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Sweaty Feet In Hiking Boots? Tips To Keep ‘Em Cool And Dry

They say that women don’t sweat, they merely glow. Well, I glow like a pig. After a few miles’ hiking, my feet look like I’ve just got out of the shower.

Sweat cools the body 22 times more efficiently than air, apparently, so at least this makes me more comfortable in hot weather.

The only sensation that’s really unbearable is slimy, swampy, sweaty feet. My toes slide around and the damp skin chafes painfully.

The sweat ferments inside my boots, and by the time I get to camp, the smell of my socks could intimidate a skunk.

Judging by the racks of foot deodorants available in the average camping shop, I’m not the only one with this issue.

So what’s the problem? And more importantly, the solution?


Why do so many hikers suffer from uncomfortably sweaty feet?

A lot of it is due to the nature of our hobby. The exertion and friction of a strenuous walk increases blood flow to the feet, making them warmer.

Thick socks and tight-laced walking boots trap the heat and stop sweat from evaporating. This leads to the ‘sauna boots’ feeling backpackers know so well.

Walking long distances with sweaty feet is not only uncomfortable, but can be dangerous

Warmth and perspiration soften the skin, which makes blisters form more easily and can cause painful cracking when your skin dries out.

Wet skin is more susceptible to fungal infections, and at high altitudes damp skin dramatically increases the risk of frostbite.


Skin care tips to reduce sweating during hiking

Any spray antiperspirant will help to keep your feet dry– there are brands made especially for hikers’ feet, but a cheap brand for underarms will do the same job.

Don’t mess with foot powders. They soak up sweat before it becomes an issue but most contain cornstarch which makes an ideal growing bed for fungus when moist.

  • If you suffer from serious odor when walking, hiking or backpacking then get the special antiseptic foot powders without corn starch. Stay away from baby powder.

Hardcore backpackers treat their feet with astringent rubs to toughen the skin. In layman’s terms, an astringent is a chemical which stings your skin and causes your pores to close temporarily, which reduces sweating.

Astringents include; acacia, alum, bayberry, distilled vinegar, sage, yarrow, witch hazel, very cold water, and rubbing alcohol.

An old climbers trick:

Several days before your trip, spray your feet every day with Arid Extra Dry. Alpinists and mountaineers do this to reduce sweating of the feet and avoid frostbite at altitude. Not guaranteed but it may work for you too.

Everything from alcohol gels to formaldehyde can be used to reduce foot sweating for a few hours.

Old-fashioned remedies include soaking in black tea (feels nice, doesn’t work very well) and the military trick of urinating on your own feet (works, but I’d rather be sweaty.)

  • Note: Bear in mind that extremely sweaty feet (plantar hyperhidrosis) can be a sign of a medical issue. If your feet sweat constantly, even when you’re not hiking, then better socks won’t help you – you’ll need to seek medical attention.


Hiking socks to keep feet cool and dry & for extra skin comfort

Every hiker has their own special preference for socks that keep feet cool. Wearing quality socks is essential as they will also help prevent foot problems including; pain, numbness, swelling, cracks, foot odor, blisters, and skin maceration.

To combat sweat, it’s wise to wear thin moisture-wicking socks next to the skin, plus a pair of outer socks on top to protect your feet from rubbing. Here’s an overview of popular hiking liner socks.

The layer next to the skin is the most important choice. Cotton socks feel cool and allow feet to breathe on long hikes, but they quickly become sodden with sweat and take a long time to dry out.

Wool absorbs perspiration into the core of the fiber (unlike cotton, which simply soaks through) so the surface stays relatively dry to the touch, but wool socks are so warm that they can actually increase your rate of perspiration while walking.

A highly recommended option are Merino wool socks which are praised for their unique ability to keep feet warm and cool as well as reduce odor and sweating.

Polyester dries quickly, but isn’t absorbent, so can make sweaty feet feel a bit slimy.

Whatever your choice of fabric, be sure to pull your liner socks up high – they should stick out above the top of your boots, so the moisture they wick away will have a chance to evaporate instead of being trapped next to your feet.


How to choose the right hiking boots

When it comes to hiking shoes, look for footwear which dries quickly.

The most suitable boots for sweaty feet are light, non-waterproof, and not too heavily padded. Of course it’s a matter of taste too, but I prefer non-waterproof footwear because water-proof shoes don’t breathe thus making your feet wet from sweat.

Also because previous boots became non-waterproof after a while which really sucked because they didn’t keep my feet dry anymore, nor did they ever dry out completely.

Decide if you really need water-proof hiking boots. Often, these will not keep your feet dry.

Obviously it depends on where you hike or backpack. In areas lots of mud pits and stream crossings you will be happier wearing waterproof footwear than while backpacking in Bangkok. Here, trail runners or similar footwear may be more appropriate.

Waterproofing keeps rain out, but traps sweat in.

My favorite hiking shoe options..

  1. Simple, light, all leather (unlined) hiking shoes. They are waterproof which is nice. Downside of such hiking boots is that they are heavy.
  2. Non-waterproof trail runners or hiking shoes. The importance of hiking footwear weight is often underestimated. Extra weight on your feet will drain your energy.

Wear leather boots, without membranes, that are not waterproof with gaiters, to keep most moist out. You will have to go stand in a river to soak them, otherwise they will keep your feet dry.

Other options

Fancy supportive cushioning, while it might feel nice underfoot, is a breeding ground for the bacteria which cause foot odor and skin infections.

For this, cheap boots can be more suitable than expensive ones for people who get sweaty feet.

The most comfortable footwear I’ve found is a pair of stout hiking sandals worn with fine-knit absorbent socks underneath.

It’s hardly a stylish solution, but when you’re on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere, the sheep won’t laugh at you. I also have had great experiences with Merrell hiking shoes.

When shopping for hiking shoes, make sure to pay attention to..

Types of Hiking Boot Uppers

Even more so as with normal shoes, hiking boot materials impact a boot’s breathability.

  • Full-grain leather: highly durable, scratch and water resistant. Common in backpacking boots. Requires ample break-in time.
  • It is not as light or breathable as nylon/split-grain leather combinations.
  • Split-grain leather: lighter than full-grain, less water resistant. Often combined with nylon or nylon mesh for breathable, lightweight characteristics.
  • Nubuck leather:  is processed full-grain leather to resemble suede. Durable, flexible, and water resistant. water and abrasion. Requires break-in time.
  • Synthetics: such as nylon, polyester, and “synthetic leather” are lighter than leather, more affordable and dry faster. Less durable.
  • Waterproof membranes: hiking boots may sport uppers manufactured with breathable waterproof membranes (i.e.  eVent® , Gore-Tex®). Membranes lower breathability which can cause foot perspiration.

Then there’s hiking footwear with specialized technologies such as;

  • M Select FRESH prevents odor
  • Waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining


Check out these popular breathable hiking boots on Amazon


Tips on how to keep hiking feet fresh

When you’re planning to walk for more than a couple of hours, make sure to bring a spare pair of dry socks to change into.

Backpackers on long trips often bring three pairs: one to wear, one in the bag, and a just-washed pair pinned to their backpack to dry.

Every few hours, you take off your sweaty socks, rinse them, and rotate the pairs. That way, however much you sweat, you’ll always have a clean(ish) and dry pair of socks to change into.

If it’s really cold, you can use an old military trick instead and dry your soggy socks by tucking them into your underarms.

In theory, it’s important to wear different shoes every day to allow your footwear to dry fully, which prevents sweat-damp insoles from ripening into full-blown stink.

If you’re backpacking, though, a spare pair of boots can add 4 pounds to your load, and that just isn’t practical. Bringing another pair of insoles is.

To help the sweat dry from your single pair of boots, bring a pair of lightweight shoes (like flip-flops or Crocs) to change into as soon as you’ve made camp.

When you only have a few hours to dry your damp boots, it helps to invert them. If you leave your shoes upright overnight, then all the day’s accumulated sweat will drip down the sides and pool in the sole, making for a squishy surprise when you put them on the next morning. Yum.

If you can’t balance them upside down, then undo the laces partway and string them from a beam in your tent.

Getting into a routine

On a long hike, it’s essential to get into a routine to keep your feet dry and comfortable – once you notice your sweaty toes are starting to blister, the damage has already been done.

Every time you stop for a break, elevate your feet and remove your shoes so you can cool off. If it’s too cold or wet to actually take your shoes off, then at least untie the laces and pull the tongues loose to get some air to circulate.

Try to stop your legs overheating, too. Your feet will always get warm on a strenuous hike, but by keeping your legs cool with loose clothing and breathable fibers, it can help counteract some of the heat inside your boots.

Bringing it all together

A combination of these tricks – better skincare, lighter boots, regular changes of socks – should help reduce that swampy feeling when you hike. My favorite combination is leather shoes and merino wool socks.

Feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body, so although it’s easy to minimize perspiration when you’re hiking, it’s impossible to prevent it totally.

When I’m walking in hot weather and my sweat glands are overpowering my wicking socks, I cheer myself up with a science fact: the bacteria which make feet smell, Brevibacterium, can live only on human feet.

When my socks are wringing wet with sweat, I like to think that the Brevibacterium regard me as a magnanimous god, generously donating sweat so they may feast and multiply.


You may also like:

The Best Way To Dry Wet Sweaty Shoes and Boots


The Best Socks For Sweaty Smelly Feet



7 Celebrities With Stinky Feet

Thought celebrities don’t suffer from smelly feet because they look neat and clean? Boy you are wrong.

The following popular names are known to emit a “disturbing” scent. Some of them have other personal hygiene issues too.

1. Britney Spears

First on the list is celebrity pop singer Britney Spears. She has been involved in too many controversies particularly on misbehavior and questions on her abilities as a mother.

But apparently, she also has problems taking care of herself especially on hygiene. In a sexual harassment complaint filed by her former bodyguard Fernando Flores, it also stated that Spears can go on days without taking a bath, without tooth brushing, using a deodorant, and not wearing shoes and socks.

Her stinky feet were discovered during a flight from LA to New York. To make herself more comfortable, she took her shoes off which caused the air around her to smell very bad.

Several passengers, the stench in their nostrils, complained about Britney’s odor prompting the flight crew to ask her to put her shoes back on.

According to reports, Britney’s excuse was that the shoes are making her feet smell and not the other way around. But thankfully, she complied and worn the shoes back.

2. Lindsay Lohan

Another controversial celebrity with a bad feet odor is Lindsay Lohan. But instead of hygiene, Lindsay’s problem is more on recurring fungal infection or athlete’s foot.

According to one of her closest friends, it’s been her problem and source of embarrassment since her teenage years. And on an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she admitted that her feet are the body parts she hated most.

Her smelly feet have also put her in a number of embarrassing situations like when her feet had almost ruined private house party. She was photographed with excessive amounts of foot powder one day. No wonder she’s now hesitant to dine in Japanese restaurants.

3. Kate Hudson

On the interesting side of things is Kate Hudson. Why interesting? Because Kate considers her smelly feet as an advantage.

Kate is proud to tell everyone that her feet odor actually helped her win her former husband Chris Robinson’s heart.

In one of their dates, she had to take off her shoes to show Chris her feet scars. She was embarrassed with the odor but Chris responded that it was actually “cute”.

4. Jessica Biel

If you want a celebrity with a real online proof about her smelly feet, it’s Mrs. Timberlake, Jessica Biel. In a 2008 YouTube/online video which has been viewed by millions, Jessica removes her shoes, sniffs them, and eventually admits that they stink.

A huge turn off to most folks but there are also those (especially men) who think otherwise.

5. Natalie Portman

The multi-awarded Hollywood actress Natalie Portman is also part of the list. But compared to all other stars, it’s not even a big deal for her since this actress is known to be humble or true to herself.

Feet odor has been an issue since her teenage years. In one of her interviews during her freshman year at Harvard, it was also cited that Natalie has the habit of being apologetic whenever she removes her Gucci shoes in front of other people.

6. Tara Reid

If you think having smelly feet is already a huge problem, wait until you read about Tara Reid’s feet hatred. Yes that’s correct. She doesn’t only hate the smell but the entire feet as well. According to her, it’s the least attractive and most disgusting body part.

She believes that the feet are always meant to be dirty, weird looking, and smelly. Similar with most individuals, the problem started since childhood.

She remembered being afraid of stepping her foot away from the bed and was always hesitant when her daddy instructs her to remove his shoes every time he comes home from work. According to Tara, she would just cry instead of doing so since she knows it would smell so bad.

7. Elvis Presley

A number of stars from the past were also noted to have feet odor. Based on reports, accounts, and biographies, the King of Rock and Roll had a problem with personal hygiene. It never came to the King’s mind to prevent foot odor.

Just like Britney Spears, Elvis didn’t like the idea of regular washing or bathing. Instead, he would just try to mask the smell with cologne. His former band mates constantly complained about his terrible feet odor.

And even his mother had troubles at laundry time, reportedly she had to wear gloves and a face mask just to handle the putrid laundry.

 About foot odor

Foot odor is definitely a humiliating concern that affects a large part of the population regardless of social status, gender, or age.

Among the most common causes include excessive feet sweating, bacterial and fungal overgrowth, or simply poor hygiene.

Do you have smelly feet too? Make sure to wash them well, use the best antiperspirant you can get, and wear socks that reduce sweating.

How To Build Your Own Iontophoresis Device

Iontophoresis treatment is an ongoing process. Because the effects wear off you will need to get treatment once in a while.

Buying a device to use at home can be less expensive in the long run. Besides being more affordable and accesible, treating your hands or feet at home may be more convenient to you as well.

However purchase costs of iontophoresis devices are high. They start from about $500 and prices go up quickly.

In fact, commerical iontophoresis machines are insanely expensive and the most affordable device isn’t even that well reviewed.

It’s even more outrageous since these are basically very simple constructs consisting of a few items only.

The good thing is that this makes it fairly easy to build one yourself. Even a non-tech savvy individual can do it. Looking to build your own?

Here we go, a simple, step by step instruction guide on how to do it. And a short video explaining the process too.

How To Build An Iontophoresis Machine

Whether you just don’t want to shovel out the money to pay for one of these helpful machines or you are a “do-it-yourselfer”, building your very own Iontophoresis Machine could be the best option for you.

Materials Needed:

  • 12 Volt Lantern Battery – $10 (the power source of your DIY iontophoresis device that’s going to supply the electrical current)
  • 1 Pair of Alligator Clips – $2 (to transfer the currents to your hands or feet. One red and one black)
  • Aluminum Pie Pans (for hands) – $15 (the pans are going to conduct the current from the battery to your hands or feet using the Alligator clips.
  • Aluminum Pie Trays (for feet) – $15

 Needed for iontophoresis treatment itself

  • Water
  • Salt (increases conductivity of the water ?/ true? see study…]]]
  • Aquaphor (for cuts or irritated skin to make treatment more comfortable) – $7. You can use Duct tape to for soothing purposes too.

build your own DIY iontophoresis device


How To Build And Use It Step By Step

  • Unscrew the screws a little bit so the metal from the alligator clips comes into contact with the battery conductors. (also remove any rings or jewelry from hands). Also, you can use salt to better conduct through your skin, but it is optional. Apply Aquaphor to avoid irritation if needed.
  • Measure 2 cups of water and pour them evenly into the two pans. There should be just enough water to submerge your hands. Don’t fill the pans up to the top.
  • Shake some salt into the pans only after you have done the procedure 4 or 5 times and are confident with your results. Then, connect one alligator clip to one pan from the positive screw of your battery and attach the other one to the other pan from the negative screw. Never use both clips on the same pan while attached to the battery because it will ruin your battery.
  • Apply any Aquaphor you may need to your sensitive parts of your hands (like fingernails). Then, submerge hands in water of pans without completely touching the bottom with your palms.
  • Keep your hands/feet submerged for 10 minutes, then reverse the charges by switching the alligator clips. Just switch the screws that the clips are attached to while keeping the other ends on the same pans. Then, submerge your hands again for another 10 minutes.


If you apply this step by step strategy using your own homemade iontophoresis machine* everyday for 5 days straight, you should see a dramatic decrease in the sweating of your hands or feet. (* it’s not so much a machine but more a simple DIY setup).

If excessive sweating is making you self-conscious or just getting on your last nerve, it may be time to build your own homemade Iontophoresis Machine.

Then, it’s just maintenance after that. You may only need to do the treatment every couple of weeks to keep your desired results.

Not sure about building your own device? Some hospitals offer a trial of the treatment so that you can see if it works for you.


Here’s an instruction video on how to build your own machine:


Image; Creative Commons



Does Drionic The Home Iontophoresis Machine Work? A Review


If you suffer from excessive foot sweating you’ll probably have tried antiperspirants and other measures.

If those first-line treatments deemed inefficient you may need more invasive sweat reduction therapy.

The first option, the one that is most commonly recommended because it has almost no side effects is iontophoresis.

By emerging your feet in water and exposing them to a mild electric current sweat glands are closed. This temporary effect results in less sweat being excreted to the outer skin of your feet.

There are few pros and cons about this treatment

  • The good. Iontophoresis works for a lot of people and has virtually no side effects. Some people experience minor skin reactions including dryness, blisters, and itchy sensation or, initially, a mild rash. Iontophoresis treatment can be irritating or painful in case you have cuts or other wounds.  You can reduce the stinging sensation by applying Vaseline or duct tape on skin nicks.

One user mentioned a side effect of hands getting “a bit weak and red on my palms”

  • The bad. It does not work for everyone. If you belong to those unlucky souls you may have to get botox injections or undergo surgery.
  • The ugly. This effects of the iontophoresis procedure are wear off in time. You will have to keep getting sessions in order to control your hyperhidrosis. This means ongoing session costs which may make it an expensive treatment. A foot treatment session on average costs about $40.

If iontophoresis works for you, getting your own device will probably be more affordable in the long run.

Which begs the question, which home iontophoresis device to get? The most affordable one?

Drionic is the most affordable iontophoresis device available on the consumer market.

But does it work?

What are its pros and cons?

The Drionic comes in two versions, a unit for hands and feet treatment and an underarm unit.  We’re talking about the foot treatment device.


  • Battery powered. Makes use of expensive (about $7 a pair), hard to get by batteries that don’t last very long. Some customers have batteries shipped over from the US.
  • Poorly built. Its design could be improved upon. Especially the elevated mid part prevents you from submerging the middle of your feet and thus treating the whole surface of your foot soles and sides of your feet at once.


  • The most affordable. At $216 the Drionic is the least expensive device on the consumer market.
  • Works for many people. Iontophoresis sessions are the first line treatment for people who tried antiperspirants and other cures to no avail.

Research confirms this treatment works. This study on PubMed for instance concludes:

Iontophoresis is a safe, efficacious, and cost-effective primary treatment of palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. Decades of clinical experience and research show significant reduction in palmoplantar excessive sweating with minimal side effects.

Does Drionic work? User reviews

When people start using the Drionic they feel a discomforting stinging sensation or some pain. This gradually reduces.

Peter2222 who uses the Drionic device on his hands reviews:

Hi…. i bought it [drionic] about 8 days ago..and been using it every day..morning when i get up and nights before i go to sleep…i use full power…every sessions..for 30 minutes…anyways.. .its a bit uncomfortable with the stinging that you feel when using it..but i’ve been through worst situations mentally with sweety now…i just want to say that my hands are not sweating right now… 😛  …. i was skeptical when using it first…but it does work…


Sadly it doesn’t work for everyone. klamm76 reports:

I lost my hope for the iontophoresis because of the Drionic.But now i tried Idrostar and that machine worked much better for me.My sweating is about 90% cured if i do it once a week after 10 sessions in the start,but still my fingertips is sweating and my hands/feet is swelling when its extremly hot indoors?.So the hyperhidrosis shit is still a problem for me.But as i said much better.

Generally, iontophoresis does not cause compensatory sweating like surgery is known to do. However some people seem to experience it. Which is another reason to try this treatment first before getting your own machine. Here’s a user who uses the device for his hands.

The Drionic device did work for me, but, I started sweating on the back side of my hand & fingers. Did this happen to anyone else? I became so frustrated that I stopped.

For most people however the Drionic seems to work. Studies and renowned medical institutions confirm this

The Department of Dermatology, George Washington University Medical Center notes:

“Results with the Drionic device have been very good in patients who have hyperhidrosis; 80 percent or more have shown some improvement and have continued its use.”

And Harvard Medical School reports:

“The Drionic home-use apparatus seems to be effective in reducing hyperhidrosis, providing a definite inhibitory response by 3 weeks.”

Various other studies come to the same conclusion. “Iontophoresis…a commercially available Drionic device delivering 20 ma is effective.” Timothy G. Berger, M.D.
Asst. Clinical Professor, Dept. of Dermatology . University of California, San Francisco

How to get around the Drionic batteries issue

Drionic-iontophoresis-deviceIf you purchase a iontophoresis machine for home use for the sake of convenience and cost reduction you don’t want to have to buy expensive batteries on a regular basis.

Especially if these are relatively hard to come by it defeats the purpose of getting a machin in the first place. There are a few ways to circumvent this annoyance.

People have developed hacks by finding a way to adapt the device to use more common 9 volt batteries. By inserting a thin piece of metal such as a box cutter you can adjust one of the metal flaps so that it comes out. By reducing the distance you’ll make rechargeable 9 volt batteries fit.

Another hack,

I rewired mine to take a simple 12V adapter so I could stop replacing batteries.


Alternative iontophoresis devices

Much pricier machines costing around 500$ and up. However these are better built and can just be plugged into a socket.

  • Hidrex
  • Idrostar
  • I2m.a and Iomax 4 by I2m Labs.


Find out if your insurance plan covers the purchase of a professional iontophoresis device. If they will pay for a more expensive device you may want to get that.

If not, or if you have to pay for one yourself, the Drionic may be a great sweaty feet cure anyway.

It may have its downsides but if nothing else works and surgery or botulinum toxin injections are your only other option you may want to churn out those 200 bucks to get rid of that dreadful sweating.

Read more reviews about the Drionic Hand/Foot device on Amazon.


Side Effects Of Extremely Sweaty Feet (Plantar Hyperhidrosis )

Having sweaty, smelly feet stinks. Not only literally but also because it can cause various adverse effects.

The medical term for severe, chronic sweating of the feet is plantar hyperhidrosis.

  • plantar – concerning the sole of the foot.
  • hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating.

What is plantar hyperhidrosis?

We all sweat in order to cool down our bodies. Otherwise we would overheat. Your body has millions of sweat glands which are concentrated in your feet, hands and forehead.

Most of these sweat glands are so called eccrine glands which secrete a clear, odorless fluid that plays a role in evaporative heat loss.

When these eccrine glands are overactive they cause much sweating and we speak of hyperhidrosis.

So although this sweat, basically water and salt, does not stink it will soon when bacteria living on your feet start to feed on it.

Why does it cause your feet to stink?

Bacteria called Staphylococcus epidermidis, Brevibacterium linens, and Bacillus subtilis feed on an amino acid called leucine, found in the sweat produced by the eccrine glands in your feet.

Ironically, especially the bacteria with subtilis in their name are responsible for a truly offensive odor. Brevibacterium linens however is most often the cause of foot odor. This smell is also called plantar bromhidrosis.

When these bacteria feed on leucine, isovaleric acid is released. This is the well-known penetrating scent that makes Swiss cheese so quickly recognizable. Just as it immediately lets you know someone has smelly feet.

In some people this condition is pretty severe. By taking of his or her shoes they can clear out a room faster than a gassy skunk on a chili bean diet.

But not only the stench is a problem.

Profusely sweating of the feet can cause some other nasty side effects too.

Hyperhidrosis side effects

Plantar hyperhidrosis/ bromhidrosis interferes with your daily activities and can seriously affect your quality of life.

Excessive sweating in the feet can contribute to secondary infections and other skin problems on their feet. Hyperhidrosis often requires medical care.

Complications of plantar hyperhidrosis include:

  • Macerated skin. The constantly moist feet become more vulnerable. Skin may become white, wrinkled, and cracked. Skin degradation can cause the feet to become tender or painful.
  • Scaling of the feet. Peeling and scaling on the bottom of the feet and in between the toes. Recognized by scaly loose skin, red skin or white areas between your toes and under your feet.
  • Itchy feet. Often caused by athlete’s foot or atopic dermatitis. The feet may become painful too.
  • Skin texture abnormalities such as small craters (pitting)
  • Blisters. Sore skin is more likely to form blisters.
  • Fungal infections. Mycosis. If your feet sweat profusively you are likely to be prone to skin infections. These infections can range from warts (Verruca plantaris) to ringworm and fungal nails.
  • Athlete’s foot. Ringworm of the foot, tinea pedis. The immoderate moisture increases the chance on development of athlete’s foot. The fungi that cause this condition require moisture and warmth to grow and thrive.
  • Other skin conditions. Certain skin conditions, such as eczema and skin rashes, occur more frequently in people with (plantar) hyperhidrosis.
  • Skin inflammation. Contact dermatitis. Excessive sweating may worsen skin inflammation causing the area to become red and inflamed.
  • Slippery feet in sandals and other footwear may cause dangerous situations.
  • Social and emotional effects. Psychosocial discomfort. Having smelly, hot, painful feet and perspiration-soaked socks can be embarrassing and cause stress. Especially when it’s required to take off or switch footwear.


Potassium Permanganate Helps You Get Rid Of Foot Odor

Do your feet sweat a lot? And do they stink?

Some people, I’m not thinking of someone in particular, ahum..,  can have smelly feet to the point it will knock you backwards.

And of course we can make a bit of fun about it (after all humor tends to ease things) but if you have smelly feet like I did you know it’s not funny.

The embarrasment and discomfort are serious detrimental influences on your quality of life.

The malodorous foot is often the subject of humor & lighthearted concern, but in reality, it can cause profound psychologic trauma and can ruin expensive shoes, socks, and stockings. Walter J. Pedowitz. M.D.

Source: SagePub.

I know how it is to be ashamed to take your shoes off.

Even though, at that moment, after walking a lot, taking them off is actually needed to air out your shoes and socks and feet.

But even more so to cool off and relieve your feet a little bit.

But you don’t have the guts if you are with people you are not really familiar with. And even if you are, it’s not something you are looking forward to, it’s just awkward every time because the smell can be really bad.

And because you don’t dare to take your shoes off the heat, the smell (plantar bromhidrosis), the bacteria growth in your shoes and socks is only increasing.

Causing more discomfort. A viscious circle of shame and smell so to say.

We are constantly bombarded with media fears that our feet are unfortunately fragrant and offensive to others. Much plantar sweating is emotionally stimulated (e.g., love, fear, an important interview), and the subsequent odor production may be self-perpetuating. If left untreated, the pungent aroma can foul the environment, lead to social exclusion, and cause needless destruction of fashionable shoes.

That’s why so many people are searching for the best cure. The most effective way to end their suffering. And that of the people in their direct environment.

Many home treatments exist.

Some are more effective than others. Most involve topical application. Or involve choosing apropriate shoes and socks. Few involve a nutritional approach. Zinc supplementation for example.

A less well-known method is using potassium permanganate. This may be useful to you when you have tried other, more common treatments to no avail.

What is potassium permanganate?

Potassium Permanganate (KMn04) (Permanganate of Potash) is a caustic chemical. Because it acts as a strong oxider it’s a potent antiseptic valued for its strong bactericidal and fungicidal properties.

In diluted form it is commonly used to treat ulcers, as disinfectant for the hands and treatment dermatitis and fungal infections of the hands or feet such as athlete’s foot and mouth infections.

Because of its properties it can be very harmful to tissues and therefore, when used as a topical it is safe only in weak dilutions containing no more than 0.04 percent of potassium permanganate.

Here’s how to use potassium permanganate to cure your stinky feet

A potassium permanganate foot soak is a ‘vintage’ treatment. Younger people may not know about this cure but older people are often familiar with it.


potassium permanganate, as an antiseptic, diluted in water works as an effective cure for athlete’s foot and foot odor

Put a tablespoon of potassium permanganate (KMn04) powder or some small crystals in a quarter bucket of warm water.

Use enough potassium permanganate so that the foot bath solution is a dark purple. (see package for more detailed dilution rates)

Soak your feet in this solution for at least 30 minutes. You want it to soak into the dense callous areas of the sole of your foot (planta).

Start with daily soaks (or each other day) for about a week and then proceed with soaks every week for 2 weeks.

Apart from killing the bacteria, potassium permanganate works also by absorbing the sweat from your feet.  This also helps in reducing or eliminating foot odor.

Do note that this stuff will stain your toenails and the callous areas chocolate brown. It however should help you get rid of that dreaded Bromhidrosis.


Image credit: Oxidation Systems.


Does Your Child Have Very Sweaty Feat? Here’s What To Do

Does your infant or toddler have really sweaty feet? My almost 1 year old niece Patricia too, her feet are always clammy. Sometimes they are hot, sometimes cold, but always clammy.

In some kids there’s so much perspiration that socks become soaking wet and their feet leave wet patches on their crib mattress.

It may seem like your little girl or boy’s feet have been under a running tap.

On smooth surfaced floors their sweaty little feet slip from under them like Bambi on ice.

Reasons babies hands and feet sweat so much

Those little feet feeling all cold while being clammy at the same time may cause concern among parents but it actually is pretty normal. Here’s why.

  • Babies are unable to shiver and are less able to sweat. Only the glands in their hands, feet, neck, and head are active (about 30% of their total body size) so these body parts have to do all the temperature regulating work.
  • Because of the excess sweat glands in their hands and feet these body parts may feel sweaty.
  • Concerned parents often overdress their babies. In order to cool down the body the surplus body heat is discharged via perspiration in the hands and feet.
  • Newborn babies have limited blood circulation focused mainly on supplying blood to their heads and chest and heads when they are asleep. As a result their hands and feet may feel cooler.

It’s pretty common for babies to have sweaty hands and feet and, even more so, sweaty heads.

Although sweaty hands and feet are pretty common in our youngest there is a distinction between normal sweating and excessive perspiration. In case of severe sweating there may be a genetic issue.

Sweating in babies, infants, and toddlers

baby feet being very sweaty is very common
baby feet being very sweaty is very common

We humans, being warm-blooded, are able to maintain our own body temperature even when the surrounding temperature differs greatly. This is called ‘thermoregulation’.

When we are still very young however, we are less able to regulate our body temperature independently.

From about a year, children are better capable of sweating and shivering and thus better able to regulate temp effectively. That’s why in most infants excessive sweating of the extremities (i.e. head, hands, and feet) evens out when they get older.

When we get older the sweating will normalize in many people. This however depends from person to person. It may be so that your child will be about 2 to 4 years of age when the sweating stops or normalizes.

But some will have to reach adulthood. And then even some people will continue to sweat. This is often the case when it is common in your family to sweat a lot. This condition is called hyperhidrosis.

Increased capability of regulating body temperature leads to less fevers and less excessive sweating of hands and feet.

When should you worry?

Even when your baby’s sweaty feet are not due to a too warm room temperature or being overdressed, sweating in itself isn’t cause to worry.

However, if your child shows other signs that may cause concern such as being underweight, not being energetic or active, it’s probably wise to get him or her examined by a pediatrician.

This to rule out dangerous underlying issues, such as heart disease, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).


Excessive sweating as a medical condition

sweat glands in the human skin
In hyperhidrosis, the nerves responsible for triggering your sweat glands are overactive causing you to sweat even when it’s not necessary

Excessive sweating could indicate an underlying problem too. Sometimes a genetic issue plays a role.
Primary hyperhidrosis is a condition starting in infancy. According to a prospective study in 338 patients,

In 86% of the patients PH started during infancy, 71.5% were female (mean age 28.8 years).  96.4% of the patients  reported palmar hyperhidrosis, often there is family history of PH.


Hyperhidrosis, although it may sound a bit scary, is just the medical term for excessive sweating.

it is too much sweating that occurs even at not really high temperatures and while you’re not exercising.


It is caused by a problem in the sympathetic nervous system which controls many automatic body functions, including sweating.

The type of hyperhidrosis that occurs primarily in your palms and soles may have a genetic component, because it sometimes clusters in families. Mayo Clinic

Although hyperhidrosis just means sweating a lot, there are some medical conditions relating to this condition.

Not only does it often involve embarrasment and can really affect someone’s psychological, emotional, and social perspective it may cause;

  • skin irritation,
  • peeling feet,
  • a very unpleasant smell (that adds to embarrasment)
  • and painful skin.

Apart from that it worsens if you’re under stress or nervous. Because you sweat you will get self-conscious and become more nervous. In other words, it can cause a virtuous circle.

Which hyperhidrosis treatment is best?

Since excess sweating of hands, feet, head, and neck of children is normal it is generally not necessary to worry or take action.

When hyperhidrosis runs in the family and your son or daughter grows older you may want to use an anti-perspirant. A well-reviewed, often by doctors recommened product is a deoderant called Certain Dry.

If the problem persists you can have your child see a dermatologist. They can do some tests to rule out underlying conditions that may cause the sweating.

What if deodorants do not work?

If antiperspirants and other measures don’t work, oral medication, botox injections, iontophoresis treatment, and surgery can be used as next or last resorts.

Botox works by blocking the signals the nerves send to the sweat glands. Iontophoresis uses electric currents to disrupt the function of the sweat glands and in surgery some of the nerves are removed.


Image credits: Schematic skin with sweat glands: Wikimedia. Baby feet by Tommy Botello.

Cedar Wood Shoe Trees Help Keep Your Shoes Fresh

You may know them, those somewhat odd looking devices that look like wooden shoe molds.

Shoe trees as they are called, are used to keep shoes from shrinking, stop them from developing creases, and losing their overall shape.

Cedar wood shoe trees put an added advantage to the mix. This is due to the fact that cedar wood has some pretty convincing benefits when it comes to keeping your shoes free from sweat and odor causing bacteria.

PubMed reports indicate that Alaska cedar wood has outstanding antimicrobial activity that kills anaerobic bacteria and yeast. No wonder shoe trees made from cedar wood and cedar insoles are such popular anti-foot odor products.

In a test different types of wood species were tested for their antimicrobial activity against microbes commonly causing foot diseases and other infections in animals. Among the extracts of these woods, Alaska cedar wood proved most potent.

The cedar tree, that lives more than 1,000 years and resists insect damage was already valued by the ancient Egyptians. They used cedar as a preservative in cosmetics, as incense, and for embalming.

So in addition to giving your shoes the time to air out, using a cedar wood shoe tree will offer you a helping hand in combating smelly shoes.

  • It helps absorb moisture from the linings of your shoes,
  • kills off the microbes known to cause foot problems,
  • and adds a pleasant cedar scent to your shoes too.

Beats the aroma of blue cheese whirling up from your sneakers don’t you think?

A cedar wood shoe tree that offers great odor killing functionality for an acceptable price is Woodlore men’s shoe tree. It has a sturdy design, comes in various sizes, is adjustable, and is one of the most popular shoe trees available.

Woodlore shoe tree
Woodlore shoe tree


Smelly Feet Cures Tip: do not share your cedar shoe tree with other people.  A study shows that bacteria and bacterial spores are transmitted when different shoe wearers make use of the same shoe tree.

This may lead to transmission of microbial pathogens from shoe to shoe. Thus possibly increasing sweaty and smelly feet or at least diminishing the beneficial effects of using a cedar shoe tree.

Do Silver Socks Work As A Cure For Smelly Feet?

Socks with silver nano fibers, you might have heard of them. They are claimed to combat sweaty, smelly feet.

It’s a fact that silver nano-particles can kill odor causing microbes.

However, is this a quircky old wifes tale, of the equivalent of smelly socks being used to create Voodoo spells, or does it really work?

As a matter of fact there is some scientific data behind this invention. The idea behind these socks is that silver kills almost all bacteria.

Silver is known to kill more than 650 disease-causing organisms and is also a safe antibacterial agent.

The odor itself consists of a mixture of ammonia, fatty acids in particular, isovaleric acid and lactic acid but its bacteria that are the cause of smelly feet, shoes, and socks.

That’s why Russian scientist Vladimir Rudenov developed the nano-enhanced socks.

According to Rudenov:

“I used to be a physician. It’s a well-known fact that silver kills most bacteria, and it’s the bacteria that causes smelly feet. So I thought, why not blend nano-particles of silver with socks? And it worked!”

According to the manufacturer, they prevent athlete’s foot too. Anti sweat and smell socks are widely available for around $10 dollars a pair.

The idea of using “nanocomposite” fibres as a weapon against malodorous feet is not new.

Already in 2003 Korean scientist allocated silver’s antibacterial properties to make safe anti-microbial fibres for use in carpets, napkins and surgical masks.

Widespread use of silver

Nano-silver is not only used in socks but also in shoes to make these “anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and odor resistant”.  Several companies all over the world are using nano silver particles in deodorants and other products.

Other applications are baby bottles to “act as an anti-bacterial deodorant and maintain freshness up to 99.9% without additional disinfecting by boiling and sterilization.”

Controversy about safety silver nano particles

Concern however is expressed by opponents who state that we don’t know enough about possible side effects of these nano bots.

  • What for example, if these will be absorbed by our skin and taken up into our bloodstream.
  • Another common concern is the risk on creating resistant bacteria, just as with antibiotics.

A recent issue of Environmental Science & Technology carried a study showing nanosilver’s widespread use in consumer goods for nearly 120 years with virtually zero adverse effects on the ecology or on human health.

What happens when you wash your silver anti stink socks..

Silver lined anti-odor socks show to release much of the silver particles during laundry.

35% to 50% of the silver nanoparticles used in textiles did come off during the wash according to a Swedisch study and one conducted at Arizona State University.

As a result the particles can leak into waste water with all potential long term health risks.

Taking this all into account I would not recommend to use these socks but opt for more natural, proven ways to cure smelly feet.

Read this article to learn more about the best socks for smelly feet.