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How Do You Get Rid of Dry Stinky Feet?

If you suffer from dry, cracked feet that produce an offensive odor, you likely feel confused and discouraged. Most causes of foot odor typically stem from excessive moisture, not dryness. So why do your feet still reek? This frustrating phenomenon is more common than you may realize. The key is pinpointing the root cause driving your symptoms. This article covers the science behind smelly but dry feet and actionable solutions for finding relief.

The Relationship Between Dry, Odorful Feet

In most circumstances, dry feet that rarely sweat should not have much odor. So what’s actually occuring when dry skin still produces a funky smell? A few possible explanations exist.

Fungal Infection

One of the most common culprits behind smelly dry feet is a fungal skin infection. Infections like athlete’s foot still allow for skin dryness and cracking. However, the fungus directly produces a strong, sharp odor even without moisture.

Dead Skin Buildup

Lots of thick, dry dead skin layered on the feet blocks fresh skin from emerging. The dead skin traps bacteria underneath that feed on debris and discharge gases that smell unpleasant.

Footwear Irritation

For some, tight shoes, socks or hosiery cause irritation, pressure and microscopic tears in the skin. The cracks allow odor-producing bacteria to flourish even when feet remain dry on the surface.


For reasons not yet understood, some sufferers of hyperhidrosis – excessive, uncontrollable sweating – end up with dry, smelly skin because they sweat out critical moisture their skin needs. The resulting dryness and odor can be very difficult to combat.

In rare cases, conditions like diabetes or neuropathy can also be at play when disrupting proper foot sweating and Oil production. But fungal infections and dead skin most often cause stinky dry feet.

Solutions For Fixing Smelly Dry Feet

Battling smelly, dry feet requires determining whether infection or buildup is primarily at fault. Then, customized treatment can begin. Here’s how to start:

Check For Infection

Survey feet, including between the toes, for red, flaky, itchy skin revealing possible infection. Notice if odor corresponds most strongly to infected areas. Seek treatment promptly before worsening.

Exfoliate & Hydrate Skin

Gently slough off dead skin with a foot scrub to revitalize fresh skin underneath. Apply rich moisturizer after to buck dead flakes and restore suppleness, elasticity and traction. The softer and more pliable the skin, the less capacity for odor.

Treat Hyperhidrosis

If sweating issues underly dry, smelly skin then targeted treatment is a must. Clinical-strength antiperspirants, prescription medications, iontophoresis therapy, botox or miraDry may be warranted for extreme cases.

Avoid Irritants

Wear properly fitted shoes and non-irritating socks to prevent friction damaging delicate skin. Air out feet regularly. Stop topical products if reactions occur. Monitor for correlations between applications and odor spikes.

Fight Bacteria & Fungus

Bacteria and fungi are likely partly responsible for any foot odor. Rotate antifungal and antibacterial foot powders to beat back microbes. Throw out old shoes harboring organisms contributing to reinfection.

Commit To Maintenance

Stick to a regular hygiene routine of washing, exfoliating and moisturizing feet to continually inhibit odor-causing buildup and infection. Periodically disinfect shoes and socks as well to prevent recurrence.

No one should have to needlessly battle smelly feet – especially simultaneously dry ones! With some diligent sleuthing and committed foot care, you can solve the mystery behind your unusual symptoms. Say goodbye to odorous, parched feet and feel fresh every day.