as I thought and actually a good question. Why do some feet smell? So here it is.

Did you know that feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body? 250,000 sweat glands per foot to be exact. As the foot sweats and the sweat is trapped inside footwear, it can begin to have an odor. The interaction of the sweat and the footwear along with bacteria are what causes the smell.

Sweat itself is basically just salt and water so it doesn't have a smell of its own. The smell is actually caused by bacteria on our skin (totally normal by the way) which eats the sweat and excretes waste that has a strong odor [Gross]. The inside of a shoe is not exactly the poster child for proper ventilation so the sweat can't evaporate, providing a breeding ground for bacteria.

The truth: stinky feet are not a major health issue but a result of sweat -- Plain and simple.

So how do you prevent it:

  • Wash your feet with strong anti-bacterial soap
  • Wear clean socks
  • Air your shoes out and don't wear the same shoes everyday
  • Wear well-ventilated shoes
  • Wear socks, preferably made of cotton or other absorbent materials

Fit's Tip: If it is still a problem, then try changing your socks a few times a day, buy some Odor-Eaters or try applying an antiperspirant to your feet.

Join The Conversation
mandiesoh mandiesoh 10 years
hahahaha...altho the freezer idea is rather ingeneous, isnt tt a lil gross??!? lol. i dunno, maybe its just me. anyway dont they have those little balls to put into shoes, and it supposedly makes it smell better?
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
Great tip, cravinsugar. Thanks!
Marci Marci 10 years
LOVE the bag in the freeze trick. My bf shoes are going in there right now! Thanks, cravin
Daisy6264 Daisy6264 10 years
I don't know. Some people do, and some people don't. Mine doesn't :)
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
This sounds silly, but I swear it works: If you have a pair of shows you aren't ready to throw out yet that stink, put them in a plastic grocery bag and stick them in the freezer over night. If they have a rubber sole, be sure to let it thaw first or you could crack them, HOWEVER, the freezing temperature kills most of the bacteria in your shoes; so, they won't stink nearly as bad any more. It doesn't kill all the bacteria, but enough to make the stench disappeat a few days...until they grow and multiply again!
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