Have you ever taken your sneakers off after a good run or a vigorous workout in your health club, and almost swooned from the funky smells rising up from your shoes?
I must admit I have had that experience on a few unfortunate occasions. Definitely not cool!
If your feet sweat a lot, you may have encountered an odor when you took your shoes off. While it is not uncommon for feet to sweat, no one wants to unveil embarrassing odors to those around them.
It’s pretty disturbing, to say the least.
So what can we do about it?
It’s an age-old question. Why do feet smell? The answer may surprise you.
If you think you’re alone, you are not. Millions of people suffer daily from embarrassing foot odor. Keep reading and find out why…
The Science of Sweat
The body sweats. It’s a fact. This is the way that the body cools itself off. The feet contain about a quarter of a million sweat glands on their surfaces alone. These glands are present all over the skin’s surface to help it get rid of dirt, bacteria and also maintain temperature.
You might be wondering why your arms or your legs don’t smell when they sweat. Would it surprise you to know that sweat has no odor at all? It is the reason that some poeple sweat and don’t offend others, while others can sweat even a little, and send an unpleasant odor around the room.
The skin’s surface contains bacteria. These bacteria are there to protect the body from invaders. But, bacteria have to eat something. When you sweat, they find this a scrumptious feeding ground. The by-product of bacterial digestion is the strong odor that is produced on your feet.
Feet work hard, holding us up and carrying us about — and they often develop the smell to prove it. The feet contain about 250,000 sweat glands. Combine this with the fact that feet are kept bottled up all day inside socks and shoes, and you have a very wet and dark place.
But, that alone won’t produce the odor. Sweat doesn’t smell. However, once the bacteria on your skin gain access to the sweat, their digestion process produces a strong odor which is what others smell. This odor can be mild or strong enough to bring tears to your eyes. It all depends on how much you sweat and how long you wear your shoes. People who have hair on their feet are doubly stressed with odor. This gives bacteria more surface area to use for feeding.
So, Why Feet?
Feet have something unique – socks and shoes. Walking around barefoot is not an option — especially in the city — as your feet will be unprotected from the elements and other damaging objects. So, you put on stockings or socks in the morning.
Socks can hold moisture against the surface of the foot all day or as long as you are wearing them. (Cotton socks do help the moisture to wick away from the skin and absorb into the material, lowering the amount of sweat that bacteria has to feed on.)
Shoes on top of socks can further increase the constriction. With nowhere for the sweat to go, it stays on the foot’s surface and produces odor through bacterial activity. The warm, dark, moist surroundings are perfect for this.
Some people sweat more than others. If you are predisposed to heavy sweating by genetics or other environmental factors like your job or exercise routine, odor will be more of a dilemma for you. But, you can fight back. Not everyone’s feet smell badly, so there have to be reasons that you can take advantage of as well.
Now that you know why feet smell, you can start combating the problem.
It’s time to ‘free our feet’ from foot odor!
Here are a few natural ways that you can prevent — or eliminate — foot odor, before it ruins your social life!
1. Change your socks frequently
If you seem to have inherited the ‘sweaty gene’, carry an extra pair or two of socks with you throughout the day. Change them when your feet begin to feel uncomfortable and moist in your shoes.
2. Wear open shoes
So that’s the reason why so many people wear sandals. Shoes that allow your feet to breathe also allow sweat to evaporate. (Now bacteria have nothing to feed on to produce odor.) In a corporate setting, you may not have the luxury of wearing open shoes, but you can take your shoes off in your office several times a day to allow the sweat to cool away.
3. Wash your feet with a natural foot soap
Frequent washing won’t dry your skin out, and it will keep the skin free from sweat. Do it in the middle of the morning and in the evening. At your desk you can also wipe your feet with a wet wipe and allow them to dry.
4. Soak feet in black tea
Tea is for more than just drinking. Black tea contains tannic acid which will keep your feet clean by killing bacteria and closing pores. Place tea bags on your feet to help pull out any odor.
5. Change your shoes daily
Most of us have our favorite pair of kicks or dress shoes that we wear to death. This only contributes to the odor on our feet, and that lingers in our shoes. Change up your shoes every other day to allow the worn ones to vent.
6. Apply a natural “baby powder” like cornstarch to your feet
This cools the surface of your feet and cuts down on perspiration.
7. Make your own herbal foot deodorizer
Refresh your sweaty feet with this simple natural remedy for foot odor using herbs and essential oils.
1/2 cup Peppermint, Rosemary or Sage Leaves
1/2 cup Baking Soda
5-10 drops Rosemary, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Sweet Orange or Eucalyptus Essential Oil
6 quarts Tap Water
A Large Pot
A Foot Tub
Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in the large pot
Remove the pot from the heat
Add your herb of choice
Cover the pot and steep for 30
Strain the infused water into the foot tub
Add baking soda and the essential oil to the water
Swish with your feet to blend
Soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes.
Then towel dry your feet and coat them with moisturizer such as coconut oil or shea butter.
So, if you have a problem with smelly feet, rest assured, you just may be able to ‘free your feet’ from foot odor without resorting to medicines.
Natural remedies for smelly feet abound. These are just a few.
Try these natural remedies first and hopefully you won’t be afraid to bare your feet again!
Have you experienced smelly feet? What actions or remedies worked for you? Share your comments with us below.