How can I keep my feet from sweating so much?
Excessive foot sweating is called "hyperhidrosis". The skin on the bottom of the foot will appear wet, white, wrinkled and sometimes pitted. Hyperhidrosis can be mild and annoying, or severe, painful and limiting. The sweating may become worse in certain shoes and will sometimes worsen in times of stress. Bromhidrosis is the combination of sweaty feet and foot odor. A moist, warm environment is perfect for bacterial and fungal growth, both of which lead to foot odor. Although primary hyperhidrosis is a complex problem with no easy solution, most people with sweaty feet and foot odor can solve their problem with simple over the counter treatments. When over the counter treatments are not effective, see a podiatrist or dermatologist for prescription medications.
Tips to minimize sweating:
1. Wear breathable shoes with canvas or mesh siding. Although leather shoes are generally a good choice, all-leather enclosed shoes will increase perspiration and many leather shoes come with plastic liners which don't allow moisture to evaporate.
2. Dry out your shoes daily and consider rotating your shoes. Pull the insoles out of your shoes at the end of the day, so the shoe and insole can dry out.
3. Replace your insoles often. Shoe liners are fairly cheap and depending on the amount of perspiration, they may need to be changed, weekly, monthly or every few months.
4. Change your socks at least once during the day. Avoid cotton socks and choose small fiber wool or acrylic blend socks, which will wick away moisture from your feet. Cotton socks are a better choice than nylon socks, because they will absorb moisture, the problem is that the moisture won't evaporate. More on wicking socks.
5. If your toes sweat excessively, use lamb's wool between the toes. Lamb's wool can be found at your local drug store in the foot care section.
6. Spray or roll on an antiperspirant before putting on your shoes.
7. Use a foot powder on your feet or in your shoes. Choose products with aluminum chloride.
8. Soak your feet for 30 minutes a day for 7-10 days in black tea and water (2 bags per pint of water - brew tea as usual). Black tea has tannic acid which is anti-bacterial. Another option is to soak your feet in vinegar and warm water (one part vinegar to two parts warm water).
9. Make sure you do not have a fungal infection. Peeling and scaling on the bottom of the feet and in between the toes are a classic sign of foot fungus. Increased moisture on the feet can increase the chance of a fungal infection.
10. If symptoms do not resolve, see a podiatrist for prescription medication alternatives.
More information on sweaty feet and foot odor.
More information on athlete's foot.
More information on wicking socks.
last update 6/16/10
Disclaimer: The advice on this website is not intended to substitute for a visit to your health care provider. We will not be held liable for any diagnosis made or treatment recommended. Consult your doctor if you feel you have a medical problem.