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Why Do My Feet Stink (And How Do I Make Them Smell Better)?

As much as we love swapping tips and tricks to solve our biggest beauty dilemmas, there are some questions we may not feel comfortable asking our friends about, let alone Google without going incognito. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. In this series, we’re tackling those embarrassing beauty queries by turning to experts in the field to get you the answers you need — minus any awkward feelings.


There’s an anxiety-inducing horror in removing your shoes at a friend’s house only for bad B.O. to waft into the air. Stinky feet might be one of the most embarrassing bodily odors, but it’s a lot more common than you’d think. Below, find out what causes smelly feet and how to get rid of the odor STAT.

What causes stinky feet?

Going sans socks is a common culprit for foot odor, but stench can also occur with them. That’s because it’s not entirely about what’s on but what’s coming out of your feet (apologies for the visual). “Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis is the number one cause of smelly feet,” says Sophia Soloman, a board-certified podiatrist at Manhattan Foot Specialists in New York City. When feet sweat, they essentially create a tropical rainforest inside your shoes (especially between the dark, moist crevices of your toes), or the type of environment odor-causing bacteria and fungus thrive in. (Photo via Happycity21/ Getty)

Not plagued with sweaty feet? According to Suzanne C. Fuchs, a board-certified podiatrist in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, stinky feet “can be worsened by the type of shoes you wear, poor hygiene, or other foot issues such as fungal infections.” The upside to all of this is there are ways to make your soles smell better.

What’s the best way to improve foot hygiene?

Nip stench-causing hygiene in the bud and first look to your footwear. “I see a lot of people who like wearing shoes such as boat shoes or loafers without socks,” Fuchs notes. “This is a bad idea because the moisture or sweat from your feet will worsen by the fabric and friction in your shoe.” While sweaty feet can still occur, sweat-wicking socks help absorb excess moisture and can also decrease the amount of bacteria living inside your sneakers. “I recommend socks that are anti-bacterial such as those with copper or silver,” says Fuchs. She also suggests temperature-regulating fabrics (think: merino wool or nylon and polyester blends), since “cotton socks actually keep heat and moisture in and cause an increase in sweat and bacteria.” (Photo via Dmitry Belyaev/ Getty)

Then consider the way you wash your feet in the shower (or take note if you don’t). According to Fuchs, even if you skip a shower, you should still suds up your feet once or twice a day with soap and water. “Don’t forget to dry thoroughly, especially between your toes,” she says. Blotting post-rinse helps keep moisture out of those bacteria-prone areas and can reduce the risk of smelly feet.

Another way to ward off foot odor is to stock up on powders, sprays, and antiperspirants. When selecting a deodorizing product, reach for something that contains ingredients such as moisture-absorbing white clay or arrowroot powder, as well as essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus to help improve the smell overall. Fat and the Moon’s Healing Foot Powder ($12) checks both of these boxes with a formula enhanced by white clay, black walnut hulls, arrowroot powder, tea tree oil, and lavender essential oil. Together these ingredients countercheck stench-causing bacteria and protect against fungus formation as a whole.

If your feet still stink (even after trying all of the above), you could have a fungal infection. Be sure to check in with your doctor to rule out any issues that require a prescription foot lotion or other medical-related remedies.

Have any more awkward beauty questions? Let us know @BritandCo!

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.

Alright, folks. We've officially made it to fall. And if you haven't already started switching out your decor (as long as it's ready by Friendsgiving, right?) you still have time to do so. Draw inspiration from this round-up of new home products that includes harvest-inspired candles, cozy linens and textiles, and a v. practical piece of furniture. One scroll through these, and you'll have all the motivation you need to transition the seasons. Scroll on to start shopping.

Prism x LOREM Collection ($96+): Calling all Cali babes. The popular Long Beach boutique, Prism, announced a boho-fabulous collab with home decor line, LOREM, that we can't get enough of. Shop everything from plant hangers (eight options, to be exact) to artwork, all inspired by the very colorful vibes of the brands. If you were looking for a cheery way to tide you through winter, this. is. it!

Floyd Mattress (Price TBD): Fans of the cult-favorite Detroit-based brand will love their latest launch debuting on October 29. The highly-coveted Floyd Mattress will have the same made-to-last design and superior comfort as their other furnishings, tailored perfectly to fit the line's in-demand bed frame. Additional details for the mattress include a breathable foam material, highly-mobile packaging, and a low-profile design to secure your best night's sleep yet. Check back on the last week of the month to get one for yourself.

Dims 'Composed Vanity' ($595): Small space? No problem! Direct-to-consumer brand, Dims, is giving you a quick and stylish solution to your storage needs with their newest item that doubles as both a desk and vanity. The functional piece is made with non-toxic, chemical-free materials and can be assembled in seven minutes or less. Throw in four sleek shades to choose from, and this may just be your best purchase of 2019 yet!

Saatchi Art x The Citizenry Holiday Collection ($225+): Get ready to deck your walls this holiday season. Saatchi Art partnered with The Citizenry in a one-of-a-kind collection that features a curation of art across styles. Explore everything from modern to abstract creations in a selection so stunning, it's bound to spark a conversation at your next gathering.

NEST Spiced Orange & Clove Collection ($16+): If you haven't experienced the addicting aromas of the beloved NEST fragrance brand, this is the perfect time to get on board! The label recently released their latest scent — spiced orange & clove — just in time for all your gatherings. Inhale festive notes of orange pomander, spiced brandy, cinnamon, and gingered honey across their suite of candles and diffusers to bring all the good vibes to your home.

Bloomingdales x RiLEY Home ($19+): RiLEY Home gets millennials. So they teamed up with Bloomingdales to make shopping their selection more attainable than ever. Now, you can get in on long-lasting, luxurious staples like flannel sheets, bedding, printed throws, premium pet beds, and more, by shopping online and in-stores at the department store. (Trust us: These dream goods are ones you're going to be *glad* you stocked-up on.)

Italic Serene Towels ($12+): The luxury brand that prides itself on using the *same* factories namesake brands (like Calvin Klein and Lacoste) use, but without the price tag behind them, brings you a new product for fall. Treat yourself to Italic's ultra-soft towel set spun from fluffy, 100% Australian cotton, in a convenient set of six. Consider it the perfect indulgence after a long soak in the tub on a cozy FNI (Friday night in)!

Hyascent x Neiman Marcus ($169): 'Tis the season for a delightfully scented home. Warm your abode with scents like bourbon joy, cheeky rose and more in a unique diffuser that doubles more as decor than a fragrance-inducer. Fresh off the (online) shelves of Neiman Marcus, explore nine scents that last up to six months in a specialized hourglass holder. (Shhh! Your friends will never know the secret of why your place smells so darn good!)