Why do Feet Sweat?

Ever wonder why your feet sweat? You could have a disorder called hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis– occurs when someone’s foot sweats out of nowhere and excessively; there are no triggers and the sweat glands become overly produced.

This can also be genetic.


(Photo Adidas.com)


-Sweating excessively in the feet looks to be an inherited problem. Scientists are unsure of why this occurs, but people who sweat excessively have a different set point than other people. This is because everyone is different and people cannot be compared (i.e. people have different heights, weights, etc.– these can be considered other confounding variables when testing to see how people sweat). Instead of just sweating when it is hot out, people with Hyperhidrosis sweat excessively almost all the time.

  1. Sweating in the feet. (People may have their feet slip in their shoes). When there is a constant wetness in the foot, the skin can be broken down and an infection can occur.
  2. The feet can release an odor as they typically do when they sweat.
  3. People can have emotional stress due to worrying about their foot odor. This becomes a problem for teens with hyperhidrosis because of sweat-related anxiety and isolation.


  1. In order to prevent your foot from smelling– good hygiene is essential. One should wash their feet in order to prevent an odor. One can also use corn starch to prevent feet from smelling.
  2.  Change socks during the day. Stash an extra pair of socks at school or at work, and change socks mid-way through the day.
  3. Wear shoes that are made of breathable materials… the same goes for socks.When all home remedies fail, that’s when it is time to visit a podiatrist. They can do a starch-iodine test to confirm the diagnosis. The test is completed as such- first, an iodine solution is applied to the bottom of the feet. After the solution has dried, cornstarch is sprinkled over the area. The treated area turns dark blue if excessive sweat is present.According to the US National Library of Medicine, they express how less than 40 percent of people with this condition seek expert help.

If we wanted to conduct an experiment of feet sweating, we would have to take the feet and use them as a variable then test them through out the day. I would take two different subjects with the same characteristics (height, weight, gender, etc.) I do not think this would work with opposite gender nor people with different weights/shoes sizes because of them being confounding variables (z variable).

Feet = x variable

Sweat= y variable

Height, weight, shoes size, gender, etc. = z variable

As learned in this course, I know that correlation does not equal causation and the result can be due to chance.

I would test my subjects with the iodine test as mentioned above to see if my subjects had the condition and I would see if the corn starch would prevent odor along with changing socks. I’d have these people controlled and monitor their sweat.

I always thought that feet sweat just because they are hot, who knew there was actually a disorder that could contribute to this? The next time your feet sweat take caution-you could have Hyperhidrosis because according to this study- 2.8% of the population surveyed has Hyperhidrosis and it effects more people than we think. With this study being entirely experimental sending out random samples to selected people, we learn just how Hyperhidrosis effects people and the population.


(Photo by Adelaide Hebert MD University of Texas c/o International Hyperhidrosis Society).

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