If you ask us, summer is the perfect time to hit the trails, soak up some sun at the beach, and hang out at the park. But with all the perks of warm weather comes sweaty feet.
Whether your feet are slip-sliding out of your flip-flops, or burning up in your hiking boots, overly-moist (sorry!) feet can be frustrating and -- especially if they start to stink.
So, why must your feet sweat so much, you ask? We’ll tell you. Read on to get the truth about foot perspiration.
What Exactly is Hyperhidrosis?
It’s common to have sweaty feet at times, but excessive sweating can indicate a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, which affects almost five percent of people worldwide -- that’s a whopping 367 million people, just to put it into perspective for ya.
Hyperhidrosis can mean you wind up producing much more sweat than what’s typically associated with nervousness or exercise. Simply put, your sweat glands remain “on” for longer bouts of time and don’t stop properly.
Those with plantar hyperhidrosis -- or sweaty feet -- often find themselves contending with athlete’s foot, nail fungus, blisters, soggy footwear, or continually cold feet.
Causes of Sweaty Feet
Pinpointing the exact cause behind these bouts of extreme sweating continues to prove challenging for researchers, but there’s possibly a hereditary connection. Thanks, fam.
Some types of hyperhidrosis can be secondary, which means that they’re due to another cause. However, plantar (foot) hyperhidrosis usually is:
Idiopathic, meaning there’s no identifiable cause
Accompanied by excessive sweating on the palms
In rare cases, some genetic syndromes can be a secondary cause for excessive sweating on the soles and palms. If you’re worried that your sweaty feet might be due to an undiagnosed, underlying medical condition -- be sure to make an appointment to talk to your doctor.
Wait -- What About Stress?
Yup, hyperhidrosis can be stress-related -- which is why it’s often referred to as emotional sweating.
Stress-related sweating often occurs at the underarms, palms, and soles of the feet. This pattern of sweating -- which happens even when you’re not necessarily overheated -- is common in young people and may last well into adulthood.
So, how does someone know when they’re dealing with hyperhidrosis versus normal sweating? Here’s the scoop.
If the sweat and odor aren’t exactly helped to any degree with OTC products, and they’ve become a source of stress -- there’s a good chance it may be hyperhidrosis.
A good example of hyperhidrosis is someone who needs to constantly change their socks or who goes through shoes constantly due to odor. In this case, a medical evaluation would be advisable to rule out other less common causes of hyperhidrosis, such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or menopause.
How to Prevent Sweaty Feet
While excessive foot perspiration may feel permanent to put up with forever, there are many ways to dial down your sweat production to keep your feet cool, dry, and happy. Keep scrolling to check them out.
Wash Your Feet Daily
Washing your sweaty feet not only rinses away bacteria and sweat, but cools the skin down and reduces further sweating. You’ll thank us, trust me. Aim to wash your feet at least once a day. Also, use an OTC antifungal soap or add a few drops of antimicrobial essential oil, such as eucalyptus or tea tree, to the water.
Be sure to dry your feet thoroughly with a clean towel, especially in between the toes. Damp feet allow icky fungus and bacteria to flourish. Before slipping on your cozy socks, apply a light dusting of antifungal powder or cornstarch and voila.
Pick The Right Shoes
Unfortunately, some of the trendiest picks for summer shoes -- like colorful sneakers, strappy leather sandals, and plastic slip-ons -- trap in heat, which results in super sweater feet. But don’t worry, we have options for you.
In order to keep your feet dry, you don’t necessarily have to avoid these materials altogether, but you do want to make sure they’re 100% breathable.
Try a great sneaker with air mesh toppers and sandals with minimal upper material for plenty of cool airflow. Naturally porous soles made from jute or cork can also help keep your feet cool.
Leave Some Wiggle Room
Shoes that are too tight aren’t just really uncomfortable -- they also increase the chances that you will end up with sweaty feet inside. If your little piggies are squished inside your shoes, that will reduce the airflow to them and keep the temperature higher, especially between your toes. To avoid turning your shoes into a personal steam room for your feet, make sure your shoes provide you with enough breathing room to wiggle your toes.
Stock Up On Moisture-Wicking Socks
We all love cotton -- it’s super soft, super absorbent, and super affordable. However, it’s actually one of the worst things for keeping your feet dry because cotton doesn’t absorb moisture without becoming -- and staying -- soaked. Ugh.
While it might sound a little counterintuitive, wool socks are your best bet for dry and cool feet in the summertime, as wool wicks away moisture (rather than absorbs) to prevent your feet from becoming wet and soggy.
Keep Some Back-Up Socks Close By
If you find yourself with sweaty feet halfway through a crazy workday, there is a really simple solution: Keep a second pair of socks on hand so you can change them out. See, that wasn’t too tough, right?
Apply A Little Antiperspirant
Did you know that your feet contain more sweat glands per inch than any other part of your body? Yup, it’s true -- there are approximately 125,000 sweat glands on each foot. Wow, right?
Antiperspirant deodorant is an easy-to-use remedy for sweaty feet. These popular products work by temporarily blocking the sweat glands.
Experts over at the American Academy of Dermatology recommend applying a quality antiperspirant to dry feet right before bed and washing it off in the morning.
You can then repeat this process for another three or four consecutive nights before switching to once or twice a week.
Always Stay Hydrated
When you’re juggling a busy schedule, it’s easy not to drink enough water and find yourself sweating even more to keep your body temp in check.
While eight glasses of H2O is a good rule of thumb, just how much water you need can vary vastly depending on what you are doing and how hot it is outside -- so keep a big water jug or bottle on hand and drink up whenever you feel thirsty. Drink up!
Find Ways To Lower Your Stress
Stress can definitely be the culprit behind your sweaty feet. That said, one great way to combat excessive sweating is simply by doing things to lower your stress. Disconnect from everything and everyone and take a little time for yourself. Yes, that means log out of social media.
Go outdoors and breathe in the fresh air, meditate and listen to your breathing, sign up for that Pilates class you’ve been dying to try. Whatever it is that makes you happy and can dial down your stress -- do it!
Another great way to relax is simply by pampering yourself with a DIY spa night. Fill the bath with warm water, light a few candles, turn on the tunes, and pour yourself a glass of wine. To make your spa night extra special, put on a hydrating face mask to soothe your skin as you let your worries fade away. Your future self will love you for it.
We love Like Butter from Topicals -- a whipped mask packed with powerful botanicals, for skin so smooth, it’s like butter. All you need to do is apply a thin, even layer onto your cleansed, damp skin, leave it on for 20 minutes while you soak in the tub, and wipe it off.
Sweaty feet can put a real damper on your day. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to keep your feet dry, cool, and happy. One of those things is simply dialing down stress. There are many ways to do this, but if you ask us, nothing is more relaxing than a soothing bubble bath with an ultra-hydrating face mask -- like Topicals’ Like Butter. This thick, whipped mask is packed with powerful botanicals for skin so smooth, it’s like butter.
Topicals is more than beauty and more than skincare. We’re a new standard -- medicated botanicals. We only use the best ingredients and herbs that have been scientifically proven to work with your skin, not against it.
Whether you’re struggling with dry skin, oily skin, or a combination of the two -- we’re here to help you feel comfortable, confident, and happy.