We all sweat, especially in work boots. Remember this type of footwear is made to protect your feet so there’s a lot of material that goes into making a pair of work boots which will make your feet sweat a little bit no matter what.
I’ve tried a few things over the years that helped reduce the sweat in my work boots for example:
- Use baby powder
- Start buying better quality socks instead of the dead cheap ones
- Using different types of creams
These are just some of the things I’ve tried. Other options are available to you and we’ll talk more about them below. Some of them might require paying a visit to your podiatrist.
Since we’re not doctors, we’ve asked our collaborator, podiatrist & foot surgeon, Doctor Bruce Pinker PMD, to join us and help with some information about this topic and some tips on what we could do to stop or reduce sweating in work boots.
Dr. Bruce recommends Zeasorb super absorbent foot powder which can help absorb moisture in the feet which in turn helps prevent the occurrence of Athlete’s foot fungus (tinea pedis), toenail fungus (onychomycosis), and plantar warts (verruca plantaris).
For more resistant cases of sweaty feet (hyperhidrosis), one can soak one’s feet in water with tea bags, as the tannic acid in the tea can help reduce perspiration and minimize the foul odor caused by excessive perspiration. For more severe cases of hyperhidrosis, botox injections can be utilized.
Dr. Bruce Pinker – Podiatrist & Foot Surgeon
What causes sweat?
Before we figure out how to cope with sweaty feet or reduce sweat, let’s try to understand what causes sweat in the first place.
Our bodies are covered with sweat glands, which regulate our temperature. When we do physical exercise or get hot in warm temperatures, the glands release sweat, which covers us, cooling us down. But sometimes people sweat excessively, particularly in certain areas.
There are many reasons for this. The first is that it could be hereditary. But if it is hereditary, why did the person passing it on also have the problem?
The simple answer is there are many conditions that can be passed down through genes. Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) is one of them. But it can also develop at any age.
Various types of hyperhidrosis
Primary hyperhidrosis is usually inherited from parents. It starts at a young age and worsens through time, often developing into other conditions like athlete’s foot.
Secondary hyperhidrosis usually occurs as a result of other conditions or behavior. For example, it could become a side effect of certain medications.
Plantar hyperhidrosis usually happens with hyperactive sweat glands, sometimes in stressful situations, but often for no reason at all, and sometimes with no notice. People with this condition often sweat on both their hands and feet.
People have the misconception that only overweight people sweat a lot. Granted, you are likely to sweat loads if overweight, but not only will you sweat because of the reasons above, it is believed that fit people sweat easily.
This is because as soon as they start a physical exercise, their bodies are in tune with it, knowing they are exercising, and start to cool the body down by sweating.
Please remember, if you’re experiencing prolonged excess sweating, it might not mean you have any of these conditions. If it’s bothering you, the best thing to do is contact your doctor, rather than taking drastic action or using homemade remedies.
If you suffer from hyperhidrosis one thing you can do is change your socks mid-day and apply foot powder in the morning and mid-day to help absorb excessive moisture.
It is recommended for those who wear work boots all day to remove their footwear at lunchtime and apply absorbent foot powder before returning to work after lunch. This will help reduce the temperature of the feet and minimize excessive perspiration.
Dr. Bruce Pinker – Podiatrist & Foot Surgeon
Ways to stop or reduce sweating in your work boots
When you’re working, persistent sweating can be very uncomfortable, can be smelly, and generally make life difficult. But there are many ways to reduce sweating.
1. Let’s start with what you wear on your feet
Work boots to wear and which ones to avoid
Try to avoid rubber boots. Anyone who wears PVC trousers or jackets will tell you they sweat loads in them. So if you do need to wear muck boots to wade through water or wet concrete, try to only do it for short periods.
In fact, it might be wise to avoid all boots that are 100% waterproof, because the waterproof membranes they use don’t allow the feet to breathe that well. Most have high-tech breathable membranes but even these give you a disadvantage if you sweat a lot.
Avoid insulated work boots, unless you really need them. Especially on warm days. The insulation is designed to keep your feet warm, so will therefore make your feet sweat more than usual.
Sometimes low quality boots will make your feet sweat more. The materials tend to lack the breathability that high-quality boots have.
Breathable work boots use fabric linings with lots of small holes in them, which trap air to cool your feet while releasing heat and moisture from the feet.
Wear good quality insoles
Moisture-absorbing boot inserts should help draw moisture from your feet. These are also great if you need arch support.
A lot of standard inserts that come with boots are very flat so don’t offer enough arch support, and in fact, can contribute towards sweating because of the material. There are even medicated deodorant insoles that you can get.
Choose to wear better quality socks
Moisture-absorbing boot socks can also help. Try to avoid nylon socks.
They don’t absorb moisture well, so will trap it inside the boots and around your feet. Wool and cotton socks give good ventilation. Wool socks are ideal for winter, and cotton for summer.
Adrian from our editorial team likes to wear wool socks with his work boots and he says his feet sweat less than wearing socks made out of other materials. So that might be something to look into.
Also recommended for those suffering from hyperhidrosis is to wear a sock that is composed of 65% cotton and 35% polyester, or to wear silk socks (which can be costly) or socks that contain rayon or nylon mixed with cotton. The synthetics will wick away the moisture in the foot and help to keep the foot dry. The old-fashioned all-cotton athletic sock is not recommended.
Dr. Bruce Pinker – Podiatrist & Foot Surgeon
2. Your feet hygiene
- Wash your feet at least once a day. Dry thoroughly
- Can use antifungal or antibacterial soap
- Foot powders
- Remove hard, dead skin
- Clean under toenails. Cut them regularly
The single most important thing to do if your feet sweat a lot is to look after them and keep them clean.
The skin is covered in pores, which when blocked with dirt or grime, can cause problems. Bacteria builds up, which can develop into fungi.
You should wash your feet at least once a day using mild soap. You can do this with your routine shower or whenever you have five minutes.
There are plenty of antifungal or antibacterial soaps out there. You could try various ones to see which works best.
Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly. This is very important.
Particularly between your toes, where moisture tends to cause bacteria to grow. You can even use specialist foot powders to help keep them dry.
Studies by some doctors have shown that certain things to soak your feet in can be helpful:
One is a 20-minute soak in warm water, with 3-4 tablespoons of baking soda added. There is the option of swapping the baking soda for two bags of black tea, due to the tannins present, which help shrink pores, therefore reducing the flow of sweat.
Another 10-minute soak in the black tea is recommended. Again, consult your doctor before trying these remedies.
Another place bacteria likes to grow is on hard, dead skin, because the skin can get soft and soggy when wet. You should try to remove this hard skin using a file or scraper.
Clean under your toenails regularly. And cut them often to help prevent dirt and bacteria from accumulating underneath.
Other things you can do to sweat less in work boots
- Keep boots dry when not using them
- Using an electrical dryer
- Tissue paper
- Cedar wood boot trees
- Take boots off in work break periods
- Take spare socks to work
Antiperspirants are a good idea to use just before you go to bed. They temporarily plug the sweat glands, blocking the flow of sweat.
You then wash it off in the morning to allow breathability. This procedure helps you sweat less at night, which helps with antiperspirant block build-up.
Although, if you have sensitive skin, be careful which one you choose. It might be worth checking with your doctor first.
You should always keep your boots dry when not using them, to help prevent moisture accumulating bacteria. There are various ways you can do this.
A decent electrical boot dryer is worth its weight in gold. You simply rest your boots upside down over the heating elements. They don’t use much electricity, and give a low heat, so as not to cause a fire. Check out this Original PEET boot dryer if you want to learn more.
If you don’t want to do that, you can just put tissue paper inside the boots to soak up the moisture.
Even better, you can use cedar wood boot trees. They soak up the moisture and get rid of unwanted fragrances, all the while keeping the shape of the boot intact.
Taking your boots off during your work breaks is a quick and easy way to allow your feet and boots to cool down and breathe.
It might be worth taking spare socks to work to change into if there is lots of moisture when you do take your boots off for breathing periods, particularly when you finish work.
There are medications provided by doctors. Some of them will give side effects so might not be for you. Often it’s a case of trial and error.
The first thing doctors will probably try is a topical cream to apply daily. They work by drying the skin.
The most common are aluminum chloride or aluminum chloride hexahydrate. The best practice is to apply it at night before bed, then cover it to allow absorption. The only problem is, side effects can include skin reactions and burning.
If you want to use these creams, you should not use them in line with antiperspirants and foot powder. All of them used together will be too much for the skin.
2. Oral medications
There are oral medications, but these won’t pinpoint local areas. Instead of drying just the feet or hands, they’ll dry the whole body. This might be suitable if experiencing excessive all-body sweating.
Although, some can cause dry mouths or eyes in certain people. And people have also been known to build up a tolerance to them, meaning after prolonged use, they lose their effectiveness.
Your doctor might suggest dietary changes, as new research has found that severe hyperhidrosis can be reduced with a vegetarian diet or dietary supplements.
If these medications don’t work, you might be eligible for other more hardcore treatments, such as botox injections or iontophoresis.
3. Botox injections
Botox injections (Botulinum Toxin) are not just used for the rich and famous in their pursuit of eternal youth. They’re used for lots of other things. In this instance, the procedure is reliable in reducing sweating, and will usually last 3-6 months.
Botox is less invasive than surgical treatment, but is expensive, and can be painful when injected into the soles of the feet. Mild side effects are possible. And you’ll need to repeat it after a few months.
Iontophoresis is a procedure that uses a device to pass a very mild electrical current through the targeted area, like hands and feet, whilst they rest in a shallow pan of water.
This is more of a long-term fix than botox, and generally gives less side effects but, although expensive, the devices last a long time. However, you should make sure the device is registered with and cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If all else fails, surgery is usually the last resort. It involves cutting the sympathetic nerve. This is the nerve that controls sweat reaction.
If hyperhidrosis is getting you down to the point of anxiety or depression, please speak to someone to get help. There is such a thing as Behavioral Medicine.
This uses techniques that improve negative emotional reactions to the conditions, relieving stress and anxiety. Quite often, the stress and anxiety can make you sweat more, so it’s a vicious circle. But you don’t need to suffer alone.
Your doctor will be able to discuss all of these treatments with you. I would never rush into anything without seeking medical advice.
Last notes on keeping your feet from sweating in work boots
To give yourself a fighting chance of coping with/reducing sweating feet (I say coping with because sometimes things won’t go away, so we have to cope with them the best we can) is good hygiene of your feet and the boots that you wear. Also keeping the feet and boots dry as much as possible.
You’re not a freak. You might just have a condition. But don’t go panicking, thinking you do have a condition.
The sweating could be because of a number of simple things, like your diet, your footwear, genetics, or purely due to hot weather.
In my personal experience, the majority of the problems people (including myself) have with feet sweating too much in work boots comes from having low-quality, cheap socks. I suggest you should at least start buying better socks and you should start seeing some improvement.
If you have any other tips drop us a comment below!
Team Members Working On This Page
Hey, Jimmy here. I’m one of the researchers and writers here at BestForMyFeet.com. I’ve been wearing work boots all my life working as a forklift driver, landscaper, groundworker, and now as a tower crane operator so I know a few things about footwear and footcare in general. I’m also working on my first novel. So writing IS my passion. When I’m not writing I love to spend time with my wife, two children, and furball.
Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, cleaner, head chef … these are just some of the jobs I did in the past. Working in all these different environments taught me that having good footwear to protect your feet from different dangers at work IS PARAMOUNT for any worker! On this website, I aim to share all my knowledge and personal experience in dealing with different footwear and foot care issues, and hopefully, you can get something out of it. Enjoy!
Our Panel Of Experts
I am a board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon based in New York. When not treating patients I enjoy exercising regularly by cycling 30-40 miles/week and lifting weights, writing music and playing the piano/synthesizer, and spending quality time with my family. My approach to medicine includes offering many different treatment options to my patients so they can choose the one that is best for them. I enjoy helping out the guys here at BestForMyFeet.com answering questions related to foot problems. If you have concerns with your feet, feel free to schedule a consultation with me at ProgressiveFootCareNY.com and I will be happy to address your concerns.