We all love Kimmy Gibbler (“Fuller House,” anyone?)
But let’s face it. None of us want her feet.
What are the factors that lead to stinky feet? Does having stinky feet mean you might have other health problems? We’ve compiled a list of all your embarrassing foot odor questions to put your mind–and your feet–at ease!
1. What causes foot odor?
To put it simply, foot odor is caused by the combination of sweat and bacteria. Since your feet have an incredibly high number of sweat glands (250,000 to be exact!) the area is especially ripe for sweat–which is a breeding ground for bacteria that cause odor.
2. How can I get rid of smelly feet?
The best way to stop smelly feet is to do something about the source of the problem, aka finding a way to keep your feet clean dry so bacteria can’t reproduce as easily. Change your socks frequently, especially in the winter. Wash your feet regularly with soap, and allow your feet to dry completely before donning socks and shoes. Swab between your toes with a cotton swab to make sure you’re getting rid of all moisture.
Foot odor powder is another effective–and fast-acting way to get rid of foot odor and the itching that can accompany it.
3. Do stinky feet mean I might have another health problem?
The good news is that stinky feet is usually just an indication you need to change your socks more often or dry your feet better after a shower. However, in some cases it can be a sign of hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. Foot odor accompanied by flaky skin and a lot of itching can also be a sign of a fungal infection, so make sure to visit your doctor if your stinky feet don’t respond to some simple life changes.
4. How do I clean stinky shoe inserts?
If you use slip-in orthotics every day, chances are they will develop a bit of an odor over time, even if you don’t have exceptionally stinky feet. Luckily, most inserts can be washed by hand with warm water and mild soap or detergent. If you use Heel Seats, you can simply toss them into the washing machine.
4. What’s the best way to de-stink smelly shoes?
The best way to keep your shoes from perpetuating a problem with stinky feet is to give them some time to air out between uses. Let your shoes breathe for 24 hours between wearings so that all moisture has a chance to evaporate. Wearing cotton instead of wool socks is a great way to help keep moisture–and stink–away from your shoes. Add extra freshness by sprinkling a light dusting of foot powder inside your shoes while they breathe.
5. Are stinky feet contagious?
In general, smelly feet aren’t catching (but that doesn’t mean you want to wave them around!). However, athlete’s foot–an underlying fungal infection that can make your feet stink–is contagious. So don’t share if you expect you might have a fungal infection.
6. Can I self-diagnose stinky feet?
Yes! If you catch a whiff of something unpleasant when you remove your shoes and socks, you have stinky feet. The good news is, you’re not alone. And typically, stinky feet are easy to cure with a little extra attention to things like changing socks and shoes, and washing feet more regularly with soap.
7. How can I prevent smelly feet?
There are several little things you can do to prevent smelly feet. First and foremost, wash your feet with soap regularly! Next, make sure you’re giving your feet ample time to dry after the bath or shower–especially between the toes (you can use cotton swabs to dry between the toes if you’d like to speed this process). Change your socks regularly (never wear the same pair twice), and allow your shoes at least 24 hours between wearings. The name of the game is reducing sweat and bacteria!
8. What kind of shoes are best for stinky feet?
Breathable canvas or leather shoes are great for stinky feet–especially when they’re rotated often and allowed to breathe for 24 hours between wearings. Try to steer clear of rubber, which holds in moisture and can create a hotbed of bacteria. It’s also a good idea to spend time barefoot when possible.
9. Can I use underarm deodorant for smelly feet?
You sure can! A stick of your favorite deodorant can be applied directly to the bottoms of your feet. Just make sure you allow it to dry before putting on shoes or socks. This is a great way to help with foot odor.
10. Do copper infused socks help with smelly feet?
Copper has been shown to have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. So wearing copper-infused socks can, in many cases, reduce the amount of bacteria–and consequently stink–that your feet produce. There’s some debate to just how much the socks reduce foot odor, but many people have reported good results!
And there you have it. Say goodbye to Gibler style, and hello to fresh feet from now on!