In this unbelievably thorough article, we have compiled nine effective ways to combat excessive sweat and keep your feet healthy at the same time. (“I like sweating in work boots,” said no one ever.)
If it’s warm out or you’re in thick socks, sweating in work boots can be inevitable. But there are ways to reduce sweating and combat unstoppable sweating.
What you will learn in this guide
- how to combat excessive sweating
- how to let your feet breathe and keep your feet fresh
- how best to regulate your body temperature
- how to keep your feet cool in hot weather
- how to prevent foot odor, unpleasant smell, and athletes foot
Sweating Excessively Is Natural
The human body is peppered with sweat glands. They are present for a number of reasons, but primarily for regulating your temperature in hot weather. While we need thermoregulation to continue living, the stench of stale sweat makes it challenging to fully appreciate the vital role played by sweat glands in keeping our body temperature normal.
Unfortunately, work boots tend to be heavily lined. While this may make them comfortable to wear for extended periods, the downside is work boots can become very hot, leading to excessive sweating. Keeping your feet nice and dry then becomes somewhat of a challenge.
If you are a person whose feet sweat easily, you will know the torture of being unable to kick off your shoes in the office. For, in the back of your mind, you know the acrid fumes will emanate from your footwear.
[Learn more: 7 Ways to Dry Boots Fast]
Embarrassed By Your Overactive Sweat Glands?
When foot odor fills the air in a room full of people, there are few things more embarrassing for those of us cursed with excessive feet sweating. Though others in the vicinity may screw up their nose and try to pinpoint the source of the unpleasant smell, most people will be too polite to say anything. But you know, they know, it’s you.
Before splashing out on new breathable work boots or moisture absorbent socks, it’s instructive to know what the cause of excessive sweating is in the first place, even in cold weather. We have tracked down the top 3 reasons your feet never feel fresh.
[Related: The 3 Best Boot Socks You Can Buy]
The causes of feet sweating
- An extreme medical condition called hyperhidrosis.*
- A random foot condition when sweat glands continue to work overtime.
- Hot environments.
*The international hyperhidrosis society estimates that some five percent of the world’s population suffers from excessive sweating.
9 Great Tips to Wear Work Boots and Prevent Odor
So how do you get dry feet, reduce odor and reduce sweat even in warm weather? We have pondered this question quite extensively and refined the answer to 9 ways to keep your feet clean and avoid feet from sweating.
We list them below, and you will be happy to see sweating in work boots, and suffering athlete’s foot can be a thing of the past. All our tips are quick and easy to follow. In no time, you will enjoy keeping your feet clean and fresh even if you have foot conditions.
Tip No 1. – Select a good pair of boots that will keep your feet daisy fresh
A sturdy pair of comfortable-fitting, breathable boots are a must. Your feet will thank you. Generally, avoid synthetic materials if you can. Depending on your occupation, try to always opt for a nice pair of lightweight boots. These will keep your feet cooler, as will breathable socks (See Tip No. 3). However, your job, particularly if it involves regularly coming into contact with water, will determine the type of boots you can buy.
Tip No. 2. – Foot powders to reduce sweating excessively
Treating your feet with antifungal powder will help keep your feet cool in socks. They also help to absorb sweat, and their antibacterial properties reduce irritation. Get into a routine of doing this before you put on your boots in the morning.
Tip No. 3. – Wear socks to stay dry and fresh
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, wearing socks will soak up sweat generated by your feet and reduce noxious odors. Buy the best socks you can manage, but be careful to buy the right material; wool socks in winter boots or cotton in the summer is a good combo. All socks that you wear to prevent sweating, not just thicker socks, should be laundered and changed daily.
Tip No. 4 – Foot hygiene with antibacterial soap
The best way to keep feet in good condition is by rigorously cleaning your feet in warm water whenever you take off your boots. Specialist soaps and lotions will penetrate your skin pores and keep your feet odor-free, as will foot powder for athlete’s foot and toenail fungus. Change socks regularly, too, and swap to a second pair of boots if you have them.
Tip No. 5 – Stuff with waste paper
If you have any waste paper lying around, old newspapers, for example, stuff your boots and leave overnight. The paper will help soak up feet sweat and is cheaper than buying a boot dryer.
[Learn more: 10 Ways to Soften New Boots ASAP]
Tip No. 6 – Keep your work boots clean
Keeping your boots clean inside and out is a big help in your battle with sweaty feet. Your work boots are tough, so don’t worry overly about cleaning them. If you use shoe inserts, remove them, wash with a mild detergent and leave them and the boots to dry off thoroughly. Drying is important as it will eliminate feet smells which are inevitable if you are sweating in work boots.
Tip No. 7 – Change the stock insole
The insoles that come with your work boots are not necessarily designed to keep your feet fresh. To stop your feet from sweating, you may have to change the standard insole for something better. Two insoles that keep feet from sweating are charcoal and bamboo. These insoles – combined with the right socks – will help prevent your feet from sweating. That way, if your feet sweat, you will feel a whole lot more comfortable and drier.
You may wish to check out the American Podiatric Medical Association for further information on dealing with smelly feet.
[Learn more: The 12 Best Insoles for Work Boots]
Tip No. 8 – Use foot deodorant
Deodorant is not just for your armpits. After washing your feet, use a dry towel, and then spray your feet before putting on your socks. However, if you have rash-sensitive skin, you may wish to skip this. Instead, spray the inside of your shoes or boots to reduce the effects of sweat. You should do this even if you can use foot deodorant directly on your skin to keep feet from sweating.
You can go the natural route, though, by making your own deodorant using corn starch, or you can soak your feet for 30 minutes in a baking soda solution.
[Our favorite product is Dr. Scholl’s Ultra Odor-Fighting Spray]
Tip No. 9 – Use cedar shoe trees
Shoe trees are a must for boot care, and while people tend to think about them more for casual city boots — because they’re great at helping boots retain their shape — they’re also a good idea for sweaty work boots because the cedar helps to suck up odor, plus it’s antibacterial. Buy a pair!
[The best value shoe trees are Stratton’s shoe trees!]
Selecting the Best Boots If You Sweat
Pinpointing the best work boots for sweaty feet is no mean feat in itself. However, we carried out more than 100 hours of research, testing boots in various challenging conditions to check for excessive sweating.
So what do you look out for in a boot if you sweat a lot? The crucial factors in no particular order are:
- Good wicking capabilities
- Breathability and air pockets
- Soft cushioning and extra padding
- Ankle support and midsole
Using these criteria, we arrived at 5 top picks for people who sweat more than normal.
Best breathable work boot for men
KEEN Utility Men’s Flint Mid Work Boot
- 100% leather
- Superior torsion stability
- Comfortable ankle support
- Not waterproof
Features we liked:
- The breathable mesh panels
- The side cutouts provide ventilation
- The grippy rubber sole
- The padded tongue and collar
- The dual-density midsole cushioning
[Shop the KEEN Flint Mid Work Boot here!]
Best work shoe for women with feet that sweat
Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot
- Great traction
- Good sweat prevention
- Durably made
- Superior comfort
- Waterproof boots can overheat in very hot weather
The features we liked:
- Designed for mountaineering
- Good mix of suede, leather, nylon, and rubber
- Rubber sole provides support, cushioning, and comfort on even the harshest terrain
- Very lightweight
- Advanced traction sole for extra grip
- The mesh tongue for added breathability
- The TECHLITE EVA midsole
[Shop the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus boot here!]
Best zipper work boot for feet that sweat
Under Armour Men’s Valsetz RTS
- Above-average grip
- Superb uppers
- Rubber sole
- Unsuitable for prolonged wearing over harsh or rough terrain
The features we liked:
- Super lightweight feel like a sports shoe
- The long shaft provides good stability
- Tough wearing
- High traction sole with lugs
- Side zips
- Under Armour ankle support
- Toe cap
- Abrasion resistance coating
- Anti-microbial socks liner
[Shop the Under Armour Valsetz!]
Best budget work boot for feet that sweat
RUGGEDIM Men’s YDS Safety Boots
- Very inexpensive at $25!
- Steel toe cap
- Mositure wicking inner lining
- Oil, chemical and slip-resistant rubber sole
- Comfy insole
- Shock absorbing outsoles
- It’s water resistant, but not fully waterproof
- Safety toes aren’t OSHA-certified
The features we liked:
- Steel toe cap that can withstand 15,000 Newtons of compression
- The outsole resists penetration by sharp objects
- Leather construction
- Great lacing setup
- Surprisingly waterproof even in harsh conditions
[Shop the RUGGEDIM YDS boots here!]
Best hunting work boots for feet that sweat
Danner Men’s Sharptail Hunting Shoes
- Extremely comfy
- Super cushioning
- Superior breathability
- Great foot and ankle support
- As they’re waterproof, feet may tend to overheat in summer weather
The features we liked:
- Triple density cushioning
- Good waterproofing capabilities
- Shock-absorbing midsoles
- Lightweight and stable
- Brilliant sole for superior grip in all conditions
[Shop the Danner Sharptail boot here!]
Some final thoughts
All of the techniques we have described are designed to keep feet from sweating any more than necessary. After all, you can spend your entire life padding around in your socks because you have sweaty feet.
Ultimately, feet are pretty important body parts, and they need to be taken care of if they are to last a lifetime. If you suffer from excessive sweating, though, you will know how much of a curse and an embarrassment that can be for all concerned. The smell from your socks is bad enough, but throw in athlete’s foot, and you are in for a miserable time.
Keep hydrated. Drinking water will replace the fluid you are losing. It will also assist with regulating your body temperature.
Before signing off on the subject of work boots and socks, here’s one final piece of wisdom: if you’re concerned about sweaty feet, absolutely make sure you see a medical professional in case it’s something that needs medical attention.
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