Yikes, it's Friday the 13th, so we're talking all things freaky today! 

We love our kids, we dote on their tiny little feet, but let’s be honest…sometimes, those feet just look or smell terrible! That's why, today, we're exploring why your kids feet may smell bad. And offering tips to make them smell better. Plus a cute foot craft to try once all that stink is a thing of the past!! 

Why Do My Kids Feet Stink?

First, let’s talk about smells. It’s important to know that not all smells should make you worry. It’s pretty normal for kids’ feet to smell—after all, they Letting your kids' feet breathe after a long day can help prevent foot odortend to run around a lot, either for sports or at recess—and their feet are most often wrapped up in socks and shoes. When the sweat gets trapped inside the socks and shoes, and then those feet don’t get washed until your kid gets home from school, it’s likely that his or her feet will smell (at least a little) by the end of the day.  

While these naturally-occurring smells are nothing to worry about, you can and should still address the problem. Washing your child’s feet every day will help control odor. (Just be sure to dry their feet completely--between the toes, too--before getting them back into socks or shoes.) And always take off sweaty socks and shoes as soon as possible after a play session.

Keeping kids' feet ventilated helps, too. Choose socks that breathe well, like cotton blends. Better yet? Try sweat-wicking athletic socks that keep your feet from getting damp and stinky in the first place! 

If you're a tech lover, you might love this weapon against stinky feet. There's a new brand of recovery socks on the market, from Vive Wear. They are made from nano-silver and copper triangles. So when kids feet sweat, the fluid connects these metal parts. And generate an electric current. Now, don't worry: you won't be zapping your kids feet. You'll just be giving them a little boost of electrical current. Which could help them fight foot pain after a long day running around the playground. And which could also help stop those socks (and feet!) from getting so stinky. 

If you prefer to keep tech off your kids, you can try a UV light sterilizer. Simply place the shoes underneath this lamp to get rid of all those smelly bacteria. Or, even easier? Stick their sneakers in the freezer for about 12 hours. (Bagged, of course, to keep them seperate from your food.) The next morning, those shoes should smell a lot better. 

Now, you should also think about rotating your child’s shoes, so sweat can dry up and air out. It’s not a bad idea to invest in an antibacterial spray for kids’ shoes as well, to keep sweat from becoming a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria…which brings us to the next reason your kids’ feet may smell:

Athlete’s Foot and Other Fungi

Don’t be fooled by the name—there’s nothing fun about foot fungus. A common foot fungus like athlete’s foot can leave your child’s foot itchy, sore and—you guessed it-smelly!

Now, unlike plain-old stinky feet, you need to address your child’s athlete’s foot. There are, of course, many over-the-counter treatments available for athlete’s foot, but when it comes to kids’ feet, I really don’t recommend going the self-treatment route.

First of all, athlete’s foot needs to be treated beyond the time when symptoms have disappeared, and your podiatrist can help you manage the treatment plan to make sure your child is given the exact amount of medication needed—no more than necessary, but enough to make sure the problem goes away and doesn’t return.

Also, over-the-counter fungal treatments work for just that—purely fungal conditions. Now, these products may work for a simple case of athlete’s foot on the bottom of your child’s foot, but all too often, a case of athlete’s foot doesn’t attack kids’ feet alone. When symptoms appear between the toes, for example, it’s more than likely that your child’s being affected by a fungal and bacterial infection, and he or she may need more than just cream to clear up the problem. If left untreated, or if treated insufficiently, one small area of infection can spread to the rest of the foot, both feet or even to other members of your household, so getting the care plan right the first time is extremely important.

Why Kids’ Feet Look Weird

Now we’ve covered some reasons why your child’s foot might smell bad. That means it's time to talk appearances. Because, while we all think our children are absolutely perfect, some physical abnormalities in the feet are important to treat. But some really aren’t.

Flat feet, for example, are normal in children under the age of three. Over that age, they can still be left alone, or treated with proper shoes and a good orthotic, unless they are causing your child to experience foot pain.

If, however, your child’s foot is red or swollen in any way, there’s a good chance he or she has been injured. Don’t just reach for the ice packs—even if your child is able to walk on an injury, doing so may be causing her worse or even permanent damage. Basically, any change in color or size on your child’s foot is worth a trip to the foot doctor to rule out a sprain or fracture (yes, even if your child’s foot or toe is broken, he or she may still be able to walk. Walking is not an indication that your child isn’t seriously injured!)

Monster Footprint Craft for Kids monster kids foot print craft easy arts and crafts

Now that we’ve explained why kids feet can look and smell monstrous, let’s have a little fun and try this Footprint Monster craft from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails. I promise I won’t tell the kids your real inspiration!


  • paint
  • sharpies
  • construction paper
  • buttons
  • googly eyes


1. Paint kids feet and make as many prints as you like. Let the prints dry overnight.

2. Outline a few of the footprints for variation. Add lots of googly eyes and buttons. Draw in horns, feathers or any details you’d like. Let the kids get creative customizing their monster family.


Love the craft but still worried about kids' foot infections? That's what I'm here for! Just schedule an appointment with your Houston kids podiatrist. I'll get those little feet looking, feeling and smelling their best--and quickly, too!  

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Connect with me
A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.
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