General Question

deaddolly's avatar

Why do some ppl's feet stink, while others don't?

Asked by deaddolly (3431points) October 22nd, 2008

I always wondered about the stench that is emitted from certain ppl’s feet and not others…this is kind of a crazy question!!

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45 Answers

RandomMrdan's avatar

I know some people like to wear sandles all the time…and whoa, their feet stink probably the worst (the leather kind of sandles).

I’ve never assumed genes as a reason for stinky feet…I’ve always thought it to be a hygiene problem. lack of cleaning while taking a bath/shower. Things like that.

lapilofu's avatar

I think it has a lot to do with the kind of shoe that one wears and how well it breathes.

GAMBIT's avatar

It could be their socks or stockings. Not everybody washes them daily also because of temperature and the footwear one chooses can make their feet sweat more.

poofandmook's avatar

I say it can be due to genes because I dated a guy once whose feet stunk getting out of the shower.

PupnTaco's avatar

It’s hrdtry.

poofandmook's avatar

@dave: Can I buy a vowel?

Judi's avatar

I don’t think it’s a hygiene issue either. Poor stinky feet people! I had acne when I was younger and I know people thought that was a hygiene problem too. I think it’s really more the way your body produces oils ad how they interact with the environment. It could be bacterial too, but that is not always cleared up with just “washing.” STOP STINKY FEET STYGMA!

PupnTaco's avatar

I think I left my vowels back there on the highway somewhere.

Yeah, it’s gotta be genetic. Three people in my family have raunchy stinkfoot, two don’t.

fireside's avatar

I’m always thought that the smell comes from dead skin cells, because some people’s feet smell only when they wear certain types of shoes.

Here’s a medical opinion:

“We’re not sure why, but in some people, the sweat glands excrete more sweat than they should,” says James Christina, D.P.M., president of the Maryland Podiatric Association. “And because sweat propagates bacterial and fungal growth, you get the associated bacterial and fungal infections that cause the odor.”

asmonet's avatar

When I was a kid I used to wear dirty socks and then when my brother would come running at me punches flying I’d stick my bare foot in his face. Once he even licked it by accident.

But more seriously, a number of factors, sweat production, oil production and bacteria all come together to piss off older brothers. And anyone else unfortunate enough to be near a stinkyfooter.

I stopped wearing the dirty socks and voila, mah feets iz like flowers. :D

jessturtle23's avatar

I have my dads feet. They are identical to his even in the smell so maybe it’s genes.

Amish_Ninja's avatar

Their feet stink from too much chatspeak….

deaddolly's avatar

my daughters feet stick even as she gets out of the shower too.
i can tell when she has her shoes off in the car. mine don’t smell—only when i wear sandels with a more rubbery sole.

It’s a strange thing…

Snoopy's avatar

Some other thoughts…

The genetic component is likely from how your body produces oils, etc and interacts w/ bacteria.

Similar traits (and smelly-ness) among family memebers are likely due to above and the fact that they are cross-exposing each other to a similar cocktail of bacteria/fungus, etc.

Although it can be a hygiene issue, likely it isn’t….all one can do w/ stinky feet is try to stack the odds in their favor: clean feet, clean socks (change midday if needed, and washing the shoes (what good is it to do the rest if you are just sticking your foot into a shoe that is teeming w/ bacteria…?) Don’t wear same shoes two days in a row to allow them to dry out, etc.

At its worst, stinky feet might be a result of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and/or bromhidrosis (extremely stinky sweat). Both are medical conditions that can be better managed under a doctor’s care….

deaddolly's avatar

@snoopy Get now I just have to tell my daughter she has bromohidrosis!!!! lol

Emilyy's avatar

My feet seem to stink mostly because I wear canvas shoes without socks. I hate socks, except when it’s cold. One time I was in an airport and I had to take off my shoes (which I had been wearing around town all day since check-out at 11am) and I heard one of the workers say,

“¡El aire está contaminado!”


Snoopy's avatar

@emily chuck those canvas shoes in the washer!!! :)

Judi's avatar

I wouldn’t have been embarrased because I don’t know what they said! translation please?

deaddolly's avatar

@emily lol I hate socks as well. My toes like to be FREE!!!

Snoopy's avatar

I don’t wear socks either…unless it is extremely cold. I am always amazed at how many people feel the need to comment on my lack of foot clothing.

poofandmook's avatar

stuff wadded up newspaper in your shoes at night… it sucks most of the smelly sweat right out of the shoes. And try putting a dryer sheet in there while you’re wearing them.

asmonet's avatar

@Judi: The air is contaminated/polluted. Basically. :)

Judi's avatar

You could also put a couple of bricks of charcoal in your shoes at night.

mea05key's avatar

I think it is due to genes and the sweet glenn in our body.

basp's avatar

I think it is partly due to the age of the person. My sons went through a particularly bad time when they were in their late teens and early twenties when their feet stunk terrible. They would put clean socks on three times a day and wash their feet and use speical products, everything you could think of…..but nothing helped. And, also, at the time, they led very physically active lifes. That must have contributed to it too. Now that they are older, their feet are not so bad.

Judi's avatar

Maybe hormonal?

Nimis's avatar

Genetics (sweat glands) may be part of the problem.

But saying it’s genetics because their feet smell
when they come out the shower isn’t necessarily true.

Athlete’s foot is a hardy bacteria.
You will need more than water and soap to vanquish that beast.

Snoopy's avatar

@nimis athlete’s foot is actually caused by a fungus.

cyndyh's avatar

Ages ago when I worked in an Italian restaurant I ate there every day and basically oozed garlic -even from my feet. Or at least it seemed that way. I think diet can have something to do with it in some rare cases. These days, my feet rarely stink at all.

scamp's avatar

This article explains alot.

Nimis's avatar

Oop, yes. That sounds more correct.

fireside's avatar

a quarter million sweat glands per foot? eww

kapuerajam's avatar

i have hyperhydrosis causing my hands and feer to sweat causing the smell

gailcalled's avatar

Here are some other suggestions from a while ago.

One of my college roomates was a dainty blond belle from Atlanta. Her hands always were sweaty. She carried handkerchiefs with her and often wore white cotton gloves.

I love this. ...“the sweet glenn in our body”....what’s it mean?

Snoopy's avatar

@gailcalled Thank you for posting that link. I thought that I had answered a similar Q before…..clearly I was feeling more verbose then….

krose1223's avatar

My son has had stinky feet since he was just a few months old! I never even put shoes on him until he started walking. It was always worse when he wore socks, but even when he didn’t they were smelly. It cracks me up. I know that doesn’t answer the question, just a fun story. :)

Judi's avatar

Oh no krose! There is nothing better than kissing baby feet… I guess unless they stink!

krose1223's avatar

Ha, I’ll still kiss them. It’s not so bad that I would miss out on thet feet kissing.

victornewman's avatar

I’m gonna set this straight ok? It has nothing to do with genetics. That is just stupid thinking. He has nothing to do with how clean you are, what types of shoes you wear or anything. Feet are suppose to stink, that is it’s job. If your feet has no odor, then you need to go get your hormones checked ASAP because that is not normal. And if your little girls feet stink, deal with it because she is not gonna grow out of it like some people say. If that were the case, then no women would have stinky feet. I think every ones brains are on autopilot. Little girls feet tend to stink the worst, but it’s more of a cheesy or cornchips smell, not a rotting flesh smell like males feet. So don’t believe anyone who says their feet don’t stink. And don’t believe the genetics myth, there is no such thing. People really need to stop the lies and stop just repeating what you here others say. FEET ARE STINKY. NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. DEAL WITH IT! IT’S CALLED LIFE!

PhiNotPi's avatar

The smell is most likely due to bacteria colonies in the shoes. Throw some hydrogen peroxide on the shoes (actually in the shoes) and see what happens, just to demonstrate the existence of the bacteria. As to how to get rid of it, try washing the shoes (in a washing machine) with some bleach. I have found that is only a temporary solution, as the bacteria will soon grow back.

victornewman's avatar

Coming from a family where my dad is a foot doctor. It has nothing at all to do with shoes. if that were the case then shoes that sit on the shelves in stores would stink on their own. It is not the shoe that makes the feet stinky, it is the feet that makes the shoe stinky. A lot of the things that make up stinky cheese are also in female feet. All of this is a proven fact. Do an experiment and wear shoes on your hands all day, lets see if your hand stinks, I bet it doesn’t. That proves right there shoes and socks have nothing to do with stinky feet. I have a niece who is 5 and she hates wearing shoes or socks. She is barefoot all day and her feet still stinks up the house like a cheese factory, so does her little girl friends that come over to play. She loves baths and bathes like crazy and are demanded to scrub her stinkies really good, but her feet still stinks. Same thing with all of my friends little girls.

ale1982's avatar

Some people have such genes, that they have not unpleasant smell on their feet and some people have unpleasant smell on their feet. It depends on genes.
I have unpleasant smell on my feet, but little.

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