Five kids sitting with their feet hanging

5 Ways to Avoid Stinky Kids’ Feet 

Smelly feet can happen to anyone, and this includes little children and babies as well. However, this situation should not worry you because it always happens. For that reason, we crafted this guide to show you why, when, and ways to avoid stinky kids’ feet

Why Do My Kid’s Feet Smell?

Once your kid is firm on their feet, their physical activity will become much tenser. Due to high activity, constant sweating can appear. Also, due to the fact that feet are usually encased in shoes the majority of the time, they tend to sweat more and thus cause smelly feet. 

The key to this is to try to buy your kids shoes that resemble the barefoot shoes, provide them footwear with high ventilation and suitable shoe materials, or simply let them go barefoot whenever they get a chance. 

Often, the bad smell can come from bacteria or fungus in the footwear or the kid’s skin. To avoid this, ensure to wash your kid’s feet with hot water every day and always wear clean socks.


Reasons why smelly feet happen 

If your kid has shoes with good ventilation and breathability, there is the possibility that the bacteria have appeared. A buildup of sweat and bacteria on the feet, as well as fungal infections like athlete’s foot, are the main causes of smelly feet.

It is simple if you wonder how kids’ feet sweat that much. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Summertime with high temperatures and hot weather
  • All-day activities including running, playing, and standing
  • Overweight kids
  • Some prescription medications
  • Hyperhidrosis – A condition that causes excessive sweating 

How to Prevent Stinky Kids’ Feet 

As we mentioned above, try to wash your kid’s feet every day with some mild water and soap. Also, make sure your kid’s feet are as dry as possible. Let’s see what things you can do to prevent that odor from kids’ little toes:


1. Wash kid’s feet daily 

Washing your kid’s feet every day is very important. But washing them thoroughly and cleaning them is more than taking a quick shower and rinsing them with water only. The good thing to use is an antibacterial soap and lukewarm water. Make sure to soap up nicely the whole feet and in between toes and rinse it nicely. However, you can try another thing as well.

You can try to soak kids’ feet in a mixture of water and vinegar or water and salt. For a vinegar/water combination, fill a large bowl with warm water and add vinegar in two one ratio. In this situation, you can use both apple or white vinegar when you make the consistency soak your kid’s feet for around 15 minutes only once a week. Word of caution: do not use vinegar of any kind if your kid has open wounds, sores, scratches, or cuts because it irritates your skin.

For a water-salt combination, add half a cup of salt to warm water. Then, soak the kid’s feet for about 15 minutes. You can prevent bacteria from growing on kids’ skin by simply using salt, which draws moisture out of it.

2. Keep toenails short and clean

This might sound obvious, but we have to mention it. Sometimes parents forget to cut kids’ nails, and that’s okay; it’s nothing scary! But it is good to have a routine, for example, to cut kids’ nails every Sunday after bathing. Or even more often if necessary. 

A lot of bacteria can easily spread under kids’ nails, and if not cleaned and cut often, they can cause smelly feet. Also, if they become too long, they can even make blisters and make uncomfortable wear!


3. Use foot powder 

If you notice that your kid’s feet sweat a lot, even though they are often washed and have proper clothing and foot type, foot powder is your savior. However, if you are for some reason against that, you can use corn scratch instead. Use this home remedy and sprinkle a little cornstarch into kids’ footwear. This will keep their feet dry and stinky-free even if they wear sports shoes!

However, if the powder does not help, it is advisable to contact your kid’s podiatrist.

4. Keep kid’s feet dry

Whether your kid just had a bath, soaking, or swimming session, make sure their feet are well dried. The foot odor comes from shoes and socks caused by moisture, so it’s important to keep them dry.

If your kids’ feet sweat a lot, it is always a good idea to bring that extra pair of socks with you. Especially when they are on the playground, in the summertime, and active in general throughout the whole day.

When it comes to socks, opt for the ones that are made of natural materials, such as cotton and wool. This is because you can evaporate moisture from your kid’s feet using these natural materials. On the contrary, materials like plastic and nylon create and retain moisture, thus smelly feet.

wear breathable or natural fabrics on your feet, like cotton or leather

5. Disinfect the kid’s footwear

Do not through the kid’s footwear if you think they smell bad. There is a way to save them! The nasty odor coming from your kid’s kicks may be eliminated with a multipurpose disinfectant spray similar to the one you use in your kitchen. 

You can do this by taking the kid’s insoles out and spraying them. Let them dry for the next 24 hours before using them. There is a big chance that the spray killed all the bacteria, and the kids can safely wear their shoes again. Also, you can wash the insoles from time to time. Pay attention to whether kicks and insoles are suitable for washing. If not, you may end up with ruined footwear, so double-check it. 


How to Avoid Stinky Kids’ Feet?

Smelly feet can happen to anyone, at any period of life. However, there are a few things parents can do for their kids to prevent them:

  • Avoid putting the same pair of socks on your kids two days in a row. Even if they do not smell!
  • Do not buy tight shoes or wear them. Once they feel uncomfortable to wear, it is time for a new pair!
  • Allowing a kid to be barefooted is great; however, not always! Make sure they wear proper bathing sandals in public places that are wet, including swimming pools. 

Conclusion About Stinky Kids’ Feet 

Smelly feet are very popular among little kids. Even though this might surprise you, it’s totally true. However, this doesn’t mean that your kid has some major problem. It can simply mean that they sweat a lot and they need proper hygiene. 

Make sure your kid always wears clean pair of socks, has neat nails, and wears comfy footwear. If they are still prone to sweating, you can use some powder, shoe-cleaning techniques, and constant sock-changing. If even, in that case, kids’ feet still smell funny, it is a good idea to visit a podiatrist.



  • Petra Moskatelo

    Petra is the main editor and writer here at Footmeter. She is passionate about helping people find the right solution. She holds a university Master's degree in pedagogy, and she knows a lot about children and learning.