Imagine you have just finished your intense workout and now heading towards the locker room with your gym partner to cool off. The moment you take off your trainer, it fills the room with a foul odor. Undoubtedly nobody wants to face such a mortifying situation.
Despite the inconvenience, having smelly feet due to excessive sweat is quite common and, in fact, a natural process. All we need is proper care and using some breathable shoes, like the well-known Loom sneakers, to reduce the pesky smell from the sweat.
In this article, we will look at why our feet become stinky, how we can avoid it, and a few best waterproof breathable shoes.
Let’s get started.
What Causes Smelly Feet?
Although sweating is a normal bodily function, it is still a nuisance. In severe cases, it leads to the pesky stench. Also, it can cause bacterial infections like athlete’s foot or toenail fungus.
We have sweat glands in different parts of our body. Do you know our feet alone have about 250,000 sweat glands? In typical cases, these sweat glands produce more than two cups of sweat.
Naturally, there are some bacterias on our feet, and these bacteria break down the sweat and release an odor. When there is excessive moisture in the shoes, it leads to an increase in the smell.
Carelessness in terms of infrequent foot washing, and not changing socks for a long time can also allow bacteria to grow on your feet.
Prolong workouts and running errands in scorching heat can drench us in sweat in no time. While our body naturally cools off, the sweat in our shoes remains there and starts to irritate.
We often overlook these factors, which lead us to never-ending smelly feet problems later. As to why sweating causes stinky feet, it has both Internal and external reasons.
● Internal Factors
There is an inherited condition called Hyperhidrosis, which causes excessive sweat in feet. Regardless of the weather or other conditions, some people tend to sweat a lot more than others.
While sweat is a way for our body to cool off, too much perspiration shelters a bacterium called Bromodosis that generates an unpleasant smell. It thrives in damp conditions, and as our feet can stay moist due to wearing tight shoes or wearing most time of the day, it produces the foul smell.
There isn’t any apparent cause for Hyperhidrosis. However, it can still be managed by taking good care of foot hygiene and investing in durable and waterproof breathable shoes to avoid moisture accumulating on your skin.
In women and young adults, fluctuating hormonal changes can lead to over sweating or hot flushes. Surging hormones activate the sweat glands, and it is mostly centered around armpits, palms, and feet, thus causing bacteria to break down this sweat and release an odor.
3- Emotional State
A type of sweat gland called apocrine is known to make you sweat during stress or anxiety. Apocrine also carries a stench and therefore gets you in an uncomfortable situation.
Someone who continually stays on foot all day and faces stress is prone to sweat heavier than others.
● External Factors
1- Worn-out Footwear
After a workout or a long day, we make sure to vent and dry the sweat off our bodies. The same is not the case with our feet.
All that moisture from the sweat stays trapped inside your shoes with no ventilation. Even when you take off the boots and leave them as it is, the moisture doesn’t dry off, leaving room for bacteria to flourish.
The type of shoe and socks we wear plays a significant role in exacerbating or diminishing sweat. Therefore, next time while shopping, make sure to look out for the porous breathable shoes and socks that can ventilate the sweat.
Some brands, like Loom Footwear or Nike, have made some smart and trendy breathable shoes.
We all have already heard; we are what we eat. Along with the effect on our overall health, food intake can also play a part in triggering sweat.
Spicy food, hot drinks, and alcohol are known to stimulate perspiration. Warm food tends to elevate body temperature, which results in overall sweating.
If you have a problem with sweaty and smelly feet, try to avoid or minimize the intake of spicy food.
3- Humid Conditions
A hot and humid condition due to weather or prolonged exercising is a common reason for excessive sweating. Coupled with the above factors, it can drench you from top to toe.
How to Avoid Smelly Feet?
Now that we know what causes feet to smell, we can look into options and measures we can take to prevent this first-hand embarrassment and annoyance.
1- Invest in Quality Footwear
By now, we have realized that the main culprit of a smelly crime scene is our shoes. Footwear made with poor quality of fabric can become a den for the bacteria to feast on all the absorbed moisture.
Therefore, it is inevitable to invest in waterproof breathable shoes. Breathable shoes not only allow feet to get some air but also ventilate any moisture that might end up because of sweat.
Avoid using shoes made with rubber, plastic, and synthetic material as they trap dampness, resulting in over sweating. A breathable shoe with features like mesh uppers and minimal overlays is recommended.
Also, make a habit of washing and drying your shoes now and then. Your shoes also need some air and sun.
Leave shoes in the sun for some time, allowing it to completely dry and killing off any bacteria that thrive in damp and darkness.
2- Shuffle and Replace Shoes
Using one pair of shoes for all of your errands is not a good idea. Not only will the shoes tear down sooner but also cause odor due to continuous moisture.
It is better to have a separate pair of shoes for your house, gym, and work. Remove your shoes once you are home and take out insoles and socks.
Allow it to dry so that it prevents bacteria from growing inside. Don’t use worn-out shoes as they cause only more sweat and smell because of their destitute condition.
At least replace the insoles of the shoes with insoles specifically made to reduce sweat and odor.
3- Don’t Forget the Socks
Socks are the partner in crime with the shoes. Their offence is similar. They stop the moisture from evaporating.
Socks made with moisture-wicking material are known to pull sweat away and help in reducing foot sweat. One of the best options out there are socks made of Coolmax, copper, wool.
A better option is to keep the odor off is to have a pair of socks with you. So that you can dry and change when it gets too sweaty.
Lastly, don’t skip the socks, because they work as a barrier between your sweat and shoes. You might think it will allow some air but soon find you will be drenched in sweat.
4- Over the Counter Antiperspirants
Yes, you read it right, there are also Antiperspirants and deodorants explicitly made for feet. Several cheap and effective over the counter antiperspirants are available in the market that helps control odor and sweat.
Another useful option is something called deodorant balls that you can put in your shoes, and it absorbs the sweat. Similarly, there are deodorant foot liners that can help both in foot pain and sweat.
5- Foot Hygiene
Most of us follow our skincare routine religiously. Cleansing, toning, moisturizing, for healthy and refreshing skin.
Then why not step ahead and make foot care also a part of your overall skin-ritual.
- When coming back from the gym or work, remove the shoes immediately.
- Seek out and try recommended antibacterial soap to wash your feet regularly.
- Make sure to dry them thoroughly so that no wet residue is left.
- For added benefit, use all-natural talcum or anti-fungal powder.
- Treat yourself by buying and using moisture-wicking scrubs that can aid you in keeping your feet fresh and sweat-free.
6- Seek Help from Podiatrist
Some time due to carelessness or lack of awareness, severe sweating, and smell can result in bacterial infection. Although it's uncommon for people with excessive sweating to reach for medical care if all else fails, then seek help from Podiatrist.
A Podiatrist can help identify the underlying cause of over sweating and treat you accordingly. Most likely, a podiatrist can do a starch-iodine test for diagnosis.
Based on the symptoms, it can prescribe antiperspirants or oral medication such as anticholinergics. Botox injections for temporary relief can be an alternative way.
In severe cases, a person might have to go through a surgical procedure to prevent the nerves responsible for signaling excessive sweat.
Best Breathable Shoes for Smelly Feet
Now, as we know what causes smelly feet and how can we avoid it, let’s look at five top breathable shoes that can change your life.
1- Loom Breathable Sneakers - Men & Women
Combine high breathability with extra comfort, throw in some waterproofing magic, and we have a winner. Loom Breathable Sneakers succeeded in building a high reputation within a few years of their launch.
How? By fulfilling customers’ expectations.
Loom sneakers are known for their breathability and waterproofing qualities. There aren’t many examples in the footwear industry that provide you with a classic blend of style, breathability, and waterproofness.
Their four-layered construction allows them to absorb all the water and sweat that is inside them, leaving your feet dry and odor-free.
Let’s look at the construction of the Loom shoe layer-by-layer to have a clear picture.
The first layer is the H2-GO material which helps in keeping your feet sweat-free all day long. Sweaty feet are always a big no-no since they are full of smell and embarrassment.
The next layer is made of Loom Wear Merino Wool that keeps your feet cool. This again provides better ventilation, hence helps in minimizing odors.
Then comes another Merino Wool layer that will be under your feet. Along with providing better cushioning, this layer makes Loom Sneakers different from all other sweat-free shoes as it absorbs all the sweat that gets collected at the bottom.
This provides your feet with dual protection from sweaty and smelly feet.
Last but not least, the next layer is the Excel outsole of Loom Sneakers that provides you with better traction.
Despite a four-layered construction, Loom shoes are super-lightweight. This makes these shoes a great choice for almost everyone.
- Waterproof sneaker
- Anti-odor (contains antimicrobial material to kill odor-producing bacteria )
- Super lightweight
- Highly comfortable
- Only available in two colors
2- Nike Men’s Roshe Run
You weren’t expecting this list to end without a Nike, were you? Well, here it is.
The Nike Men’s Roshe Run is for those who like to hustle hard but also like to keep their feet odor-free and fresh.
What features help the Roshe Run in keeping your feet dry? Let’s find out.
The Nike Roshe Run features an open mesh upper that allows high ventilation during intense workouts and long runs. It’s low-top design also includes a cushioned collar to keep your ankles safe from rubbing irritation.
Along with these features, the Roshe Run also has a Solarsoft sock liner and a super-lightweight outsole. The uppers of these shoes are entirely made of mesh, a material known for high breathability and ventilation.
The Solarsoft sock liner ensures better comfort while providing some extra moisture-wicking qualities.
This keeps your feet super-dry and healthy during extremely hot conditions. A synthetic, lightweight insole adds to the cushioning of the shoe while a patterned outsole provides superb traction on multiple surfaces.
Furthermore, they provide custom fit through a durable lace system. These shoes are available in various colors. However, keep in mind that the prices may vary accordingly.
- Mesh outer
- High ventilation
- Solarsoft sock liner
- Better traction
- Size may vary
3- Merrell Women's Siren Edge Q2
Merrel has a name in the footwear industry for creating innovative products. And the Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Q2 is no less.
It is specially designed for people who like to lead an active lifestyle. Let’s see how these shoes can keep your feet odor-free and fresh.
The Siren Edge features a durable mesh and synthetic upper that allows high breathability while keeping the shoes as light as feathers.
As these shoes are designed specifically for women, their construction provides high stability and cushioning in a gender-specific way.
The Siren Edge Q2 brings together a plethora of features to keep your feet pain-free, odor-free and super-healthy.
These features include a heel-centric design, supportive synthetic cage, mesh construction for breathability, and a dual-density foam midsole for better shock absorption.
Furthermore, the inside of these shoes is treated with M Select Fresh treatment for odor prevention. Lastly, the Merrell grip outsole provides better traction and strong support.
- M Select Fresh treated inner
- Mesh and synthetic outer
- High cushioning
- Better traction
- Make noise
- Not enough arch support
4- Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent
Another great option from Merrell’s closet is the Men’s Moab 2 Vent. If you are wondering what Moab stands for, it is “Mother of all boots”. That’s a huge claim to make.
Let’s look at its features to see if Moab 2 Vent stands up to such high claims.
With a mesh upper and inner, the Moab 2 Vent provides a highly breathable environment for your feet. Also, this construction ensures sweat prevention.
Other materials used in the making of Moab include synthetic leather that adds to the shoes’ aesthetic visuals, and rubber to make the toe cap that provides protection to the leather design against scarring.
Also, Moab 2 Vent features a Bellows foam tongue that keeps the moisture and debris from entering the shoes. Furthermore, they have the traditional lace-up closure to provide you with a custom fit.
Reasonable price, a secure fit, breathable lining, and elegant design, what else could you ask for?
- Mesh Construction
- High breathability
- Bellow foam tongue
- Arch support
- Cost varies with size
- Takes time to dry
5- Skechers Men’s Performance Go-Walk 3
Skechers is known for manufacturing trend-savvy shoes for men, women, and children. While being extremely comfortable and highly fashionable, Skechers' shoes are also very breathable.
This is especially true for Skechers Performance Go-Walk 3.
Performance Go-Walk 3 has a super-trendy slip-on design and full mesh construction. This makes up for its high breathability.
It features a Goga Pillars® sole that provides you with a solid footing while being super comfy and soft.
Furthermore, the Performance Go-Walk 3 has a 1.5 inches heel to support your feet in every possible way. Due to full-mesh construction, these shoes are super-lightweight.
They also feature a full length Go Mat energy return insole. These help in saving your feet from sudden impact.
The heels and inside of the shoes are highly cushioned to give your feet a feel-at-home vibe. Moreover, along with providing super-breathability, the shoes upper gives an excellent fit to your feet.
- Lightweight construction
- Excellent breathability
- High cushioning
- Size may vary
- Not as durable
Every now and then, for one reason or another, we all have to deal with sweaty or smelly feet. It is an inevitable annoyance, but with proper care like frequent foot cleansing and wise decisions to invest in moisture-wicking socks and breathable shoes, we can ward the stench off easily.
So, next time before going to the gym, don’t forget to buy those waterproof breathable shoes that you already were eyeing for some time.
They will not only give you a slick look in front of your gym partner but will also save you from any stinky accidents.