How to make your feet smell better

Each foot contains 250,000 sweat glands and feet create, on average, 20 to 30 gallons of sweat per year! Smelly feet, which is a condition also known as Bromodosis, is a common condition that is most often caused by a build-up of sweat that breeds bacteria. It’s the bacteria that causes the odour and in some cases a build-up can lead to infections such as athlete’s foot. However, in most cases, it is easy to treat smelly feet yourself following some daily routines to keep your feet as fresh as possible.

Girl with bare feet

How to stop your feet from smelling

These are our top tips on how to keep your feet in tip top condition.

1. Keep your feet clean and dry

It’s important to wash your feet at least once a day and dab them dry all around, particularly between your toes. Good foot health includes removing hard skin with a foot file and keeping toenails short and clean.

If you are prone to sweating then use an antibacterial soap if you can. Your local pharmacist can advise on antibacterial soaps, powders, and creams. The amount you sweat can be affected by a variety of things, including warmer weather, exercise, standing for long periods of time, weight gain, hormones and some specific medical conditions that your GP can advise you about.

2. Put new socks on every day

It’s thought that your socks will capture between five to eight gallons of sweat per year! Cotton is the most common type of sock material, but as a natural fibre it is very absorbent, so it holds onto the moisture from your feet and will hold the odour within too. The best chance of not transferring the odour to penetrate the leather inside your shoes is to change your socks after each wear, especially if you have undertaken sport or if you spend a lot of time on your feet each day. It is also possible to purchase antibacterial socks from your pharmacist that will help keep odour at bay.

3. Wear breathable socks

Synthetic fabric such as polyester is better for sweating feet. A polyester blend fabric helps to reduce rubbing blisters and the fabric is quick to dry, durable, breathable and easy to clean. The key point about this fabric is that it is able to keep moisture away from the skin so the busy hardworking feet aren’t damaged by damp conditions. Another sock fabric that is excellent for feet is Alpaca wool. As a natural fibre, it is breathable, hypoallergenic and wicks away moisture and odour, as opposed to absorbing it. It also helps your feet stay at an optimum temperature.

4. Use shoe sprays

Shoe sprays work by absorbing moisture and replacing any foot odour with a more pleasant scent. Spray directly into the shoe to enable the application to work its magic. If you feel that your feet sweat more than average and you need a little more help, then your pharmacist should be able to recommend special foot deodorant and medicated insoles for your shoes that will help you keep the sweat and odour under control.

How to stop your child’s feet from smelling

Children have extremely busy feet and each foot produces an egg cup of sweat every day! Here’s our top tips for keeping little feet in tip top condition:

1. Ensure their shoes fit properly

Children’s shoes must always allow for growing room so toes can wiggle while the heel grips the foot in place. Tight shoes won’t only hinder natural development, but the restricted room will also have an effect on air circulation inside the shoes, leading to increased trapped sweat and discomfort. If you are unsure if your child’s shoes are fitting correctly, use our handy Check the Fit guide and if you think you are ready for another pair, use our Measure at Home guide to get the perfect fit.

2. Encourage them to put new socks on each day

Children’s school socks come in a variety of fabrics, and the most common is a cotton blend. Cotton is great at absorbing sweat, but not so good at releasing it. To ensure little feet keep as fresh as possible, they should wear new socks each day and cotton socks need to be washed after every wear. If you can find suitable school socks in a polyester blend, then that fabric is better at protecting feet from sweat and quicker to dry. However, the golden rule still applies, always wash after wear and wear a new pair of socks every day.

3. Alternate their shoes

If possible allow shoes a full day off before wearing them again. We understand not all children will have access to two sets of school shoes, and the British weather puts a lot of demand on school shoes as children will be jumping between puddles all year round. School shoes will be getting damp inside with sweat and outside with puddles, so to protect their integrity it’s important to allow them to dry out fully between each wear. To keep the shoe shape and assist the drying process, place balls of newspaper inside the shoes. Read more about how to dry shoes quickly.

4. Wash their shoes

We do not recommend washing shoes at Start-Rite apart from our washable canvas, but there are a variety of ways that you can keep your child’s shoes clean and in great condition, such as using whitener, cleaning laces and polishing them. Read here for more guidance on how to keep shoes clean. And a top tip for keeping smells at bay, pantry staple Baking Soda will work wonders as a quick fix sprinkled inside the shoe and is a cheaper alternative to shop bought deodorisers.