Guide to Foot Powders

Foot powders are chemically formulated products used to reduce foot odor usually caused by perspiration, i.e., bacterial breakdown. These products are widely used around the world by people who suffer from Bromodosis or stinky feet, especially in summers.

What Causes Smelly Feet?

The most common reason for smelly feet is sweat. Sweaty feet can occur at any temperature at any time of the year, and everyone is prone to having sweat on their feet. However, just the way people have different skin types, some people are more susceptible than others. For example, pregnant women, teenagers, and people with conditions are most likely to have sweaty and smelly feet. 

Moreover, hygiene and lifestyle practices also have a lot to do with smelly feet. The process of bacterial breakdown becomes the reason for the bad odor. Our feet are a natural habitat for hundreds of bacteria that go through a breakdown when they come in contact with sweat. The decomposition is bacteria then results in a cheesy odor. 

How Does Foot Powder Work?


Foot powders either work by covering up the odor with their fragrance or by absorbing the perspiration and stopping the bacterial breakdown that causes the malodor. Foot powders are made from ingredients that are safe for feet and suitable to kill the bad odor. The major ingredients of foot powder include Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Talc, Bisabolol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Carbomer, Zea Mays Starch, Fragrance, and Menthol.

However, the ingredients may be the same for most foot powders, and some brands tend to use their own formulas. For example, menthol is used in Gold Bond foot powder, while Tinactin uses Tolnaftate as its active ingredient. Moreover, some foot powders are medicated for soothing irritated skin and reduce further itching as well.

Is Foot Powder Even Good for Feet?


You can use foot powder to keep your feet clean and odor-free. Moreover, it also reduces the production of bacteria, which further helps keep your feet healthy. However, you cannot rely on foot powder alone to make your feet look clean. It is important to wash and moisturize them regularly as well. Foot powders are only responsible for keeping your feet fresh and dry. 

How Long Does it Take for Foot Powder to Work?

Most people get results instantly after using foot powder, while some feel relief after one or two uses. Foot powder is made from ingredients that wouldn’t harm your feet even if you use them regularly. For the odor, it can work faster than you think. However, if you use foot powder for some other ailment, you will have to wait for at least a week.

The Best Way to Apply Foot Powder


While applying foot powder, most people end up creating a mess. This mess later makes them not use the powder at all. However, with a little care and following some important steps, you can apply foot powder perfectly. Following are some tips to avoid the mess created by foot powder. 

1. Use Less Powder 

Some people tend to use a lot of powder at once, thinking that it would work faster. No, it wouldn’t work faster; instead, you will be left with a mess to clean afterward. Take a small amount of foot powder, apply it, and if you feel the need for more powder, only then squeeze out more. You can also pour the powder into the cap and use it on your feet. Less powder means less mess. 

2. Put Something Under Your Feet 

Before you decide to apply foot powder, try doing it over a piece of newspaper or paper towel. Placing something under your feet will only make it easier for you to clean the product that falls down on the floor. You can simply pick up the newspaper or paper towel and throw it in the trash without creating a mess. 

3. Use Tissue Paper or Cotton Balls for Applying 

Instead of applying the foot powder with your bare hands, try using cotton balls. If you don’t have cotton balls, you can also use tissue paper. Using these things to apply foot powder doesn’t only avoid the mess but also prevents the wastage of the product. Simply stick the cotton ball in the powder, collect the product and dab it on your feet. 

When Should Foot Powder Be Used?

Generally, foot powder should be used whenever you have to be active, i.e., wear closed shoes or socks for a long time. If you have a job that requires a lot of standing and wearing socks, you should apply foot powder every time before wearing socks or shoes. 

Moreover, if you are an athlete, especially a runner, you should apply foot powder before every run and after finishing and taking a shower as well. 

You should also use foot powder after your feet get wet, as the moisture can cause problems such as malodor, itchiness, and irritation. Lastly, it is always a great idea to use foot powder when wearing open-toed shoes, for example, sandals. 

Types of Foot Powder


Different foot powders have different ingredients; however, they are generally divided into four main types: organic foot powder, drying foot powder, charcoal foot powder, and antifungal foot powder. 

1. Charcoal Foot Powder 

As the name of this foot powder suggests, the active ingredient in it is activated charcoal. Activated charcoal helps in absorbing odors. It usually comes along with talc, baking soda, and essential oils such as tea tree oil.

2. Organic Foot Powder 

Organic foot powders do not include any kind of artificial or synthetic ingredients. Instead, all the ingredients in organic foot powders are natural. People who suffer from allergies or the ones who just want to keep everything eco-friendly use organic foot powders.

3. Antifungal Foot Powder

If you are suffering from some kind of fungal infection, these foot powders will come in handy. The active ingredients in these foot powders usually include potent fungicide and Miconazole Nitrate.

4. Drying Foot Powder

Drying foot powder is usually used to avoid trench foot. They include boric acid and talc as their active ingredients that help in keeping the feet dry. If you suffer from sweaty feet, swim, or stay in water for long times, you should use drying foot powder to keep your feet healthy and safe. 


Active/Main Ingredients


Charcoal Foot Powder Activated charcoal; may also include essential oils, such as tea tree oil Absorbing/Preventing Odors
Organic Foot Powder Plants. Artificial elements are not used Treat foot allergies or for people who want to use an eco-friendly product
Drying Foot Powder Talc, boric acid Prevent trench foot and dry out the inside of shoes
Antifungal Foot Powder Miconazole Nitrate, Tolnaftate Fight various kinds of fungal infection

Our Top Picks

Finding the right foot powder can be a struggle, which is why we have listed the best foot powders for you to choose from:

Where to Buy
Gold Bond Medicated Talc-Free Foot Powder
Arm & Hammer Foot Powder
Dr. Scholl's Odor-x Sweat Absorbing Foot Powder
Lotrimin Sweat & Odor Control Medicated Foot Powder 
Odor-Eaters Foot Powder
SILKA Odor Fighting Foot Powder
O Naturals Tea Tree Oil Foot Powder
Duke Cannon Supply Co. Foot & Boot Powder
Silly Feet Magic Shoe Powder

1. Gold Bond Medicated Talc-Free Foot Powder

For people who suffer from smelly and itchy feet, Gold Bond foot powder is the best one to go for. The specialized ingredients in it absorb moisture, leaving dry, odorless, and fresh feet behind. The presence of menthol stops the itching and irritation and gives your feet a fresh feeling.

2. Arm & Hammer Foot Powder

Arm & Hammer foot powder is another great option for keeping your feet fresh and healthy. You can apply this powder on your feet as well as in your shoes to enjoy fresh, dry, and cool feet all day long. The corn starch in this foot powder helps absorb the extra moisture from the feet while leaving the skin soft and healthy. 

The talc-free formula allows you to use it more than once a day, no matter if it's morning or night. Moreover, the bottle is designed for easy application, so you can apply foot powder without creating a mess.

3. Dr. Scholl's Odor-x Sweat Absorbing Foot Powder

Dr. Scholl's odor-x foot powder contains six different moisture absorbing and wetness fighting ingredients. The active ingredients include Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Zinc Oxide, Camphor, and Benzethonium Chloride. For people who have sweaty feet or spend a lot of time in the water, Dr. Scholl's odor-x foot powder can work like magic. 

The SweatMax technology allows the foot powder to absorb maximum sweat and prevent any malodor, leaving the feet dry, fresh, and odor-free. Lastly, you can use this powder directly on your feet or sprinkle it in your shoes or socks.

4. Lotrimin Sweat & Odor Control Medicated Foot Powder 

Another great foot powder with six different sweat absorbing and odor removing ingredients that will keep your feet dry, fresh, and odor-free for a whole day. Lotrimin is a medicated foot powder that keeps the feet dry and prevents malodor, and provides relief from itchiness and irritation. 

Moreover, the talc-free formula allows you to use it regularly without worrying about any side effects.

5. Odor-Eaters Foot Powder

Odor-Eaters is one of the most popular foot powder brands out there. The presence of three different advanced wetness fighters helps destroy the factors that cause foot odor or sweaty feet. The ingredients include corn-starch, which is super-absorbent and keeps the feet dry all day long. The bottle is designed for easy use, and you can easily apply the foot powder without creating a mess.

6. SILKA Odor Fighting Foot Powder

SILKA odor-fighting powder is great for treating smelly and sweaty feet. The lightweight powder doesn't feel too much on the feet and absorbs maximum sweat and moisture for a long-lasting fresh feeling. The odor-fighting ingredients such as talc and Zea Mays (Corn) Starch work great for eliminating the odor-causing factors. 

Other than preventing odor and sweaty feet, SILKA foot powder also provides a cooling sensation to the feet. You can use it as many times as you like regularly. Moreover, you can also sprinkle the powder directly into your shoes instead of applying it to your feet.

7. O Naturals Tea Tree Oil Foot Powder

The tea tree oil and Kaolin clay present in O Naturals foot powder allow it to absorb maximum moisture and act as an antiseptic against bacteria and other factors that may harm your feet. Kaolin clay helps in absorbing maximum moisture and also leaves the skin soft and smooth. The talc-free technology is safe to use again and again.

8. Duke Cannon Supply Co. Foot & Boot Powder

Duke Cannon foot powder is mostly used as a foot deodorant; however, it is also a great product for smelly and sweaty feet. The powder is specifically designed for working people who have to wear boots and closed shoes for hours. The product provides a long-lasting effect, and you can stay worry-free for over 12 hours.

It kills the odor, helps keep the feet dry, and reduces friction against shoes. The activated charcoal helps deodorize the feet, while the eucalyptus oil soothes the skin and heals any irritation or itchiness.

9. Silly Feet Magic Shoe Powder

Silly Feet's foot and shoe powder is great for eliminating odor, even from the stinkiest shoes ever. Moreover, the product is made from organic ingredients, which means it's eco-friendly. The safe formula makes it a go-to product for children's as well as adults' use. The product leaves the feet and shoe with a bubble gum-like smell without any side effects. 

Moreover, you can use it in almost all kinds of shoes or socks. The portable bottle is easy to carry and use, so you can keep it in your car or bag for instant use.


Product Comparison

  Gold Bond Medicated Talc-Free Foot PowderArm & Hammer Foot PowderDr. Scholl's Odor-x Sweat Absorbing Foot PowderLotrimin Sweat & Odor Control Medicated Foot Powder Odor-Eaters Foot Powder
Active IngredientsMenthol, Corn StarchCorn StarchZea Mays (Corn) Starch, Zinc Oxide, Camphor, and Benzethonium ChlorideMiconazole NitrateZea Mays (Corn) Starch 
UsesSweat-absorbent and relief from itchiness.Odor control, moisture absorbent Odor control, fresh feeling, sweat control Sweat control and Odor control Odor control and sweat control 
  SILKA Odor Fighting Foot PowderO Naturals Tea Tree Oil Foot PowderDuke Cannon Supply Co. Foot & Boot PowderSilly Feet Magic Shoe Powder
Active IngredientsTalc and Zea Mays (Corn) StarchTea tree oil and Kaolin Clay Activated Charcoal and Eucalyptus Oil Tricalcium phosphate and  Benzethonium Chloride
UsesOdor control and fragrant feetOdor control, treating fungal infections, sweat control, cool feeling. Odor control and treating fungal infections.Odor control and bubble gum scented shoe


No one likes stinky and unhealthy feet, and we all look for ways to keep our feet healthy. Some people believe that there is no cure to the foot’s odor; however, if they try using foot powder properly, they will know how effective it is. Whether you only want to keep your feet dry, remove the malodor, or treat any fungal infection, foot powder is what you need the most. 

However, before using any foot powder, make sure to consult a dermatologist so they can help you choose the right one according to your skin.