Foot odor is hardly a life-threatening condition, but it certainly can be distressing. It is embarrassing for people who suffer with smelly feet to be placed in a position where they have to take their shoes off in public. (Think airport security.) Families may also complain about them taking their shoes off in private.
We are enthusiastic about simple measures that can help control foot odor. One reader shared his favorite method.
Going Barefoot to Get Rid of Foot Odor:
Q. When you write about foot odor, allow me to recommend a simple treatment: Take your shoes and socks off! The organisms that cause noxious foot odor thrive in warm, dark, moist environments and feed on dead skin cells sloughed off the feet.
Deprive them of their sustenance, and they die off in short order. So whenever it’s socially acceptable, go barefoot. (Not socks-only, not slippers – barefoot.)
A. You are quite right about the cause of foot odor. Your solution is appealing, but in some seasons and locales it is impractical. We imagine few people could walk around Chicago or Buffalo barefoot at this frigid time of year.
Fortunately, there are other ways to handle foot odor. Soaking the feet in a solution of Epsom salts or baking soda is one simple method that many people have found helpful.
Some families use zinc supplements based on the old adage “Take zinc-don’t stink.” Zinc can cause nausea, and long term a dose over about 25 mg/day could interfere with the balance of other critical minerals, especially copper. Here is a link to some helpful information about zinc if going barefoot is not the most practical way to manage your smelly feet today.
If you are interested in other ways to get rid of foot odor, you may wish to download our free Guide to Smelly Feet.