Ah, the sweet smell of roses in the morning has nothing to do with the all-too sour smell of feet after a long day’s work. But why does this happen? And most importantly, how do you stop it?
If you need someone to blame for this enchanting odor, we’re pointing the accusatory finger at your sweat glands. And since your feet have the most of them, you can understand where that leads us. Sweat glands will light up in response to increased warmth, movement, as well as bacteria, so we’ve got the key.
But how does it all work? Well, we’re here to help with some great tips and tricks on the matter, so stay tuned.
Before getting to the solution, let’s see what the problems are. At this point, we can find two culprits: your work boots and you.
When it comes to work boots, these are designed to be not just incredibly durable, but also comfortable, so many of them are really insulated. Even if they have thinner linings like Thinsulate, these are already tight enough that your feet will cry themselves out when it’s really warm out. Besides, if you don’t pick the right insulation for the weather conditions you’re working in, you can also get Athlete’s foot because your sweaty boots can become the perfect home for feet fungus.
So what’s the problem with you, then? If you’ve tried feet spray or essential oils before to stop your feet from sweating, here’s your first mistake. If you’ve tried sprinkling baking soda or baby powder inside your work boots to stop them from stinking up, here’s your second mistake.
You’re going at this all wrong: trying to fight the symptoms when you should be dealing with the cause. Speaking of which, here’s:
You might notice that odor-proofing your boots works for about 10 days tops, then the boots stink up again.
Yes, but why?
It’s because of the bacteria.
With a total of 500,000 sweat glands in your feet that produce what bacteria probably deem as the sweet nectar of the gods, you can understand why these little suckers like living in your boots. Not to mention it’s so warm, dark and cozy there.
So here are the root issues:
- Your boots are way too thick and insulated for your working temperatures, and not merely ventilated enough.
- You might have steel-toe work boots that conduct heat, which means more heat from the outside goes in your boots, making your feet experience their own version of hell.
- Your boots might be oil-tanned to increase their ruggedness, which makes them more insulated and less breathable.
- You’re working hard, unless you’re hardly working, producing friction and, of course, heat.
Let’s examine another quick paradox here. On the one hand, if you want to keep your boots resistant to water and maintain the strength of the uppers, you’re advised to coat them with some sort of preservatives. However, all that makes them less breathable.
That said, let’s move on to probably your favorite part:
How do you actually get rid of stinky feet? Here are some of the things you can do:
The Things that Somewhat Work
This category of solutions isn’t the be-all and end-all of your problems. They’re just little things you can do that help to some degree, especially if you’re:
So, you can try to:
- Maintain a good hygiene. That means using antibacterial soap on your feet, instead of regular soap. You can also try Epsom salts that have plenty of bacterial deaths under their belt.
- Change between boots. You can always try to use a different pair on alternating days. Although this is not a bulletproof solution, it will still help your boots to fully dry in between wears, thus minimizing the degree of smelliness at the end of your workday.Also, fill a sock with activated charcoal and let it sit overnight in your boots to reduce the bad odors. Change your socks often. If you can bring a spare or ten to your workplace, change your socks every time you get a bathroom break.
- Store your boots correctly. We established that bacteria love the dark, moist, quiet den your boots have to offer them, so try a change of pace when it comes to how you store them, like light and ventilated closets.
- Force dry them. If you don’t have an extra pair of boots, you can always dry the ones you have with artificial means, like napkins that absorb moisture or a hairdryer. However, a boot dryer like PEET, Dr. Dry or MAXXDry, works best in this case.
- Skip foot powders. With their cornstarch content, sweat with cornstarch flavor will rapidly become a favorite meal for the bacteria, so they’ll multiply even faster.
The Things that Really Work
Now that we’ve established how you can work with what you have, let’s see what other real improvements we can bring to the table.
- Get the right socks. You want moisture-wicking socks, made from natural fibers, wool or merino wool because cotton just absorbs sweat and provides the dampness bacteria thrive on. Besides, there are plenty of good work boot socks on the market, some even with reinforced heels and toes for extra protection.
- Get a proper lining. You can always invest in another pair of boots with the right lining or a good insole. You need something breathable and moisture-wicking so your feet can breathe, like Gore-tex or Dry-lex. However, it’s even better to get something that destroys bacteria altogether, like an anti-microbial membrane.
- Use the right sprays. If you’re going to use feet or boot sprays, choose anti-microbial products to make sure these actually kill the bacteria instead of simply masking the smell.
We’ve reached the end of our article, so we hope you found some new ideas to get the job done. Of course, a proper hygiene both for you and your boots is the main idea we want you to take home because the purpose is to kill the bacteria that cause the bad smell.
That said, we’re curious to hear from you: what’s your line of work? What have you tried so far to get rid of smelly feet? What worked and what didn’t?