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Foot Odour

Fool Odour - ClogsFoot odor is a type of body odor which affects the feet of human. Foot odor is generally regarded as unpleasant.

Cause of Foot Odor

Foot odor results due to wearing of shoes and socks; especially shoes or socks in which there is no inadequate air ventilation for many hours. Human feet are densely covered with sweat glands and due to heat generated while walking in the shoes excessive perspiration of the feet is observed. The perspiration and warmth provide ideal conditions for bacteria and fungi to grow which results in foot odor. The bacteria or fungi consume dead skin cells and moisture and these are turned into waste material and this waste product is the main cause of foot odor. With increase in physical activity there is an increase in foot perspiration that results in increase of bacterial growth and bacterial waste production. All these conditions result in foot odor with intensified foul smell.

The socks are in direct contact with foot: hence the material can have an impact on foot odor. Wearing of Nylon socks also causes foot odor. Nylon is the most common material used in for the manufacture of socks but nylon socks unlike cotton cannot provide much ventilation. Nylon socks result in more perspiration which results in intensified foot odor. The nylon absorbs the perspiration from feet; thereby increasing bacterial activities that cause the foot odor. Most women wearing nylon stockings or pantyhose experience foot odor.

Deodorants can also be used in the shoes and socks to mask the foot odor. As a daily practice Deodorant tablets can be kept in the shoes when not in use.

There are various types of foot odor products such as powders, activated charcoal insoles and odor eaters available in the market. However they are not as effective as washing your feet, socks and shoes and wearing shoes only when required. 

Aroma of Foot Odor

The foot odor is often reported as a thick, cheesy scent and has a characteristic smell like ammonia. Brevibacteria are the main causes of foot odor as they ingest dead skin on the feet, especially on the soles and between the toes and convert the skin into amino acid methionine to methanethoil which has sulfuric aroma.

Prevention of Foot Odor

Aromatic herbs such as allspice were used as ancient foot deodorants. In the nineteenth century Russian soldiers were using this herb to prevent foot odor. Herbs were used as natural treatment for foot odor. Choosing of proper ventilated shoes can reduce the amount of foot odor. Frequently changing the socks and wearing the shoes only when necessary can prevent the foot odor. It is highly recommended to wear socks that fit properly and are made of 100% cotton to prevent the odor. Another way to reduce foot odor is to wear footwear that are open such as sandals, slippers, floaters etc. Even if you are wearing socks on these there will not be any foot odor because the perspiration gets evaporated and the bacteria cannot develop in the socks. Whereas, in the shoes, the sweat does not get evaporated, and the combination of sweat, body temperature and dead skin create an environment ideal for the growth of Brevibacteria.

However there is no way of reducing sweating in the feet. Sweating is a good sign of healthy skin and therefore is good for the feet. Alternatively frequently washing socks and shoes and drying them in sunlight can reduce the foot odor to a great extent. Sunlight is a good and natural antibacterial and helps in killing the brevibacteria present in shoes and socks.


Foot odor is unpleasant and people generally get embarrassed about the smell. In Western countries where shoes are worn almost throughout the day results in foot odor and those suffering from it lack self confidence to move around with others. If you are invited and you open your shoes to enter the house, your smelly feet will immediately draw attention and you will see many questioning eyes trying to tell you, "why cant you take care of this foul smell?" The best way to reduce foot perspiration is, avoid shoes as much as possible. Reactions to foot odor vary from cultures to cultures. However, it is a great concern for those suffering from foot odour if they live in a country where the custom is to open the shoes before entering a house. Even if it is not so, most of the people believe the scent of feet is unpleasant.

Consulting a Doctor

Even after taking due care as enumerated above your feet odor is not reducing or is becoming a daily issue, it is recommended to contact a physician. It is also recommended that you do not buy any over the counter products based on your own ideas.
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