Stinky Feet Cure 1: Sock MaterialOne of the major culprits in holding onto sweat is using the wrong kind of sock. Traditional cotton socks hold onto sweat longer than moisture wicking brands. You know, those kind of socks they label as "athletic" at the store. In turns out it isn't all just marketing buzz, they actually serve a real purpose. Moisture wicking socks aren't to be confused with normal nylon or polyester socks. The design of moisture wicking socks actually pulls the sweat away from your skin to allow it to evaporate quicker. This is usually done by the material itself (like merino wool). Sometimes the physical weave the company has made with the sock material also pulls away sweat from your skin. One of my personal favorites in this arena is SmartWool brand Merino socks. I used them to race cross country and track throughout high school and college as well as normal long-runs in the winter. They come in varying thicknesses (thin for racing, thicker for winter time or normal wear) and if you have a penchant for compression you can get the compression recovery version as well. The one downside I found with SmartWool is that in some shoes they would make my foot slide slightly causing friction underfoot while running. This wasn't universally true for all my shoes, but did happen occasionally. Regardless, I didn't end up with smelly racing spikes because race time moisture was under-control.
2. Shoe DeodorizerYou've seen these in all kinds of forms. Sprays, sneaker balls, pucks, etc. It even makes an appearance at the end of the book turned movie Holes where Henry Winkler's character finally invents Sploosh, a miracle cure for foot odor. There's a couple ways you can go with shoe deodorizers. First are physical deodorizers, usually using activated charcoal to help de-funkify your footwear. These can be bags with activated charcoal you add to your shoe or even charcoal based insoles. Secondly you can use a chemical or spray deodorant. When I say chemical I don't necessarily mean chemicals. Although there are plenty of chemical grade solutions, there are also a lot of natural/plant/essential oil based solutions as well. The long and the short of it is that you can use a spray to help stop bacterial growth inside of your shoe causing that stench. The caveat to this one is that some shoes are simply too far gone to save. I can't recommend putting your shoes in the washing machine since it will ruin anything left in the cushioning. Usually when shoes are too far to save stink-wise, they're also worn out as well so you might be doing well to change your shoes at that stage.
3. Changing Your DietThis is not for your standard smelly foot. Sometimes when we eat things like garlic or curry, herbs with very strong odors, they can remain in us and come out through our pores while sweating. If you consume a lot of either one of these spices and people say you tend to smell like that, it might be an indicator to slow down. We both know garlic and curry are delicious, but there are plenty of other flavors to try that don't have negative side-effects like body odor.
4. Tea Tree/Lemongrass SoapI'm partial to trying to get rid of the root of the cause before it becomes an issue. A major facet of that is good hygiene. You may be familiar with a growing trend of using Tea Tree Oil to deal with bacteria/fungus. A variety of scholarly research has shown it to be effective. You may not, however, be familiar with the idea that Lemongrass Oil has been shown to be even more effective at stopping bacteria and fungus from growing. That's why when I began working on our "shield" series of soap I wanted to make an effective soap for washing away common fungus and bacteria.
5. Tea Tree/Lemongrass Foot SoakA similar idea exists here with the soap. Good hygiene and using essential oils to stop the growth of bacteria and fungus. The big difference being that the foot soak is going to have your feet spend a much bigger amount of time in the water than with the soap. You also have the chance to benefit from the salt soak as well. Salt soaks have been known to potentially reduce inflammation. Meaning better feeling feet after a long run or hard work shift.
6. OTC Medicated SolutionsOur last and most powerful options here are an over-the-counter medicated solution for fungus and bacteria. Despite some people claiming to the contrary, natural and essential oil solutions aren't going to be as effective as a medication if you already have a fungal infection. It's why the OTC products exist in the first place. Like you, I at one time or another picked up athlete's foot from the gym locker room. It's not particularly pleasant to talk about, but it is the reality of gym life at times. Even the cleanest of high-end gyms can have problems with it. That's when you turn to things with an anti-fungal medication.
OTC Anti-Fungal CremesThese products include an "active ingredient" like