Does your foot odor hit you in the face every time you take off your boots? It surely makes you feel uncomfortable and results in awkward social situations. So how to stop your feet from sweating in shoes?
What Causes Your Problem
Are you able to clean out the room by the simple act of walking in and taking off your boots? Well, almost everybody has been stuck in this situation at least once. There are more than 250 000 sweat glands per foot, so it’s natural for that part of your body to perspire a bit. But what causes this distinctive odor, which might result in many embarrassing situations?
Sweat itself doesn’t stink, because it’s mostly different salts and water. But bacteria that live on your skin start to eat this sweat and to produce that unpleasant smell. And the odor is stronger than our armpit funk because feet are coated in a couple of layers. When your hands or armpits are dripping, the bad smell escapes through the air and diffuses. But your socks and shoes trap all stink and moisture, creating the perfect environment for bacteria:
- your feet are warm;
- they are wet;
- there are oxygen and dead cells on your soles, so bacteria have food.
As a result, bacteria grow and multiply fast, so this distinctive smell becomes overwhelming. The causes of this problem are different, because some people buy the wrong shoes and socks. Every time they put on their boots, they refuel those nasty bacteria and perpetuate the stinky feet cycle.
Some people just sweat more than others: more wetness means more food for bacteria, so foul odor also gets stronger. If you can’t stand going to your friend’s house because you have to leave your shoes at the door, you might be suffering from plantar hyperhidrosis (HH). So first of all, you should talk to your doctor, who will explain all treatment options.
How To Stop Feet From Sweating In Shoes Naturally
If you want to have dry feet, try simple tricks:
- Make sure that you target sweat, dead cells, and the bad bacteria. So start by washing feet with an antibacterial soap and getting rid of dead skin, so that bacteria wouldn’t have their favorite food. You might use a pumice stone and apply moisturizers; once a week, rub two drops of your favorite essential oil onto your feet, put on socks, and catch up on your beauty sleep.
- Change socks every day; make sure they are made of natural material. Cotton is usually good, but it’s moisture-absorbent, and some people notice that feet odor becomes worse by day’s end. So try a cotton/synthetic blend or a wool/synthetic blend. The natural fibers absorb moisture, and the synthetic fibers keep this wetness away from the skin.
- Don’t wear plastic shoes; they might be fashionable, but they don’t allow a good airflow. You need a pair made of real leather or canvas. Sometimes wearing flip-flops helps, but their material matters: avoid rubber or foam ones because they provide no ventilation for the bottom of feet. Also, plastic flip-flops or sandals can slip off your feet while walking because of this sweat. So you should look for sandals that have soles made of cork or straw, because they keep you dry and fresh.
Also, make sure that you don’t have athlete’s foot (it’s a fungus that grows in between your toes and provokes a bad odor). If you don’t have skin infections or other medical conditions, using these tips can change your life.
How To Rid Of Sweat
If you want to forget about sweaty feet once and for all, try the following:
- Use special wipes to prevent odor and wetness. SweatBlock helps a little bit, but you may notice the strong chemical smell. If you don’t want to put any harsh ingredients on your body, try wipes that are formulated with natural ingredients. They aren’t too effective for chronic stinky feet, but they may lift some odor.
- Wipe between your toes after taking a shower to reduce moisture.
- Brew 2 black tea bags in 3 cups of boiling water: wait until it cools down and put your feet in for 15 minutes. Repeat it every day for a week.
- Take two spoons of apple cider vinegar and pour into 4 cups of water. Soak feet in this solution for 10 minutes; repeat daily. But make sure you use the real stuff and not imitation of apple cider vinegar.
- Lemon and baking soda soak is also an option. Lemon juice helps to control odor and to reduce sweating, but you should use home-made type. Baking soda kills fungus, controls your stink, and softens your feet. So you need to put a little bit of your regular foaming wash into a basin, add one tbsp of baking soda, and two tbsp of lemon juice. Then pour warm water, mix everything, and put your feet in for 30 minutes. You might also use a pumice stone to get rid of dead cells.
- Mix equal parts of Listerine (mouth wash), vinegar, and water. Soak your feet for 15 minutes.
If you surf the Internet, you might notice that some bloggers recommend walking around barefoot at home. But in fact, it increases your chances of getting a fungus, so wear socks.
How To Forget About Stinky Feet
To get rid of plantar hyperhidrosis, remember that moisture is your main enemy; so get a second pair of shoes and alternate daily. And if your favorite boots or sandals stink too, there’s a chance that no matter what you do, the smell will transfer back to feet. So you might put this stinky pair in a fridge overnight to kill all bacteria that cause odor. Also, fill a pair of thick socks with some kitty litters, slip them into your shoes, and wait for 8 hours.
If you have HH, buy a bottle of antibacterial spray and use it every time before you put socks on. Find a product that deodorizes shoes and protects skin from germs. It may be especially useful if you practice yoga and walk around barefoot.
Using antiperspirants is another option, but do they work? Well, they are more effective than deodorants, which only mask the stink, or perfumes, which add fragrance to your odor (making it worse). You might try a product by Carpe that provides temporary relief. To stop sweating, put a pea-size amount on your foot and rub it in: you’ll instantly feel the effect. But sweating comes back within a couple of hours, so you might need to reapply. Sometimes, usual roll-on helps too, but make sure that you use antiperspirant: deodorants don’t control wetness.
Do you have sweaty feet? Add baby powder to the inside of your socks every day. It’s cheap and effective, so you can wear shoes all day and stay stink-free.
How To Control Foot Sweat
To stop excessive sweating, your doctor may prescribe anticholinergic medications. Some treatment options include taking these medicines in the form of pills, but there are some side effects like dry mouth.
So you may choose a topical anticholinergic that has the same active ingredient. When you use it, the main component blocks neurotransmitters from binding to receptors in certain nerve cells. Put simply, it goes in and tells your sweat glands to shut down: for many people, it’s the best treatment.
Points To Consider
You may stink to high heaven because of germs, so it’s essential to bleach all your socks and boots at once. To disinfect your favorite pair of sneakers, dry them out, and get cleaning alcohol. But it can be not enough to get stink foot out of leather shoes or boots, because they are hard to clean on the inside. So put in them some zinc oxide powder which can be a game-changer.
To prevent a bad odor, use bamboo charcoal shoe inserts. They absorb wetness and keep your funk at bay. When they become wet, just put them in the sun for a while. They aren’t a magical fix, but they are able to improve the situation. Also, you need to bleach all your socks if the color allows it (in other cases, use rubbing alcohol). You might leave them in a bucket for 2 hours or just run a bleach cycle in your washing machine.
Sweat Fighter: Stay Dry As a Bone
If you have a middle case of plantar hyperhidrosis, there are several home remedies that work well. But if you need more aggressive treatment, you might undergo iontophoresis. It’s not clear exactly how this works, but the method has been used for 60 years now: the results are impressive.
If you go to your doctor, he may write you a prescription to buy a special unit. So you’ll have two containers for tap water and a device that creates a very light electrical current. You should put your feet into this water and turn on the unit. So the current will go through the water and will cause changes in sweat glands. Doctors suppose that the electricity provokes some thickening of skin and blocks sweat ducts. This process isn’t painful, but you might experience a prickling sensation and possible skin irritation. Those downsides are temporary, and you’ll notice the 70-90 % sweating reduction after four sessions.
Some people use home-made devices, but the effect is not as noticeable. Also, DIY solutions may be not safe, so buy a cheap device to find out if this method is effective in your case. When you notice an improvement, you’ll invest in a more expensive unit that will last for years.
How To Stop Your Feet From Sweating By Using Botox
Do you want to forget about sweaty feet for four months? Botox injections work quite well, but they are expensive and painful (some patients can’t even finish the procedure). Still, you might undergo it if nothing else works or if you have a high tolerance for pain.
How can you get Botox in your feet? First, a doctor uses a local anesthetic: the problem is that it doesn’t work for everyone, and if you have a lot of nerves, the pain will be excruciating.
Then a doctor applies iodine to the soles of your feet. Also, he covers the area with some cornstarch to find out all areas of excessive sweating. After that, he cleans your skin and makes injections.
If you have already got Botox in your face or hands, remember that the feet are much worse. Doctors use anesthetic or spray cold fluid on your skin to relieve the pain, but it always hurts. But if you don’t chicken out, it’s worth it! The results are noticeable after one week after the procedure: sweating stops completely.
The downside is that Botox doesn’t work full force for all 4-6 months. It’s usually 100 % for the first 30 days, then down to 90 %, and after six months, it reduces perspiration on 60 %. But don’t write off Botox, because it might be a game-changer even for people with severe hyperhidrosis. Of course, not every solution works for everyone, and it sounds like this is a terrible experience (it is!). And still, Botox can make your feet dry and fresh.
ELS for Hyperhidrosis
If you have severe hyperhidrosis, there is a surgical option (Endoscopic lumbar sympathectomy, or ELS) when a doctor cuts the nerves responsible for sweating. But it works well only for people with palmar HH, and it’s not very effective for those who have plantar HH. There are also serious potential side effects, so this procedure is rarely performed. You’re better off trying other methods before you undergo something as extreme as ELS.
Diet Tips For Sweaty Feet
A multiple approach to this problem is more effective, so while using antiperspirants and taking medicines, try to change your diet:
- Avoid garlic! It contains sulfur compounds that can’t be digested. So they leave your body through the skin and make you stink to high heaven.
- Caffeine increases blood pressure, heartbeat, and circulation. It means that by drinking coffee, you raise your body temperature, which results in excessive sweating. So switch to sage tea that contains tannic acid, which is a natural astringent.
- If you have any form of hyperhidrosis, you’re already aware of the effect that spicy foods have on your condition. They increase your metabolism and provoke excessive wetness in your boots.
- Drink more cool water to lower your body temperature.
- Drink milk and eat products that are rich in calcium. This compound helps to reduce stress, so that you sweat less.
Plantar hyperhidrosis can lead to increased humidity in boots, and this moisture creates an environment for a fungus. But if you know how to stop your feet from sweating in shoes, you’ll find the cure that works in your particular case.