Many individuals laugh at the thought of smelly feet, but it isn’t very comical if you are self-conscious and have no idea about foot odour causes! “Cheesy feet” is a horrific problem to be dealing with, and nobody wants to go through it however it is a more common medical condition than you think. However, there are a few simple things you can do to keep your feet fresh. 


There are more sweat glands per inch in our feet than anywhere else in the body, which explains why they may get a little odorous from time to time. Their function is to keep the skin moist and supple and regulate temperatures when the weather is hot or if you suffer from unnaturally high temperature or while exercising. 

Put simply, they secrete at all times, not just in response to heat or exercises like other parts of the body. 

Did you know that the average foot has 250,000 sweat glands? That’s a lot of glands to be able to produce foot sweat. Meaning they are capable of producing up to half a litre of sweat a day. Sweat has essential functions, when contained within a shoe, with excess evaporating. Open shoes allow evaporation of sweat which leads to dry skin, especially in the summer. 


Bromhidrosis is where sweaty and smelly feet combine together at any time of year. The condition usually involves apocrine sweat glands found in the armpit, the groin and on the feet. It is highly embarrassing and unpleasant for those that suffer from it. 

Foot odours are caused by bacteria on the skin breaking down the sweat and releasing a repugnant smell; it can be influenced by changes in hormonal levels. Teenagers and pregnant ladies are more prone due to hormonal changes. 

Other contributing factors include: 

  • Spending all day on your feet 
  • Severe amounts of stress
  • Hyperhidrosis, which makes you sweat more than usual 
  • Fungal infections 
  • Sweat soaked shoes that have not been allowed to dry properly 
  • Bacteria on the skin breaking down sweat as it comes from pores
  • Unpleasant odours arising as the sweat decomposes

How can smelly feet be prevented? 

You can try the below tips either individually or combined to assist.

  • Partake in good personal hygiene, wash and dry your feet every day efficiently.
  • Use anti-bacterial soap
  • Change your shoes regularly and discard old worn-out shoes 
  • Change your socks at least once a day 
  • Clean the insides of your shoes with an anti-bacterial solution 
  • Wipe between your toes with cotton wool and surgical spirit
  • Use foot powder/spray deodorant or antiperspirant 
  • Wear leather or canvas shoes 
  • Wear open-toed shoes in the summer and go barefoot at home in the evening

Smelly feet are a common problem and usually clear up without any guidance in a short amount of time with some tender love and care. Occasionally, smelly feet can be a sign of a broader medical condition; if it is persistent, you should seek help from a medical professional