How to Stop Feet from Smelling in Shoes: Effective Ways

Are you tired of dealing with smelly feet in your shoes? You’re not alone. Many people have a common problem that can be caused by many different things. 

Whether it’s sweat and bacteria, poor hygiene habits, or underlying medical conditions, the result is the same: an unpleasant odor that can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. 

But fear not! 

In this article, we’ll provide effective solutions to help you to stop your feet from smelling in shoes

From simple hygiene practices to home remedies and more, we’ve got you covered. 

So, let’s kick off our shoes and get started!

Stop Feet from Smelling in Shoes

How to Stop Feet from Smelling in Shoes?

Say goodbye to embarrassing foot odor with these simple tips to stop feet from smelling in shoes.

  1. Wash and dry feet well, and use moisture-wicking socks and foot powder.
  2. Rotate shoes and avoid wearing the same pair for consecutive days.
  3. Invest in odor-fighting insoles and breathable shoes.
  4. Use antibacterial sprays or wipes to keep shoes clean and fresh.

Causes of Smelly Feet in Shoes

Sweat and Bacteria

Sweat and bacteria are the primary culprits of smelly feet. When your feet sweat, it creates a moist environment that promotes the growth of bacteria, which can cause a bad smell.

Sweat and Bacteria

This is particularly common in shoes that are tight-fitting or made of non-breathable materials that trap moisture inside.

Poor Hygiene and Grooming Habits

Another common cause of smelly feet is poor hygiene and grooming habits. If you don’t clean your feet frequently or don’t dry them properly after washing, it can lead to the buildup of bacteria and fungi that can cause a bad odor.

Additionally, wearing the same socks or shoes for an extended period without washing them can also contribute to smelly feet.

Medical Conditions

Sometimes, having smelly feet can indicate an underlying medical problem. For instance, conditions like hyperhidrosis, which causes excessive sweating, or fungal infections like athlete’s foot can cause foot odor. 

Certain medications, such as antidepressants and blood pressure drugs, can also cause sweating and contribute to smelly feet.

Stop Feet From Smelling in Shoes: Tips and Tricks to Eliminate Foot Odor

Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent and treat smelly feet in shoes. Here are some effective strategies:

Wash and Dry Your Feet Daily

Washing your feet with soap and water daily is an essential step in preventing foot odor. Be sure to scrub between your toes and dry your feet thoroughly after washing, as bacteria thrive in moist environments.

Dry your feet with a towel or let them air out for a few minutes before wearing socks and shoes.

Wash and Dry Your Feet Daily

Wear Clean, Moisture-Wicking Socks

Wearing clean socks made of moisture-wicking materials like cotton or wool can help absorb sweat and prevent odor. Avoid wearing nylon or synthetic socks, as they can trap moisture and promote bacterial growth. Change your socks daily and avoid wearing the same pair two days in a row.

Choose Breathable Shoes

Choosing shoes made of breathable materials like leather, canvas, or mesh can help keep your feet dry and prevent odor. Avoid wearing shoes made of materials that don’t allow your feet to breathe, like rubber or plastic. These can trap moisture and cause bacteria to grow.

Consider wearing open-toed shoes or sandals during the summer months to allow air to circulate around your feet.

Rotate Your Shoes

Rotating your shoes can help prevent odor by giving them time to air out between wears. Don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row, and let them dry completely before wearing them again. Consider having multiple pairs of shoes to rotate throughout the week.

Use Foot Powder or Antiperspirant

Use Foot Powder or Antiperspirant

Using foot powder or antiperspirant can help reduce sweat and prevent odor. Apply foot powder or baking soda to your feet before putting on socks and shoes to help absorb moisture. Antiperspirant sprays or roll-ons can also be effective in reducing sweating and preventing odor.

Odor-Absorbing Insoles

Odor-absorbing insoles can help prevent foot odor by absorbing sweat and neutralizing bacteria. Replace your shoe insoles regularly, especially if they become damp or start to smell. 

Odor-Absorbing Insoles

There are various types of insoles available in the market, including activated charcoal, bamboo, and baking soda-based insoles.

Antibacterial Shoe Sprays

Antibacterial Shoe Sprays

Antibacterial sprays can help kill bacteria inside your shoes, preventing them from producing odor. Look for sprays specifically designed for shoes and follow the instructions carefully. Simply spray the inside of your shoes and let them dry completely before wearing them again.

Foot Deodorant Sprays

Foot deodorant sprays can help mask the odor of smelly feet and keep your shoes smelling fresh. Choose sprays that have natural ingredients such as tea tree oil or peppermint oil, as they have antibacterial properties. 

Foot Deodorant Sprays

They work by neutralizing the odor and providing a refreshing scent. Spray your feet and shoes with foot deodorant before you wear them.

Moisture-Wicking Shoe Liners

Moisture-wicking shoe liners are another effective way to keep your feet dry and odor-free. They are designed to absorb sweat and prevent the growth of bacteria. Simply place them inside your shoes and replace them every few days.

Use Home Remedies

In addition to the above solutions, there are also several natural remedies you can try at home to eliminate foot odor. For example, soaking your feet in a mixture of warm water and vinegar or baking soda can help kill bacteria and neutralize odor. 

Other options include tea tree oil, Epsom salt, and essential oils.

Common Myths and Misconceptions About Smelly Feet

There are several myths and misconceptions about smelly feet that people often believe. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Myth: Smelly Feet are Caused by Poor Hygiene

While poor hygiene can certainly contribute to foot odor, it’s not the only cause. In fact, even people who wash their feet regularly can experience smelly feet if they have certain medical conditions or wear certain types of shoes.

Myth: Only People With Sweaty Feet Get Smelly Feet

While excessive sweating can certainly lead to foot odor, it’s not the only factor. Even people with relatively dry feet can experience foot odor if they wear shoes that don’t breathe or don’t practice proper foot hygiene.

Myth: Only Men Get Smelly Feet

Contrary to popular belief, foot odor is not limited to men. Both men and women can develop foot odor, and the causes and treatments are the same for both genders.

Myth: Only Certain Types of Shoes Cause Smelly Feet

Some people believe that only certain types of shoes, such as sneakers or boots, cause foot odor. However, any shoe that does not allow proper ventilation can contribute to foot odor.

This includes high heels, flats, and even sandals. Shoes made of synthetic materials or that do not have breathable linings can also contribute to foot odor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I prevent foot odor?

A: To prevent foot odor, make sure to wash your feet regularly and dry them thoroughly. Wear clean socks and change them frequently, especially if your feet sweat excessively. Avoid wearing shoes that do not allow proper ventilation and choose shoes made of breathable materials. Use foot powders or antiperspirant sprays to reduce sweating and kill bacteria.

Q: Why do my feet smell worse in the summer?

A: Feet tend to sweat more in hot and humid weather, providing an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. This can lead to an increase in foot odor during the summer months. Wearing sandals or open-toed shoes can also contribute to foot odor as they do not provide adequate ventilation.

Q: Is foot odor a sign of a medical condition?

A: In some cases, foot odor can be a sign of a medical condition such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), athlete’s foot, or toenail fungus. If you have persistent foot odor despite taking preventive measures, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional.


To sum up, many people experience smelly feet, and there are numerous myths and misunderstandings surrounding its origins and remedies. Although improper hygiene can worsen foot odor, it’s not the only cause, and both genders can encounter this issue. 

The main causes of foot odor are bacteria and sweat, and wearing shoes that don’t allow enough air to circulate can exacerbate the problem.

By adhering to good foot hygiene habits, wearing suitable shoes, and consulting with a medical professional if necessary, you can effectively handle foot odor and feel assured in any circumstance.

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Tessa Reynolds
Tessa is a Denver-based writer who likes to share her knowledge and personal experience in the form of articles. When she is not writing, you can probably find her skiing with her friends in the mountains of Colorado.