Sweaty Feet

Feeling like your feet are constantly sweaty and having to frequently change socks throughout the day can feel frustrating for anyone, leaving them wondering if that’s normal, or if their feet sweat more than others. In many cases, the answer is that you may have a condition called hyperhidrosis, also known as sweaty feet.

What Causes Sweaty Feet?

The soles of our feet contain a lot of sweat glands - approximately 250,000 between both feet. Sweating through these glands in our feet is typically a completely normal and effective way of our body working to regulate its temperature. Unfortunately, for a small percentage of Australians, the release of sweat through the glands in our feet doesn't just happen during exercise or when we're feeling excessively hot, but occurs constantly throughout the day.

The cause behind having constantly sweaty feet hasn't been pinpointed in research, but is thought to be an inherited (genetic) problem where the sweat glands are overactive. This means that, unfortunately, some people will just produce more sweat than others. Hormonal changes or imbalances, stress, anxiety and emotional disturbances can also affect sweat production, as well as having the foot be under strain or fatigued throughout the day. Generally speaking, the amount you sweat through your feet can also be increased by exercise and spending long days in hot or enclosed shoes.

Do Sweaty Feet Have Any Other Symptoms?

Alongside the excess sweating that can lead to you feeling damp in your shoes and socks throughout the day, your feet may feel like they’re slipping inside your shoes, your skin may have a white ‘wet’ appearance, you may develop foot odour radiating from your feet or footwear as a result, and you may be more vulnerable to infections such as Athlete’s foot and fungal nail infections. And of course, there are the emotional side effects too. Having constantly sweaty (and potentially smelly) feet can cause much embarrassment and anxiety, leaving people to feel socially isolated, especially if experiencing it at a young age.

What Are The Different Treatment Options For Sweaty Feet?

Visiting a podiatrist when you have excess foot sweating can help you rule out other conditions that can occur simultaneously like Athlete’s foot, or have them treated if present. Your podiatrist can then run you through a series of foot health and care tips to help you manage the excess sweating, such as:

  • Drying your feet thoroughly when removing shoes and socks. Make sure you move your towel between your toes to stop the excess build-up of moisture here, which can lead to the skin macerating (breaking down) between the toes as these spots are often missed. If you cannot reach your feet, place a soft towel on the ground and scrunch it beneath your toes
  • Wear socks made of materials that wick moisture away from the feet, avoid materials like cotton that trap moisture in their fibres. Good options include merino wool (which can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water before it starts to feel wet), polyester, nylon, acrylic and coolmax materials.
  • Cleaning your feet well daily, using an antiseptic soap (and drying well afterwards)
  • When wearing enclosed shoes, try not to wear the same pair two days in a row. Instead, place the pair from that day in a dry and airy environment to allow them to dry properly. This way, you're not wearing the same moist shoes two days in a row. Doing this will also help to prolong the lifespan of both pairs of shoes, as wearing damp shoes are more prone to structural damage and wearing out faster
  • Opting for open shoes to promote airflow as much as possible and if safe. For example, if you have diabetes, it is important to keep your feet protected, so enclosed shoes may be best. In cases like this, it is always best to discuss your options with your podiatrist and make a plan to help you get the best results which keeping your feet safe
  • Keep an extra pair (or two) of moisture-wicking socks on you to change into throughout the day
  • Try a moisture-absorbing powder (these may also be anti-fungal) from your chemist to see if that may help reduce excess sweat

If the problem is severely interfering with your quality of life or physical or emotional health, we can also refer you for a consultation to discuss specialised treatments such as prescription medications, botox injections in the feet or electrical stimulation that may help.


Why do my feet sweat even when cold?

If your feet are sweating even when you’re cold, you may have hyperhidrosis, be experiencing stress and anxiety which may be triggering adrenaline (which can increase sweating), you may be wearing shoes or socks made of non-breathable materials that are causing them to sweat, or you may have just gone from one extreme temperature to another (such as coming indoors from cold temperatures outdoors) which can cause sweating as your body tries to regulate its temperature.

Is there a cure for hyperhidrosis in the feet?

No, hyperhidrosis does not have a distinct “cure”, but there are various treatment options available like those we’ve mentioned to help reduce your sweating and help you live more comfortably.

Does diabetes cause sweaty feet?

Yes, diabetes does have the potential to increase the sweating that you experience in your feet. This is because constantly high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves in the feet that control the sweat glands, causing them to become overactive.


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