I used to have a terrible time with excessive sweating and odor in my feet. I was afraid that I would get athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. It was very embarrassing for me and my family. Fortunately, I found out that I didn’t have to just suffer through it. There are plenty of easy at-home treatment options. Here, we will discuss how to keep feet from sweating in work boots and more.
What You Need to Know About Sweating
Sweating is a normal bodily function. It is caused by the release of a clear salt-based fluid from sweat glands.
Excessive sweating can happen anywhere in the body. While it can be a sign of a serious health condition or anxiety, most of the time, it’s not too much to worry about. However, if it happens in your feet, especially while you’re wearing shoes, it can lead to some serious complications.
Hyperhidrosis is the medical name for excessive sweating, which can happen in the feet. If left untreated, it can lead to other health issues such as athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, etc. Axillary hyperhidrosis, which is excessive sweating in the soles of the feet, can also cause the same health issues. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) hasn’t been able to come to a solid conclusion as to why it occurs. However, the College of Podiatry in the U.K. believes that it’s due to overactive sweat glands.
You might be interested in Breathable Work Boots
Athlete’s foot can lead to flaky, cracked and dried skin. It can also lead to your toenails becoming infected. At worst, it can lead to bacterial infections called cellulitis. Those infections can spread as far as your hands.
Toenail fungus can cause permanent damage to your nails. If you have diabetes, any other immune-compromising diseases or take immune-compromising medications and think you may have toenail fungus, you’re urged to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Common Myths and Facts About Sweating Feet
1. If you’re sweating excessively, you’re not taking care of your hygiene needs or are out of shape.
Sweat is an essential survival mechanism. The more you exercise or move around, the more your body heats and you sweat as a result. However, those with hyperhidrosis sweat excessively regardless of their moods or their outer environments.
Hyperhidrosis can be anything from moderate to severe sweating. Again, the key is that you’re prone to sweat all the time regardless of your emotional or physical state.
2. Kids grow out of hyperhidrosis.
Unfortunately, some recent studies have found that it gets worse or stays the same with age close to 90 percent of the time.
3. Excessive sweating is the least worrisome health condition.
Not at all. Aside from being incredibly annoying, excessive sweating can lead to other health issues. This is especially true for the feet because they’re covered up by at least two layers much of the time. Again, if it’s left untreated, it can lead to other health issues such as athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.
Causes of Sweating Feet
The feet have over 500,000 glands, too. The College of Podiatry has also found that feet that are symmetrical tend to have more issues with excessive sweating. As a result, they believe that it’s partly dependent on the foot’s structure.
Other causes include putting stresses on the feet. For example, if you stand on your job all day, it strains and tires your feet out. When your feet are tired, the muscles overstretch and cramp. This is what causes the aching sensations that you feel in your feet. The constant pressure also builds up heat, which results in the feet reacting by cooling off-that is, sweating.
What Do Shoes Have to Do With It?
Wearing the wrong size of shoes not only leads to excessive sweating and stinky shoes, it also leads to other damage such as blisters or bunions and permanent damage to the feet.
This is going to sound nasty and it is. But smelly shoes are caused by you sweating in your shoes and then the shoes not having had a chance to dry before you put them back on. A bacteria called bromodosis, which breaks down the sweat is the main culprit for the odor. As a result, if you’re on your feet all day, it’s highly recommended if you invest in at least two pairs of work shoes.
If you have a job that requires work boots, breathability should be your top priority. Lack of it does not allow any room for temperature control. If they’re not breathable, they can not only cause your feet to sweat excessively, the material also falls apart faster.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that starts with a scaly rash between the toes. The most common cause is sweating due to a tight-fitting and/or lack of breathability in the shoes. Sweat can’t evaporate from in between the toes as well.
When you exercise, your body builds heat. As a result, it sweats to cool and your feet are no exception. Again, sweat between your toes often gets trapped and can lead to athlete’s foot.
Ways to Prevent Your Feet From Sweating
1. Change Your Socks Regularly
It’s important to rotate your socks at least once a day. It’s also highly recommended to do so after you’ve been to the gym, played a ball game or had practice, or whenever your feet start to feel sticky.
Be sure to invest in thick-not thin-cotton or natural socks. They’re the most breathable and absorbent. Special running socks are made with moisture absorbent technology. Whatever you do, never wear your shoes without socks. It may feel like you’re letting fresh air in but actually, your feet are more likely to sweat if you wear shoes alone.
2. Antifungal Foot Powder
Antifungal powders help to keep your feet dry and free of odors.
If you have hyperhidrosis in your feet, one application a day probably isn’t going to be enough. In fact, most doctors recommend at least twice a day. There is also no substitute for carrying spare pairs of socks. However, you need to re-apply the powder when you change socks. We recommend a natural foot odor eliminator powder, such as Lumi Outdoors. It contains lemon eucalyptus and lavender tea tree.
If you use the spray, be sure to apply it liberally. Spritz a little of it after you wash your feet and also inside of your boots and shoes.
We recommend Foot Sense. It contains lemon oil, lavender oil and zinc. It’s designed to neutralize odor on the spot and doesn’t contain any synthetic scents.
Whatever you do, be sure to apply your antifungal just before you put your shoes on to start your day!
3. Be sure to wash your feet every day!
Definitely do so after coming home from work. However if you find that doing so at least twice a day helps, that’s fine, too. The point is to keep your feet as clean and dry as possible.
At least use an antibacterial soap. You can also add something like corn starch or your antifungal powder. Make sure you scrub between your toes to prevent odor and athlete’s foot. It is one of the most economical ways to keep your feet clean.
4. Essential Oils
Tea Tree Oil has been found to get rid of stinky shoes much better than throwing them in your washer and dryer. However, if you’re going to apply it directly on your feet, make sure it’s heavily diluted. It’s very potent and has been known to leave burns on the skin. Eucalyptus helps to dry the surface of your skin. Both contain antibacterial properties that reduce foot odor and eliminate bacterial waste that your sweat leaves.
Neem oil has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which makes it perfect for preventing athlete’s foot. Karanja is often combined with it to help smooth out your skin.
5.Invest in breathable work boots!
If you work anywhere that requires work boots, make sure that you invest in a pair that are not made out of synthetic materials. They tend to keep moisture trapped resulting in a lack of absorption. Your toes should still have some wiggle room even after you tie the laces at their tightest. Genuine leather and canvas materials are usually best. For cold weather, get a couple of pairs that are breathable but insulated. Insulation traps heat. Sure they might be a little pricey but in the end, they’ll be worth preventing those extra trips to the doctor’s office.
We recommend Keen Pittsburgh Steel Toe and Tactical Desert boots. Keen is waterproof and has a breathable membrane that releases vapor. Tactical Deserts, such as Free Soldier, have good ventilation, breathability and are designed for all seasons.
6.Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a disinfectant and antiseptic. This is because its acidic agent keeps harmful bacteria from multiplying. I use apple cider vinegar a lot and I swear by it. It also works well on kids. I used it on my son when he had a verruca on his foot and it cleaned that up very quickly.
You can add about one cup of apple vinegar per four parts of water and soak your feet for up to 20 minutes.
However, it does not prevent foot odor so don’t ditch your powder or oils.
7. Foot Inserts
Gel inserts have been found to be great at absorbing moisture and keeping your feet comfortable. Some, such as Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X are specifically designed to destroy odors on impact.
8. Moisture Absorbent Socks
As stated above, thicker socks absorb more moisture. However, the best ones are usually made of moisture acrylics or natural fibers. If you have hyperhidrosis, look for the light antibacterial or antifungal socks. If you have odor issues, look for ones that have anti-microbial materials, such as copper.
Remember, your socks are your feet’s most important asset!
We recommend YingDi Copper and Pro-Tect. YingDi re designed for sports and are specially designed for high moisture and odor absorption. Pro-Tect socks are antifungal and antibacterial.
9. Cooling Foot Powder
Powders such as Dr. Scholl’s Soothing Foot Powder cool and soothe while absorbing sweat and preventing foot odor. Be sure to wash your feet before applying it and also to sprinkle a little between your toes.
If you have hyperhidrosis, sorry, but your underarm deodorant probably won’t do the job.
Instead, use something that’s specifically designed to alleviate excessive sweating, such as Odorex. Odorex contains an antibacterial agent that stops odor.
Antiperspirants are good substitutes for powders. However, combining antiperspirants with powders is not recommended in case of an allergic reaction.
11. Stuffing Newspaper
Yes, believe it or not, stuffing newspapers in your shoes does work! It really does help to reduce odor and dry out moisture.
12. Black Tea Soak
A regular black tea treatment contains tannic acid that significantly reduces or even eliminates sweat. First, fill a container large enough for both of your feet with warm water. Dip around three bags in and let them brew. Soak for up to 30 minutes.
Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells that bromosis bacteria feasts on like a buffet. Pumice stones or most unscented skin exfoliations are great for this.
14. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice helps to close your pores and prevent sweatiness. Just dip some onto a cotton ball or pad and rub it on the bottom of your feet. It’s a good green alternative to antiperspirants.
15. Baby Powder
Baby powder is made majorly out of talcum and a mild fragrance. It can soak up some moisture but, unfortunately, it doesn’t help prevent foot odor.
Cornstarch makes an excellent exfoliator and can stop sweating. However, it doesn’t prevent foot odor.
17. Baking soda in shoes
Baking soda is a natural deodorant. Just sprinkle at least moderate amount in your shoes and then dump it when you get up the next day. If you have old socks, one thing you can do is fill the toes with baking soda and leave them in your shoes overnight.
18. Be sure to keep your feet clean at all times!
Again, it may be practical to wash your feet when you get up in the morning as well as at night. Again, use antibacterial soap. Make sure they’re completely dry before putting your socks and shoes on. You can go ahead and use your hairdryer if you wish. My hairdryer is often very helpful.
19. If you have to wear boots, clean them regularly!
I mean inside and out. Don’t throw them in your washer, that doesn’t get the odor out completely and they could fall apart. Instead, get a boot dryer such as Peet. Cleaners like Peet help the moisture to evaporate, make it harder for the bromosis bacteria to reproduce and dries quickly. As a result, it helps prevent athlete’s foot, foot odor and cracked skin. They also tend to be low cost.
It is very important to stay hydrated! When you sweat, you lose both salt and water. Dehydration also tends to lead to other problems such as aching joints, lack of stabilization in your body’s temperature and properly moving your nutrients. It also hinders cognitive function.
We have briefly mentioned several products above. However, please get the product that works best for you. If you’re new to buying foot sweat prevention products, for the sake of your feet’s health, please read as many reviews as possible first. If you’re really unsure, you can always consult with a podiatrist or dermatologist.
Products You Might Want to Consider
FineVine Tea Tree Oil
FineVine stops unpleasant odors in their tracks by gobbling bromosis up. It’s organic so it’s safe to use on both your feet and in your shoes.
Lizpai Bamboo Charcoal
Lizpai’s bamboo is made out of non-woven fabric. It is designed to help keep your feet fresh and eliminate odor. You can cut the pads to fit into your shoes.
Unisex TK Brands
TCK socks are made from polyester and other mesh materials. They are designed to give your feet extra breathability and to reduce sweat.
Lumi Outdoors Tea Tree Oil Extra Strength
Lumi Outdoors is designed to eliminate odors. Extra Strength means that it’s designed to eliminate even the most stubborn odors.
Seeing Your Medical Professional
**Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a medical expert so I won’t pretend to be. However, there are a few situations in which seeing a dermatologist or doctor is very advisable.
The most common instance that people go to a dermatologist or doctor for is if they’ve tried several over-the-counter products and even the extra strength ones aren’t working.
The second most common instance is when they also have trouble with excessive sweating in other areas, such as the palms or armpits.
How to Keep Your Feet from Sweating in Your work Boots FAQ’s
Polypropylene socks are the most recommended. They are designed to wick away moisture and prevent sweating. You can wear them under your wool socks to keep your feet extra warm.
Again, polypropylene socks are recommended to wear under your wool socks. Hiking socks also tend to have moisture-wicking materials. Even wearing high nylons as your under-socks is great for warmth.
Whenever you have the opportunity, please let your feet breathe!
If you can’t do so at work, go barefoot for at least two or three hours at home. If you can take a break at work, however, do so up to three times per day. This goes a long way to preventing athlete’s foot, odor and other fungal infections.
Hyperhidrosis in the feet can be a very serious issue. However, there is plenty that can be done about it. As long as you stick with shoes that fit you well, products that best keep your feet clean and air your feet out frequently, you shouldn’t have too many other health problems.
If, however, your hyperhidrosis doesn’t go away no matter what you try, it’s time to see a podiatrist or dermatologist.