If You Have Smelly Feet, Then You Need These Products

Photographed by Mike Garten.
When a date moves from the restaurant to Netflix and chill on the couch, I panic about the inevitable shoe removal. When I fall in love with a pair of flats, I quickly remember that I only have a few wears before they start to deteriorate. Why, you ask? I have smelly, sweaty feet — to the point that they induce serious social anxiety. It's not the sexiest issue, I know, but after realizing I'm far from being the only one in these (stinky) shoes, I took it upon myself to get to the root of the problem and find out how to stop it in its tracks.

Suzanne Levine, DPM, explained that it’s natural for feet to sweat, since they have more sweat glands than any other area. The sweat is typically odorless; the bitter stench usually comes when it “sits around on your clothing or on your body and the [bacteria break down]." Long story short: My shoes breed bacteria after there’s an excessive buildup of sweat — and it only gets worse when my feet soak in the same shoes day after day.

Excessive sweating can also be a medical condition, called hyperhidrosis. Athlete’s foot can also cause perspiration, which leads to more fungal growth and then — you guessed it — the dreaded odor. Seeing a podiatrist for a diagnosis first is your best bet, but I've compiled some remedies that have been successful for me.

Ahead, see how I keep my feet smelling like an air freshener all day long.
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Dr. Levine recommends adding essential oils, like cypress or peppermint, to baths to help mask odor and keep bacteria at bay. I like to soak my feet in a tub of warm water filled with this minty bath salt that gives my "city feet" a relaxing, tingling sensation and a crisp scent that lingers for hours.

The Body Shop Peppermint Reviving Foot Soak, $16, available at The Body Shop.
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Some people are really into exfoliation — oh, and full-feet metamorphoses — and I am one of them. I squeeze a dollop of this charcoal-based scrub onto a pumice stone or loofah to exfoliate the dead, flaky skin off — and extend my time between pedicure appointments.

Earth Therapeutics Purifying Foot Scrub, $8, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Tea tree oil is the ultimate all-natural remedy for deodorizing and killing the bacteria that causes our facial acne, so it comes as no surprise that it works wonders on our feet, too. Plus, a spray-on formula is especially convenient in this case, since we aren't super excited to get all touchy-feely with our smelly feet at the end of the day.

Earth Therapeutics Tea Tree Oil Foot Spray, $9, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Moisture is the enemy of fresh feet. But I'll be damned if I have cracking and callused skin down there — especially in the summer, when they're often on display. When I don't have the time for a full scrub followed by a cream, I’ll wipe my feet with these pads. They have both glycolic and hyaluronic acid, so I get the benefits of exfoliation and hydration.

The Magic Pads, $19.95, available at The Magic Pads.
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Dr. Levine says that antiperspirants are just as effective on the bottoms of your feet as they are under your armpits. But slapping on some gel deodorant doesn’t sound like it'll feel too comfortable. Instead, try an antiperspirant spray that dries instantly and lasts all day.

Degree Motionsense Fresh Energy Dry Spray Antiperspirant, $4.99, available at Target.
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One key rule to follow? Never, ever put your feet into damp shoes. To dry them up quickly, sprinkle deodorizing powder in your sneakers and socks to absorb moisture and mask the scent.

This one from Lush contains bay oil and benzoin resinoid and replaces unpleasant odors with fresh, just-out-of-the-washing-machine smells.

Lush Twinkle Toes, $6.95, available at Lush.
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