Why do feet stink

Body odor, commonly referred to as “BO”, is a natural occurrence for all human beings. Traditionally generated where sweat collects on our bodies this natural development is commonly viewed to be a natural secretion. This is particularly true for feet where large amounts of sweat accumulate on a regular basis and kept gathered by our shoes (particularly shoes that do not breathe well) and thus generate a large, unpleasant odor. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, however, the odor collecting about our feet is not caused by our sweat alone but instead by bacteria that feed upon it.

Since human sweat is generally a relatively odorless substance containing primarily water and sodium (among many other trace elements) its natural odor is actually relatively low. Specific bacteria living upon the surface of the skin, on the other hand (something that everyone has) consume the sweat as sustenance and excrete relatively poor smelling byproducts after the consumption – generating the smell that affects feet. This is compounded on our feet in particular as the combination of both socks and air-restricting shoes tend to limit the ability of our feet to clear away excess sweat and bacterial debris, meaning the bacterial excrement builds up in a restricted area and causes excess smell to develop.

This is particularly an issue with feet as well as there are roughly 250,000 sweat glands present on the average person’s foot – roughly the same number that are present on our hands as well, however our hands typically do not develop the same odor problem given that we can wash them regularly and allow them to breathe more fully when walking around during our daily lives. Additionally each person releases a different level of sweat based upon their own biochemistry and living conditions, meaning that some people will simply produce more consumable material for the bacteria than others and thus create different developmental environments for the odorous material to collect in (as higher levels of consumable food means that higher amounts of excrement is produced and, subsequently, the worse smelling the feet become).

If you are concerned about the smell of your own feet consider looking for anti-bacterial sprays or inserts for your shoes that can help reduce the presence of the bacteria on a regular basis, or at the same time you may also consider changing shoes in order to allow for greater air flow and reduced heat collection in order to reduce scent as much as possible by not enabling the bacterial excrement to collect and develop.