Do you get complaints from your spouse or kids everytime you take your shoes off? Do they hold their noses, wrinkle up their faces, and leave the room? If so, you very likely have smelly feet.

There is help for this common problem.

The feet and hands contain more sweat glands than any other part of the body (about 3,000 glands per square inch). Feet smell for two reasons: you wear shoes and your feet sweat. The interaction between your perspiration and the bacteria that thrive in your shoes and socks generates the odor. Any attempt to reduce foot odor has to address both your sweating and your footwear.

Smelly feet can also be caused by an inherited condition called hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, which primarily affects males. Stress, some medications, fluid intake and hormonal changes also can increase the amount of perspiration your body produces. 

Here are 9 ways to prevent and treat smelly feet.


1. Always wear socks that wick away moisture

Buy socks made of wool, acrylic, polypropylene, or polyethylene or some combination to wick away moisture and reduce friction. Some brands to try out include Nike, Asics, Injiji, Belega, Swiftwick, Feetures, Fox River Socks and Darn Tough Vermont. Avoid cotton socks as they retain moisture. 

2. Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm water, using a mild soap.

Dry thoroughly.

3. Change your socks and shoes at least once a day

4. Check for fungal infections between your toes and on the bottoms of your feet.

If you spot redness or dry, patchy skin, get treatment right away.

5. Don't wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row.

If you frequently wear athletic shoes, alternate pairs so that the shoes can dry out. Give your shoes at least 24 hours to air out between wearings; if the odor doesn't go away, discard the shoes

6. Dust your feet frequently with a non-medicated baby powder or foot powder such Gordon’s Foot Spray.

7. Wear odor-fighting insoles such as Dr. Scholls Odor-X.



7. Persistent foot odor can indicate a low-grade infection or a severe case of hereditary sweating.

In these cases, our practice may prescribe a special ointment.

8. Use Tolcylen Foot Soaks

Tolcylen foot soaks can help control smelly feet. These soaks are also effective for treating dry skin and dermatitis.

9. Soaking your feet in strong black tea for 30 minutes a day for a week can help.

The acid in the tea kills the bacteria and closes the pores, keeping your feet dry longer. Use two tea bags per pint of water. Boil for 15 minutes, then add two quarts of cool water. Soak your feet in the cool solution. Alternately, you can soak your feet in a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water.

10. Purchase a UV Shoe Sanitizer.

Shoe Sanitizers kill 99% of the bacteria and fungus that cause foot odor.

Need Relief from Smelly Feet in Seattle, Washington? Request an Appointment Now

Don't let smelly feet cause you embarrassment. Complete the contact form on this page or call our office, the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, at 206-368-7000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rion Berg.

Most new patients are seen within 1-2 week's time. During your initial visit, Dr. Berg will spend up to 30 minutes getting to know you, your podiatry complaints, and your goals so that he can recommend the treatment best meets your needs. Don’t wait—contact us today.

North Seattle Foot & Ankle Specialist Dr. Rion Berg offers compassionate podiatry care for all foot and ankle problems to those living in Seattle Washington and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an immediate appointment or request an appointment online.



Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.
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