After months of stomping around in boots, bare feet in sandals or bare shoes can feel like a breath of fresh air. One thing we all fear, however, is the stench of your sweaty feet in the fresh air.

The condition of having smelly feet, medically referred to as bromhidrosis, is a common one, especially when the weather is warmer. Smelly feet are a common problem, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). One sixth of all adults (roughly 36 million people) have experienced foot odor, according to the 2012 National Foot Health Assessment conducted for the Institute for Preventive Foot Health.

Those prone to foot odor may also experience foot sweating. Both issues tend to plague them constantly, not just during the warmer months.

According to the ACFAS, the smell is caused by bacteria and/or fungus that breeds in the shoes and attaches to the skin. The skin's outermost layer can be eaten away by bacteria, leaving behind a smelly mess.

According to the Institute for Preventative Foot Health (IPFH), regular foot hygiene such as washing and drying does not adequately address the issue. This is due to the fact that the bacteria thrives in damp areas on and around the feet. Thus, the odor may return once your feet begin to sweat again, especially if you put them back into the original shoes that caused the problem.

Observing good hygiene practices can help keep your feet from getting smelly. You should also be aware that a combination of sweat, bacteria, and certain synthetic materials found in shoes can lead to unpleasant foot odor.

Here are some smart, low-cost ways to maintain a pleasant shoe odor throughout the season, whether you prefer to wear socks with your boat shoes, flats, or sneakers.

The ACFAS recommends washing your feet with soap and water every day because bacteria on the feet can quickly become a health risk. Soap your feet thoroughly in the shower or bath, and don't neglect the space in between your toes.

After you're done in the shower, make sure to give your feet a thorough rinse and dry them off (again, don't neglect the toes). ) To ensure complete dryness, you may also use a hair dryer on high heat. Put on some dry socks and then your shoes. Padded socks with moisture-wicking properties are recommended by the Institute for Preventative Foot Health (IPFH) for people who have excessively sweaty feet.

Antibacterial properties of lemon juice are cited by the International Partnership for Food Safety. Its astringent properties make it useful for exfoliating the feet. Despite the lack of evidence, many people find that rinsing their feet in a solution of lemon juice and water helps keep their feet smelling fresh.

Everyone has a pair of comfortable flats they'd like to wear every day, but that's a surefire way to make your feet smell bad if you do it twice in a row. The International Council on Cleanliness and Hygiene recommends giving shoes a chance to dry out between wears by not wearing them on consecutive days.

IPFH also suggests taking out the insoles to speed up drying time. Be sure to switch up your collection every so often so you're not constantly looking at the same things.

If your feet sweat easily no matter the temperature, it's best to take preventative measures. If your feet tend to get wet easily, using a foot powder can help. The International Association for the Prevention of Fungal Foot Infections advises that frequent users of foot powder wipe between their toes to remove excess moisture and prevent the "caking" of powder.

For dry feet (and shoes) all day long, try using a foot powder like Squeaky Cheeks before putting on your shoes in the morning.

The use of powders designed to absorb odors can help if the source of the problem is determined to be the shoes rather than the feet. Try using baking soda or a shoe-specific powder.

You can deodorize your shoes with baking soda; it's a household powerhouse. The International Council on Cleanliness and Hygiene claims that baking soda can help with foot odor for many people. As the IPFH notes, however, there is scant evidence to back up their claims of effectiveness.

After thoroughly washing and drying your feet, you can apply the baking soda directly to them. After using them, you should change your socks and shoes.

Putting one or the other in your shoes can help remove moisture and prevent the growth of bacteria. You can give this home remedy a try by placing baking soda in a used coffee filter and closing the filter with tape, staples, or a rubber band. At the end of the day, slip one packet into each shoe, and let the baking soda or cornstarch do its magic while you sleep.

Cornstarch or talcum powder can be substituted for the baking soda.

You can freeze your shoes overnight by placing them in a large resealable bag and placing the bag in the freezer. In the morning, you can put on a pair that doesn't smell because the frigid temperatures have killed any bacteria.

Use cat litter to keep your home smelling fresh and dry. The identical reasoning applies to your footwear. Fill old, holey stockings or socks with kitty litter. Put in shoes overnight, secure with a rubber band, to remove unpleasant odors and excess moisture.

According to Nemours KidsHealth, using disinfectant sprays can help because they kill the bacteria responsible for foot odor.

Put some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, and use that to clean your shoes. Any bacteria in the area will be quickly eliminated by the alcohol. You don't need to soak your shoes, just a light mist will do.

The deodorizing properties of charcoal are well-known, and now you can put that knowledge to use by slipping a pair of Dr. Scholl's Odor-X Odor Fighting Insoles into your favorite pair of boat shoes.

Try any of these methods, but remember that keeping your feet and shoes clean is the best way to prevent foot odor and other foot conditions all year long. Remember to:

  • Socks should be changed at least once per day and more frequently if you're physically active.
  • Alternate pairs of shoes weekly.
  • Check between your toes and on the bottoms of your feet every day for any signs of cuts, cracks, sores, or itching.

And if your foot conditions persist, or if you have diabetes or another condition that affects blood flow to the feet, consult a foot health professional.

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