By Sanjay Ghosh
Is there anything more uncomfortable and embarrassing than sweaty feet? It’s a special kind of torture we all know. And when you kick off your shoes after a long day, the smell can be even worse. We all know the feeling, but how do we solve this icky problem? That’s the question on most people's mind. That’s why we dived into the science behind the sweat. So you don’t have to. We’ll start by explaining why your feet sweat in the first place. Then we explain why some people’s sweat production goes into overdrive. We’ll also dive into the reasons why sweaty feet and smelly feet often come as a package deal. And of course, we’ll tell you how you can make sure you don’t suffer from this nasty problem in the future.
Why do my feet sweat?
Take a look at the bottom of your foot. You might think there is nothing to see. But you’d be wrong. The soles of our feet host an impressive 250,000 sweat glands each. These sweat glands, known as eccrine glands, are small tubular structures located in the dermis layer of the skin. They produce sweat, which then travels through a duct to reach the skin's surface, helping to regulate body temperature. Without them, we’d overheat every time we went out for a brisk walk. And hiking would be out of the question. The horror!
Our feet are unlike other areas of our body. The soles of our feet lack oil glands and rely solely on sweat glands for moisture. This is a result of evolution. Sweaty feet used to aid our ancestors in traversing different terrains by providing grip and flexibility.
But that was all the way back then. Nowadays, feet are often encased in non-breathable footwear. That means the same feature now gives you discomfort and allows bacteria and fungi to grow. So that explains why feet sweat. But why do some people sweat normally, while other people’s shoes feel like a swimming pool? In other words…
What causes excessively sweaty feet?
There are different reasons why some people sweat more than others. And the medical term for excessive sweating is hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis can show in all kinds of places, but when we’re talking about the feet, we call it plantar hyperhidrosis. Here’s more information on the different causes of sweaty feet.
- This type of hyperhidrosis occurs without any apparent medical reason. It's believed to come from an overactive sympathetic nervous system. Specifically, faulty nerve signals trigger the eccrine sweat glands to become overactive. The primary areas affected include the palms, soles of the feet, underarms, and occasionally the face. Genetics may play a role as it can run in families.
- Unlike the previous condition, secondary hyperhidrosis results from an underlying medical condition or medication use. Conditions that might trigger it include diabetes, menopause, hot flashes, thyroid problems, certain types of cancer, nervous system disorders, and infections. Some medications like pain relievers, antidepressants, and certain diabetes and hormonal medications can also be the culprit.
- Simple enough. If you’re feeling warm, sweating is a normal reaction. Both external heat and elevated body temperature can cause the feet to sweat excessively to help reduce body temperature.
- Plantar hyperhidrosis is more common in men than in women, and more common in young adults than older adults.
- The feet have a relatively high concentration of sweat glands. This can lead to more sweating in these areas.
This isn’t without dangers. Excessive sweating is more than just embarrassing. It can be downright dangerous. Conditions like athlete's foot, fungus, or even infection become more likely in the damp environment sweaty feet provide. So if you suffer from this issue, it’s important to find a solution. Luckily, there are countless ways to reduce the impact of sweaty feet on your life.
How can I stop my feet from sweating?
Cork Insoles to stop sweaty feet
Cork insoles have been proven to help with foot related issues. IAnd when it comes to sweaty feet, they’re a reliable fix for many. Cork is known for its moisture absorbing properties, which is why it's a popular sweaty feet remedy. Its porous nature doesn’t trap moisture in your shoe like synthetic materials. Instead, moisture gets wicked away. This makes cork insoles the perfect insoles for sweaty feet.
The porous nature of cork has another benefit. Cork breathes. This means any moisture evaporates faster due to the increased air circulation. And remember how we talked about those nasty bacteria? Well, cork is also antimicrobial. By creating a hostile environment for bacteria, your foot stays safe.
And finally, cork insoles are temperature regulating. Since the cork oak tree grows in Portugal, it’s good at beating the heat. And with cork insoles, so can your feet. Primal Soles are also the only company in the world that makes 100% EU-certified recyclable insoles. Our entire process is fully circular and carbon negative. So with our sustainable insoles, you don’t even have to sweat the environmental impact. So if you suffer from sweaty feet, insoles might just do the trick.
Foot care strategies
Apart from the above, there are a few strategies you can use to mitigate sweaty feet. For instance:
- Keep it clean: Keeping up with hygiene is extra important if you tend to sweat more. Washing your feet with soap will help stave off bacteria and reduce smell.
- Breathable footwear: If you’re going for breathable insoles, it’s a good first step. But also consider wearing breathable shoes made from canvas. And some moisture wicking bamboo socks to top it off, and you’re good to go.
- Exfoliate: You might not realize, but dead skin cells can trap moisture under the sole of your feet as well. By removing them with an exfoliating cream, you can get rid of them.
- Hydrate: You might think adding more fluids to the mix sounds counterintuitive. But staying well hydrated helps cool down the body and reduce the need for sweat.
So there you have it. By following these simple guidelines, you can enjoy a life free of sweaty feet. Primal Soles is dedicated to helping people walk on clouds, without harming the environment. We make insoles for people who are eager to explore nature without harming it. And without harming their feet.
Every year, 1.2 million tons of footwear waste ends up in landfills. The impact on the environment is enormous. That’s why we have made it our mission to show the world that you can be environmentally responsible, without giving up on your bodies’ health. Primal soles outperform traditional insoles when it comes to comfort, performance and dare we say, style ;). Why not check them out for yourself? We have insoles for people with low arches, high arches, or anything in between. Or try our premium line of insoles, Primal Clouds, that feel like walking on clouds.
Support nature, and let nature support you.
Sanjay Ghosh is an SEO-copywriter, and he never walks anywhere without a pair of Primal Soles. With a focus on sustainable innovation during his Master’s at the University of Groningen, he helps make the world more sustainable one blog at a time. Find out more on his website.