For most people, the fundamental cause of smelly foot odor is the process of bacteria feeding on nutrients in human sweat. The waste products left behind from this process have an odor that many people find unpleasant, and the smell can linger for a significant length of time once it develops. There are many reasons why certain people have more problems with smelly foot odor than others, but usually it is due to an excess of moisture, sometimes resulting from a greater general tendency to sweat. The styles of the shoes a person prefers, along with the frequency in changing shoes, and overall hygienic diligence can all play a role as well.
Some people have a tendency to produce more sweat, a condition called hyperhidrosis, and this can lead to greater problems with body odor including smelly foot odor. For some people, this tendency to sweat excessively is particularly focused in certain areas, such the bottoms of the feet and the palms, and these individuals may have even more issues with foot odor than other sufferers. Hyperhidrosis is sometimes treatable with various medicines, and people with the disorder can make certain lifestyle adjustments to reduce their problems.
Another thing that can lead to smelly foot odor for some people is too much time spent wearing the same pair of shoes. When someone sweats constantly into the same shoes without giving them time to dry out, it can have a cumulative effect, resulting in more odor than would normally occur. This is especially true in cases where the shoes themselves are designed so that they don’t let much air circulate, leading to an environment that promotes excessive moisture and more bacteria. To avoid this problem, some individuals purchase multiple sets of shoes and switch between them on a regular schedule.
There are also several products and specialized remedies to specifically deal with smelly foot odor. For example, there are powders designed for sprinkling in the soles of shoes to fight off bacterial infestations and give the shoes a more pleasant smell. Some people also choose to use antiperspirants and deodorants on their feet, which can sometimes be helpful. Washing the feet regularly is another potential remedy, along with salting the feet and adding baking soda to the insides of the shoes to reduce moisture accumulation. If the problem has continued for a long time with a single pair of shoes, experts suggest it can be helpful to remove the soles and replace them.