I have an embarrassing problem that I really need to address. My smelly feet. Not just your regular stinky, sweaty smell after a workout — my tootsies seem to reek all the time. It was the kind of problem I thought only I knew about, but the other day at work, it was rather warm and I slipped my feet out of my flats. My co-worker got a whiff, covered her nose and said, "What's that smell?" I've tried peppermint lotion and flowery powders, but nothing helps. Is there anything I can do to prevent this foul odor?
— Funky Feet
Having smelly feet will understandably make you feel self-conscious, but the good news is that there are lots of things you can do to cure your problem. To find out what, just read more.
The strong smell given off by feet is a combination of sweat and bacteria, so if you can eliminate both, then you're on your way to sweet smelling tootsies.
- Wash your feet every day with warm water and soap, and be sure to dry them thoroughly before you put on socks or shoes. Pay special attention to in between your toes.
- Avoid using lotions on your feet as this will just keep the skin moist. Powders are a good option to absorb moisture. Instead of sprinkling on already stinky feet to cover up the smell, it's best to use powder on clean, dry feet to help prevent odor in the first place.
- Wear shoes that are made of breathable material such as leather, canvas, or mesh found in sneakers. Shoes made from synthetic materials such as plastic won't let your feet breathe, so you'll end up getting sweaty.
- When possible, wear socks to absorb moisture, preferably ones made of wicking material such as merino wool. Cotton socks will get sweaty and keep your feet moist, which is not good for stinky feet. Bring a couple pairs to work so you can change your socks if your feet start to sweat.
- It's also a good idea not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row, so your shoes can dry out completely between uses. When you're inside or at home, go barefoot to let your feet air out.
- Keep your toenails clipped short. The longer the nails, the more bacteria can hide.
- Make sure you're getting enough zinc in your diet. Foot odor can be a symptom of zinc deficiency.
- If none of this helps or your feet sweat excessively, make an appointment with a podiatrist.
Have any tips of your own? Please share them in the comments section below.