After a long day in your shoes, it's not unusual to be greeted by an unpleasant odor when you take them off, especially in the winter when you’re wearing heavy socks and boots, which both contribute to excess sweating by your feet.
To help prevent these unattractive odors, there are easy remedies, some of which don’t even require a visit to your doctor. But to understand the remedies, let’s first understand what causes foot odor.
Foot odor, just like underarm odor, is the result of bacteria acting on chemicals in your sweat. If you don’t sweat or there isn’t much bacteria, then there isn’t an odor. But if there’s a lot of sweat or bacteria, it will really smell. Bacteria thrives and multiplies in moist, warm areas, so if your feet sweat, the bacteria will grow and multiply, and the odor will get worse. This is why anything that decreases either perspiration or the bacteria will significantly reduce the odor.
For starters, to reduce the amount of sweat, try using your regular underarm antiperspirant.
In the morning in the bath or shower, make sure you soap between your toes as well as the entire bottom of your foot. Then thoroughly dry your toes and feet and use your antiperspirant on your feet and between your toes. If that doesn’t help you may want to try Certain Dri, a very potent antiperspirant.
Since antiperspirants decrease the amount of sweat and deodorants reduce the amount of bacteria, if you’re still having a problem, get one labeled as both antiperspirant and deodorant, like this Arrid product, to help reduce both perspiration and bacteria.
Additionally, after applying the antiperspirant, deodorant, also apply some powder like Zeasorb which further helps by absorbing moisture.
If you still haven't beaten back your foot odor, then try applying a topical acne fighting antibiotic lotion, gel or solution on the bottom of your feet and between the toes. It will better help eliminate the odor causing bacteria. And also… avoid ointment and cream products.
Unfortunately, oral antibiotics won’t work here because the bacteria are on your skin, not in it.
Extreme cases may require a change of socks during the day and reapplication of the topical products, but everyone can reduce if not actually eliminate foot odors with these simple measures.