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April 06, 2022 3 min read

As a parent, you spend a lot of time dealing with things that are... well... gross.  At Cabooties, we're on a mission to make your life a little easier and today we're tackling one of my toddlers favorite (or at least most giggle inducing) topics: stinky feet.

So why do your child's feet smell bad? The short answer: sweat. Of course, you sweat all over your body, but the rest of you (hopefully) doesn't smell as bad as your feet. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Each foot contains an astonishing number of sweat glands.
  2. Shoes that don't breathe.

Unlike faces and arms, most feet are covered in shoes all day. When that happens, feet are not ventilated and the contained sweat and warmth become a breeding ground for bacteria—very smelly bacteria. This bacteria lives on your child's feet, in her socks and all over her favorite shoes.

Have you ever noticed that some people's feet have almost no odor while others make you stop still in your tracks? The reason is simply that some people sweat more and provide conditions that encourage for bacteria to breed (warm and humid). Whatever the case, foot odor is a common nuisance in most households.

What to do when your toddler's feet smell bad

Natural Remedies for Stinky Feet

So what can you do about smelly feet and smelly shoes? As shoemakers, this is a question I hear a lot (usually from parents who haven't tried Cabooties yet), and I have a few natural solutions. Basically, you need to either kill the bacteria in your child's shoes or prevent it from developing in the first place. You can combine these tips for maximum aroma control:
  • Keep Feet Clean: Washing daily with soap will do a lot to rid your child's feet of bacteria and their odor. 
  • Stay Dry: Make sure your toddler's feet are dry before putting on socks or shoes, especially if they're fresh out of the bath. Water stuck between toes is a common culprit.
  • Choose Breathable Shoes: Some materials allow better ventilation in shoes, which inhibits bacterial growth and therefore leads to less odor. And lucky for you, you're already in the perfect place!  Cabooties toddler shoes are lined with breathable cotton to allow maximum air circulation, and our adult slippers feature a wicking insole to pull moisture away from your feet.
  • Wash your shoes: This isn't an option with every brand, but Cabooties toddler shoes can go right in the wash with the rest of your laundry! So don't forget to make a pit stop at the shoe rack on the way to the washing machine.
  • Wicking Socks: Not everyone is a fan of wearing socks with their shoes, but socks will push away sweat so it can evaporate—as long as your shoes are well-ventilated. Bonus: if you pair thick socks with your soft sole shoes, you can order a size up and use them twice as long.  Our current favorites for babies and toddlers are cable knit socks from Little Stocking Co.
  • Baking Soda: Sprinkling a couple teaspoons of baking soda into your toddler's shoes overnight will help reduce the smell. Obviously, you shouldn't leave your toddler unattended with shoes full of baking soda ;) 
  • Vinegar Spray: Mix equal parts water and vinegar, spray it into your child's shoes to kill bacteria. Let them dry for at least 30 minutes before dressing your baby.

There you have it, everything you never wanted to know about your toddler's foot odor.

Washable, Breathable shoes for kids' stinky feet

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