Why Athletic Socks Get Stinky and How to Fix It

athletic socks

There’s nothing like basking in the glory of a hard workout… only to have it ruined by smelly feet when you take off your shoes! Sweat and smells are a normal part of any active lifestyle, but stinky socks can leave you feeling self-conscious.

If smelly socks after working out are getting you down, the good news is that there are some simple things you can do to keep smells at bay. From the reason our feet get smelly in the first place to how to choose athletic socks, we’ve done the research to keep your socks feeling fresh and clean.

What Causes Foot Odor in Athletes?

Having stinky feet at the end of a long day is a very common problem, especially if you’re an athlete who’s extremely hard on their gear. That’s because foot odor is mostly caused by trapped moisture and oils, and your body sweats the most when exercising or training.

Your feet have the highest concentration of sweat glands on your body (over 250,000!), and their main purpose is to help regulate your body temperature and keep you cool. This is why your feet sweat more in hot climates, and why perspiration increases during exercise.

And while the sweat itself may not be particularly stinky, your feet are covered in bacteria that feed off this sweat and then produce an odor-causing acid. As your feet perspire and the sweat gets caught in your socks and shoes, the perfect moist, warm environment is created for bacteria to thrive.

How Smelly Is Too Smelly?

While it’s normal for feet to get stinky after working out, it’s worth noting that about 10-15% of people experience excessively sweaty feet, also known as bromodosis. This is because their feet host a specific type of bacteria called Kytococcus sedentarius that creates sulfuric compounds that can smell like rotten eggs.

Bromodosis is not necessarily an indicator of a more serious health issue, but managing it may require more attention to keep your feet feeling clean and stink-free.

How to Fix Smelly Athletic Socks

So, how do you get rid of stinky feet and socks? If you’ve noticed that your athletic socks are smelly at the end of a workout, then here are some routine tips to combat any pungent scents.

Practice Good Hygiene

It goes without saying, but regular showering and bathing will help to remove the buildup of sweat and bacteria. Shower as soon as possible after your workout to halt the growth of bacteria, and make sure to scrub your feet with soap.

If your foot odor is particularly noticeable, you could also try a weekly Epsom salt soak to help dry out excess moisture and kill off bacteria.

Keep Your Feet Dry

Because bacteria thrive in moist environments, it’s important to keep your feet as dry as possible. Make sure to properly dry between your toes after bathing, and consider a foot powder or antiperspirant if you’re concerned about excess sweating. Also, try rotating your athletic shoes to give them a chance to completely dry out between workouts!

Wash Your Socks Properly

You should be laundering your exercise clothes after every workout so that bacteria can’t be harbored between the fabric fibers. Make sure to use the right amount of detergent in your washing machine, and consider adding a splash of white vinegar to your load.

For a deep clean, create a sock soak with 1 gallon of hot water and 2 cups of white vinegar, before washing as usual. Bacteria won’t stand a chance!

Choose the Right Socks

When it comes to performance and comfort, not all athletic socks are created equal. Cotton socks, for example, are not very good at drawing moisture away from the skin, and can get very stinky as the sweat and bacteria lingers during your workout.

Instead, opt for athletic socks made with high-quality fiber combinations that are moisture-wicking and antimicrobial. Consider athletic socks with a synthetic blend such as polyester, nylon, and spandex for their quick-drying ability, or a natural fiber content like Merino wool for its natural antibacterial properties.

Fitsok for Fresh Feet

If smelly feet are getting you down, Fitsok has you covered! Athletic socks should support your performance, comfort, and health, and Fitsok’s range of specially engineered workout socks are crafted with performance fabrics that provide support and balance temperature.

With a range of styles, heights, and colors, there’s a Fitsok for every activity, climate, and style. Fitsok athletic socks are created with technical fabrics to keep your feet cool and dry, ensuring that smelly feet are the last thing on your mind. Try Fitsok for yourself, and make stinky socks a thing of the past!