How Foot Odor Affects My Life?

My name is John and I suffer from excessive foot odor. It’s something I’ve struggled with since my teenage years and has had a significant impact on my life.

In my early high school days, I first noticed the other kids making comments about how my feet smelled bad in the locker room after gym class. At first I laughed it off, but then I realized they were right – my feet did have a particularly strong odor. It was embarrassing to take my shoes off around others. I started avoiding PE class and sports so I wouldn’t have to deal with the locker room teasing. This made me feel isolated from my peers.

As I got older, the foot odor remained a problem no matter how much I washed my feet or used foot powders and sprays. I think I just have hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) in my feet that causes extra moisture and bacteria growth, leading to the bad smells.

In college, sharing a dorm room was tough. My roommate definitely noticed the foot odor and made a point to spray air freshener whenever I took my shoes off. I became known around the dorm as “Smelly Feet Guy.” It was so humiliating. I stopped hanging out in the dorm common areas or going to parties to avoid drawing attention to my condition. My social life took a huge hit.

When I started my first job out of college, I was extremely self-conscious about having stinky feet around my coworkers and boss. I never took my shoes off at the office, even though it would have been more comfortable. I was terrified that my cubicle or the conference room would take on a noticeable foot odor that would be traced back to me. I could tell it seemed strange to others that I always kept my shoes on, but it was preferable to them sniffing my feet!

This constant worry over how my feet smell has limited my activities. I avoid situations where I have to remove my shoes like the beach, pool parties, yoga class, getting a pedicure with friends, and more. It’s difficult when going through airport security too! I can tell the TSA agents sometimes get a whiff of my feet when I go through the scanner. Travelling in general gives me anxiety because it’s hard to control the odor in hotels and rental cars.

Foot odor also makes dating really tough. Intimacy with a new partner gives me major anxiety. When do I let them know about my smelly feet? Do I warn them in advance or wait until the socks come off? I tend to avoid serious relationships altogether because I’m so ashamed of my condition. My dating life has nearly come to a halt because of this.

On a day-to-day basis, just wearing shoes and socks is frustrating. My shoes retain the odor no matter how much I wash them or use odor absorbing sprays or inserts. And my socks end up so smell just after a day of wear that I don’t know if they can be salvaged. I have to buy new socks constantly. The money spent on foot hygiene products really adds up!

The foot odor also makes me feel generally unclean. Even right after a shower, as soon as I put socks back on, it starts again. No matter how well I scrub my feet, they still seem gross and stinky. It makes my confidence plummet. I feel like no one wants to be near the guy with smelly feet. Simple things like going for a walk on a sunny day or running errands seem unpleasant because my feet will get all sweaty.

I have tried all sorts of remedies – special soaps, foot soaks, shoe inserts, prescription strength antiperspirants, sage tea bags, iontophoresis machines. But nothing fully eliminates the problem. I even got up the courage to talk to my doctor about it finally, but he wasn’t able to offer any new solutions.

At this point, I’ve almost given up hope that I’ll ever have normal smelling feet. I just try to manage it as best I can and limit situations where others might notice. As you can imagine, it’s limiting and isolating. My foot odor dictates so many aspects of my life from relationships to career. I just wish I could enjoy the freedom of kicking my shoes off at the end of a long day like everyone else. It’s the little things you take for granted. My social anxiety over this continues to increase as I age. I worry that I’ll be that elderly man with the offensive feet that no one wants to be around. So in many ways, foot odor has shaped my identity and continues to impact me daily. I know it may seem silly, but it’s a real struggle. Maybe one day they’ll invent a permanent cure! Until then, I’ll just try to stay positive and do what I can to minimize the smell for myself and others.