Sweaty feet are uncomfortable in several ways. They feel nasty. They usually smell awful. They can cause you to slip and slide inside your boots and impair your balance, especially if you’re working on an uneven work surface like a sloped lot, a steep roof, or the narrow walkway of metal scaffolding.

We can’t offer an instant cure that will last 24/7 for the rest of your life, but we can provide 7 quick fixes for construction workers and others who are on their feet all day and
can’t afford the discomfort of sweaty feet

Proper footwear really matters!

Choose breathable work boots. Generally, leather is your best option for work boots because leather is durable, comfortable, and breathable. When your feet do sweat, the moisture can dissipate through the leather itself, without allowing outside moisture to flow inside. Most synthetic fabrics can’t provide that feature. Although synthetic mesh is breathable, it isn’t as durable. Nor does synthetic material stretch and conform to your feet as well as leather can .

The Timberland PRO Pit Boss boot and the Rambler Western Cowboy boot by Ariat are solid, hardworking leather boots that get good reviews for comfort, too.

Wear work boots with moisture-wicking insoles or midsoles. Soles with moisture-wicking properties actually pull the sweat away from your feet. They also help reduce foot odor in the process. An additional benefit of moisture-controlling insoles is that they usually provide padding and arch support for additional comfort. Two boots that include moisture-wicking insoles are the Ironbridge Industry boot by Dr. Martens and the Georgia FLXpoint Boot

If your favorite work boots don’t come with moisture-wicking insoles, then you should consider purchasing a pair from Dr. Scholl’s, Propet, Superfeet or Dr. Martens. Timberland and a couple of other boot manufacturers also market well-ranked lines of insoles that can be purchased separately and cut to fit your work boots. You can purchase a pair of quality insoles that get good reviews without spending much more than $20.

Wear anti-microbial, absorbent socks. The right socks are a critical part of keeping your feet dry. The rule of thumb is to wear cotton when the weather is warm and wool when it’s cold. Some synthetics also do a good job of absorbing dampness. Nylon, however, isn’t a good idea. It traps moisture. Regardless of the material in them, the best socks will pull the moisture away from your feet while they fight the growth of bacteria.

Start each day fresh.

Dry your boots thoroughly before you wear them again. Damp boots become smelly boots quickly. To prevent odor and the spread of moisture-loving bacteria, always allow your boots to air dry completely before you put them on again. Hasten the process by placing them in front of a fan, but resist the urge to use a hair dryer or other heat source not made for boots. You may shorten the life of your boots or make them very stiff and hard to wear by doing so.

Depending upon the weather and the time of year, you may have to purchase boot dryers that you can place inside your boots at the end of your shift. These will dry the entire boot without damaging the fabric or leather. Another option is to purchase an extra pair of work boots, and then wear them on alternate days so that both pairs have ample time to dry.

Make sure your feet are clean AND DRY before you put your boots on. Washing your feet has the double benefit of cooling your feet and of cleansing away dirt and odor-causing bacteria. After you wash your feet, make sure you dry them thoroughly before you put your boots on. Take care to dry between your toes, where bacteria often find a warm damp place to start growing again.

Use foot powders.

Foot powders absorb moisture. Less moisture means more comfort and less foot odor. Foot powders aren’t very expensive. Often they have a clean scent. Some foot powders also fight the growth of fungus like athlete’s foot. The only negative to foot powders is the “nuisance factor” of cleaning up the powder residue that tends to get tracked around the house when you take your boots off.

And don’t forget your antiperspirant, at least occasionally.

Spray your feet with antiperspirant. This may sound crazy, but it isn’t. Per square inch, your feet contain more sweat glands than any other part of your body. Antiperspirant sprayed on your feet works the same way as it does under your arms--it blocks the sweat glands.

Prolonged blockage of these glands isn’t good for your feet, so you should use the antiperspirant for only 3 or 4 days consecutively. Apply it at night and wash it off in the morning when you shower or bathe. After a few nights of use, apply antiperspirant no more than a couple times a week.


These quick fixes highlight a couple of key points about smelly feet. First, allowing moisture to dissipate is essential to keeping your feet comfortable. Wearing boots made from leather and other breathable materials is best in this regard. Completely drying your boots before you wear them again also helps.

Second, moving moisture away from your feet keeps them healthy by slowing the growth of bacteria and reducing odor. Moisture wicking socks and insoles help, as do powders and antiperspirants.

Author's Bio: 

Maya Bleak is an enthusiastic writer and editor at TheFootFacts. When she’s not researching, writing, editing or guest posting, you’ll find her outdoors, in hiking boots appreciating nature, very likely with a camera around her neck.