If you suffer from excessively sweaty feet, finding the right shoes can be a challenge. The wrong footwear may lead to discomfort, odors, and even infections or blisters on your feet. Fortunately, with the right features and materials, shoes can help control sweat and odor to keep your feet dry and comfortable all day. Here are some top picks for sweat-wicking, breathable shoes to consider if you have hyperhidrosis or sweaty feet.
Look for Mesh and Breathable Fabrics
One of the most important features to look for is mesh panels or breathable woven fabrics like canvas or linen. These allow for ample airflow to your feet, preventing the buildup of heat and sweat. Mesh panels on the top of the shoe or inserts allow hot air to escape and fresh air to circulate inside the shoe. Breathable linings also help prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Look for shoes made of all-natural, breathable materials instead of synthetics which trap heat and moisture. Brands like Allbirds and Rothy’s make stylish sneakers from wool, eucalyptus fibers, and other breathable materials perfect for sweaty feet.
Choose Moisture-Wicking Socks
Pairing breathable shoes with moisture-wicking socks is key for sweat management. The socks pull sweat away from your feet while the shoes allow it to evaporate. Look for socks made from coolmax, wool, or other moisture-wicking fibers like nylon or polyester. Change your socks at least halfway through the day to keep feet dry. Some brands like Bombas or Swiftwick have socks specifically designed for sweaty feet and athletic activities with extra ventilation in moisture-prone areas. Wearing breathable bamboo or cotton socks can also help.
Look for Open, Airy Shoe Designs
Choose open-toed shoes, sandals, or styles with perforations whenever possible. These allow air to reach your feet directly. For sneakers or athletic shoes, a mesh upper with lots of perforations is ideal. Low-cut styles that don’t cover the ankles are also a good pick for ventilation. If you need more coverage, look for oxfords, loafers, or slip-ons with ample perforations. Brands like Skechers, Reef, and OluKai have great open and airy shoe designs suitable for sweaty feet.
Consider Sweat-Absorbing Insoles
Insoles designed to absorb moisture and sweat can make regular shoes more comfortable. Look for insoles made from foam, gel, or other absorbent materials. These absorb sweat so your feet stay dryer. Antimicrobial properties also help reduce odors. Brands like Superfeet, New Balance, Dr. Scholl’s and Sof Sole make insoles to control sweat and odor. You can swap out the standard insoles in your shoes with these sweat-absorbing replacements. Just be sure to air them out between wears.
Use Antiperspirant Sprays or Powders
Using antiperspirants made specifically for feet can curb sweat before it starts. These sprays, powders and roll-ons contain ingredients like aluminum chloride to temporarily block sweat glands and reduce moisture. Apply them clean dry feet before socks and shoes to stay drier all day. Reapply as needed halfway through the day. Take care not to over-apply powders inside shoes as this can get messy. Some popular brands are Carpe, Sweatblock and Dr. Scholl’s Sweat Relief Powder.
Opt for Leather, Canvas or Mesh Shoes
The material your shoes are made from impacts breathability. Leather or canvas shoes allow more airflow than synthetic materials. Synthetics and rubber trap heat and sweat. favor genuine leather or canvas shoes in open weave patterns. For athletic shoes, mesh uppers are ideal to allow ventilation. Some shoes also have antimicrobial treatments to inhibit odors from sweat. Brands like TOMS, Converse, Keds and Vans make casual canvas shoes great for sweaty feet. Look for leather boots or oxfords with perforations.
Let Shoes Air Out Between Wears
To prevent odors from building up, let your shoes fully air out and dry between wears. Rotate your shoes so you aren’t wearing the same pair two days in a row. Remove insoles to let them dry fully. Place baking soda inside to absorb odors – just shake it out before wearing again. Cedar shoe trees also help absorb moisture and maintain the shape and size of your shoes between wears. Having a few go-to pairs makes it easier to rotate.
Change Socks Midday
Pack an extra pair of dry socks in your bag if possible. Swapping out sweaty socks halfway through the day for a fresh pair helps keep feet dry. Consider moisture wicking compression socks that fight odor – wearing these under regular socks adds an extra layer of sweat protection. Having backup socks ensures you always have a dry pair on hand for comfort and hygiene.
Minimize Sweat Triggers
Anything that makes you sweat more overall can exacerbate sweaty feet. Spicy foods, alcohol, stress and extra physical activity can all increase sweating. Wearing socks and shoes to bed can also lead to excess sweat. Keeping feet uncovered at night gives them time to air out and prevents sweat buildup. Manage anxiety, drink plenty of water and avoid sweat-inducing foods and drinks to minimize excessive sweating.
See a Doctor if Needed
For severe foot sweating and hyperhidrosis, consult your doctor. They may recommend prescription-strength antiperspirants or even Botox injections to temporarily block sweat glands. Medications that reduce overall sweating like Drysol and anticholinergics may also help. Doctors can also rule out any underlying conditions contributing to excessive foot sweat. Proper treatment can make managing sweat easier.
With the right footwear choices and sweat management tactics, you can combat sweaty feet and stay comfortable. Breathable, moisture-wicking shoes and socks are key for ventilation and odor prevention. Combine these with antiperspirants, regular changing of socks and letting shoes air out between wears for the best results. With some trial and error, you’re sure to find shoe styles that keep your feet dry, fresh and comfortable all day.