Visible shoe stains, unpleasant odors, and a tossed pair of beloved lime green block heels are all byproducts of my first summer spent in NYC, thanks to sweaty feet. Sometimes excessive sweating is caused by conditions like hyperhidrosis, says board certified podiatrist Dr. Priya Parthasarathy, who adds that a podiatrist can mitigate its effects with everything from prescription antiperspirants to Botox injections (yes, really).
But if you’re in a less serious situation like mine, a foot antiperspirant could be all you need to avoid a Birkenstocks-only lifestyle. Antiperspirants contain aluminum compounds to “block the sweat ‘portal’ and hence reduce the flow of moisture,” says Alicia Zalka, MD, board certified dermatologist and founder of Surface Deep.
These are different from deodorants, which mask the smell but don’t actually prevent sweating, Dr. Zalka adds. Although, deodorants can also be beneficial as many contain natural ingredients more suitable for sensitive skin.
With help from two dermatologists and a podiatrist, we conducted hours of research on the best foot antiperspirants and foot deodorizers, evaluating each pick on its active ingredients to stop bacteria growth, reduce odor, and keep feet fresh. We also considered any extra factors, like lasting power and scent to land on these top-rated picks.
Dr. Scholl's Odor-Fighting X Foot Powder
Absorbs sweat without aluminum
Contains added fragrance
Whether it’s protecting our arches while we’re strutting in heels or keeping toes toasty with fuzzy socks, Dr. Scholl’s touts products that protect our feet — so where else would we turn for a permanent solution to this uncomfortable problem?
In addition to drying on contact, Dr. Zalka likes this powder because it doesn’t contain aluminum and instead relies on zinc, cornstarch, and sodium bicarbonate — known commonly as baking soda. Along with chloroxylenol, a chemical used in many beauty products that slows bacterial growth, this quartet of ingredients has moisture-absorbing and odor-eliminating properties that make them a powerhouse against sweaty feet.
The powder promises long-lasting effects as the formula is easy to sprinkle in your socks and shoes to ensure you’re stopping bacteria from coming back. It also has a very light fragrance that helps cover bad smells without replacing them with another overpowering one, but maybe skip this pick if you prefer something unscented.
Price at time of publish: $7
Type: Powder | Cruelty Free: N/A | Size: 6.25 oz | Key Ingredients: Corn starch, zinc oxide, sodium bicarbonate
Up & Up Antifungal Powder Spray
Uses the same ingredients as pricier brands
Effective for price
Spray gets stuck in the nozzle
Let’s face it: Foot antiperspirant might be one of the least sexy beauty products you can spend money on — luckily this Target brand spray rivals pricier options. It uses the same two ingredients found in similar products: Tolnaftate, an antifungal medicine, and baking soda to combat the smell.
If your skin can tolerate baking soda (it might be too acidic for sensitive skin), baking soda is one of the strongest natural chemicals for absorbing moisture. This kitchen cabinet ingredient has a high pH and antibacterial properties that freshen feet and make it a popular exfoliator for your scalp and skin, and it can even help whiten your teeth.
We just wish Target would redesign the bottle so the product doesn’t get stuck so often in the nozzle.
Price at time of publish: $4
Type: Spray | Cruelty Free: N/A | Size: 4 oz | Key Ingredients: Baking soda, tolnaftate
Carpe Antiperspirant Foot Lotion
Leaves a residue on hands
With aid from eucalyptus oil, this two-in-one foot antiperspirant is highly effective at controlling sweat and provides moisturizing benefits for your feet. The natural skincare ingredient has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties to curb bacteria growth, but it also boasts antioxidant properties to help soothe dry, cracked heels.
We also love that dermatologists tested the formula, who deem it non-irritating and effective for helping resolve the effects of more serious conditions like hyperhidrosis.
If you purchase a three-pack, the product comes with an applicator, which we recommend using as the lotion can leave a residue on your hands.
Price at time of publish: $20
Type: Lotion | Cruelty Free: Yes | Size: 1.35 oz | Key Ingredients: Eucalyptus oil, aluminum sesquichlorohydrate
Surface Deep Anti-Odorant Spray
No sticky residue
There’s a sweet fragrance
First heralded by celebrities like Ashley Graham and Shailene Woodley, the switch to natural deodorizing products was a slow burn. Now, these deodorants dominate the beauty space as suitable alternatives to ones that contain aluminum and other potentially harmful preservatives.
While there’s not enough scientific evidence to sufficiently prove these ingredients have serious harmful effects, some people choose to forgo using them if they’ve had negative reactions to the chemicals or just prefer a more natural product.
The Surface Deep Anti-Odorant Spray uses plant-based ingredients to fight odor-causing bacteria such as glycolic acid, eucalyptus, and aloe vera. Different from an antiperspirant or a deodorant, an anti-odorant, “prevents odor by lowering pH and protecting the microbiome of the skin,” explains Dr. Zalka.
Instead of simply masking foot smells with an artificial fragrance (although, it does have a naturally sweet aroma), this spray neutralizes and eliminates bacteria that cause stinky feet in the first place.
And in a nod to Mother Nature, the spray comes in a recyclable glass spray bottle, so you can feel good about using it too.
Price at time of publish: $19
Type: Spray | Cruelty Free: Yes | Size: 4 oz | Key Ingredients: Glycolic acid, aloe vera, rosemary
SweatBlock Maximum Strength Antiperspirant Wipes
Contains vitamin E
May irritate sensitive skin
Using a wipe antiperspirant allows you to target whatever area you want to reduce sweat, like between your toes or the inner arches of your feet. We like these from SweatBlock because the 14% of aluminum chloride makes them extremely effective, they work overnight, and, when used consistently, they can stop sweat for up to seven days.
It does it all with a satisfyingly short ingredient list you don’t need a degree in biochemistry to understand, including vitamin E which has long been used by the dermatology community for its antioxidant properties.
The wipes have one of the highest percentages of aluminum chloride allowed by the FDA in over-the-counter products, which does an excellent job of knocking out odor and sweat, but this also means it could irritate sensitive skin types.
Price at time of publish: $25
Type: Wipe | Cruelty Free: N/A | Size: 5.6 oz | Key Ingredients: 14% aluminum chloride, vitamin E
Best Quick Drying
2Toms Stop Sweaty, Smelly Feet FootShield Roll-On
Short dry time
Isn’t for excessive sweating
If you’re not keen on waiting around for your lotion or wipe to dry, Dr. Parthasarathy recommends the quick-drying formula from this easy roll-on stick. In combination with isopropyl alcohol, an antibacterial, the product uses a blend of essential oils with anti-fungal and hydrating properties like witch hazel, and tea tree oil to stomp out odors and prevent dry feet.
Without the antiperspirant aluminum chloride, it’s not the most effective for those who suffer from excessive sweating, but those averse to the chemical will be pleasantly surprised to see its exclusion from the ingredient list.
Price at time of publish: $16
Type: Roll-on | Cruelty Free: N/A | Size: 3 oz | Key Ingredients: Isopropyl alcohol, tea tree oil, witch hazel
Duradry Feet System
Comes as a set of three products
Naturally derived ingredients
Some products contain fragrance
With its punchy pink color and shelf-friendly packaging, it’s easy to mistake this sweat-prevention set for the alluring skincare ones we see lining Sephora. Recommended by Dr. Robert Finney, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist based in New York City, the bundle is your ultimate foot odor-fighting kit. It includes two antiperspirant deodorants in a wipe and spray form, and a deodarizing body wash to set you up for long-term success.
Kind of like the Olaplex system, this functions as a three-part process that gives you the best, results when used together. All products boast plant-based formulas, with the spray containing almost 100% naturally derived ingredients.
As a bonus, this should mean it's safe for everyone to use but note the deep cleansing wash does contain a fragrance that could irritate sensitive skin.
Price at time of publish: $40
Type: Wash, spray, gel | Cruelty Free: Yes | Size: 2.3 oz (deodorant), 0.4 oz (gel), 2 oz (wash) | Key Ingredients: Green tea, glycolic acid, aloe
Best Antimicrobial Spray
Visha Skincare Cheek 2 Feet Body Spray
Safe for sensitive skin
Not as effective at preventing sweat
Need to freshen up after a brisk walk or particularly intensive pilates class? Visha Skincare, developed by board certified dermatologist Dr. Purvisha Patel, is a skincare brand that uses clean ingredients like thyme, peppermint oil, and zinc to target skin microorganisms that love to hang around after a sweat sesh.
Dr. Patel previously told Byrdie, that zinc is great for zapping odor-causing bacteria and we like that it's a safer, FDA-approved alternative to deodorizing our feet. Not to mention, the discreet, minimalist packaging isn’t a dead giveaway that it’s a smelly-feet solution.
Keep in mind this isn’t an antiperspirant so while we might not apply it before a half-marathon, it’ll do well to revitalize and cleanse your skin after more mild workouts.
Price at time of publish: $25
Type: Spray | Cruelty Free: Yes | Size: 4 oz | Key Ingredients: Zinc, aloe, witch hazel
Best Nongreasy Formula
Smooth AF Medicated Athlete’s Foot Wipes Pouch
AMPA seal of approval
Takes some time to dry
We don’t want to replace one sticky situation with another, so finding an antiperspirant that won’t leave behind a greasy residue is key. Well, we found it with these wipes. In fact, using them might feel like a DIY pedicure as they have a slightly rough texture to exfoliate the skin while emollients like eucalyptus hydrate it, and menthol and peppermint oil provide soothing benefits.
In addition to its easy application and alcohol-free formula, Dr. Parthasarathy loves that it carries the AMPA seal of approval, a nationally recognized program that signifies the product is beneficial to foot health. She also recommends it for anyone with an underlying mild athlete's foot infection since it includes tolnaftate, a fungal-fighting ingredient.
Price at time of publish: $17
Type: Wipes | Cruelty Free: N/A | Size: 5.6 oz | Key Ingredients: Eucalyptus, menthol
Certain Dri Clinical Prescription Strength Antiperspirant
Could irritate sensitive skin
For the same reason you might reach for a sunscreen stick or travel-sized perfume, this roll-on antiperspirant applies easily and dries fast. It’s specifically formulated for people with hyperhidrosis, making it ideal, “if you are looking for a heavy-duty OTC antiperspirant with a high percentage of aluminum chloride,” says Dr. Parthasarathy.
Because of its high concentration of this chemical, she wouldn’t recommend using it more than three times a week, but you probably won’t need to consider how effective it is. What’s more, it’s unscented, can last up to three days, and works overnight.
Price at time of publish: $18
Type: Roll-on | Cruelty Free: Yes | Size: 1.2 oz | Key Ingredients: 12% aluminum chloride
Zeasorb Antifungal Treatment Powder, Athletes Foot
Helps fight fungus
The same way we use dry shampoo to sop up extra oil in our hair, an antiperspirant powder can similarly absorb moisture and prevent fungus and yeast from thriving on our feet. As a result, you should see sweat disappear with any smells following suit. Recommended by Dr. Zalka, the Zeasorb Antifungal Powder uses the antifungal medication miconazole nitrate that’s very beneficial at curbing bacterial growth.
The powder can be messy, so we recommend shaking the product onto a cotton pad and taking it to your feet rather than applying it directly.
Price at time of publish: $8
Type: Powder | Cruelty Free: N/A | Size: 2.5 oz | Key Ingredients: 2% Miconazole nitrate
Megababe Lavender Mint Toe Deo Odor-Blocking Foot Spray
The product is a little difficult to dispense
We’d be happy shoving most foot sprays deep into the shadows of our bathroom cabinets, but between the adorable lavender packaging and cheery shoe mascot featured on every bottle, we don’t mind sticking this one on our top shelves. Whether it’s preventing chafing or targeting arm acne, megababe knows how to tackle life’s less glamorous aspects, and we feel confident saying this foot spray is no exception.
It ditches added artificial fragrance in favor of lavender, peppermint, and spearmint, which leave behind a light smell. Witch hazel helps shrink pores to prevent sweating, and plant-based alcohol kills germs on site. Saccharomyces ferment is another key ingredient that works as a part antioxidant, and part skin-soothing agent to leave feet feeling refreshed and bacteria-free.
One thing to keep in mind: You may need to hold the bottle at an angle or prop your feet up while applying it because the spray doesn’t always come straight out of the bottle.
Price at time of publish: $14
Type: Spray | Cruelty Free: Yes | Size: 3.8 oz | Key Ingredients: Alcohol, saccharomyces ferment, lavender
Best for Shoes
Dr. Scholl's Probiotic Foot Spray
Uses probiotics to prevent bacteria growth
Fast dry time
Slight floral smell
Did you know your shoes hold onto bacteria, too, and could be the culprit of sweaty, stinky feet? Spritzing down your sneakers and slides can combat these effects — plus sprays act as a buffer between your skin and shoes to prevent blisters.
Recommended by Dr. Parthasarathy, this foot spray has a twofold effect: One spritz of it deodorizes feet and shoes immediately and prevents the odor from coming back. It’s safe for daily use, but over time you may find yourself needing it less thanks to its inclusion of probiotics like peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus. The ingredients display antimicrobial activity to inhibit bacteria growth, meaning you're less likely to notice stink over time.
The spray also contains plant-based ingredients like witch hazel, glycerine, and tea tree oil — all three of which have hydrating properties and prevent the skin from becoming too dry. Even if you’re not a fan of the fleeting floral smell from the spray’s added fragrance, we think it’s much preferable to the alternative.
Price at time of publish: $9
Type: Spray | Cruelty Free: N/A | Size: 4 oz | Key Ingredients: Glycerin, eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender essential oils, witch hazel
The best foot antiperspirant is Dr. Scholl's Odor-Fighting X Foot Powder. It dries quickly, won’t irritate the skin, and contains sweat-blocking and bacteria-curbing ingredients to stop foot odor from coming back. We also love the more natural option Surface Deep Anti-Odorant Spray, which uses plant-based ingredients to limit odor-causing bacteria growth.
Meet the Expert
Meet the Experts
- Priya Parthasarathy DPM, is a board-certified podiatrist based in Silver Spring, Maryland.
- Dr. Robert Finney is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist based in New York City.
What to Look For in Foot Antiperspirants
To reduce sweat, antiperspirants contain active ingredients such as aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium, and aluminum trichlorohydrex. “Aluminum chloride appears to be the most effective and can be found at the highest concentration of 12 percent over the counter,” says Dr. Parthasarathy.
For more natural options, that won’t stop sweat but will help with smelly feet, Dr. Zalka tells us to seek out aluminum-free deodorants that “block the formation of odor-forming bacteria.” Many of these use essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree that have antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
Foot antiperspirants come in wipes, sprays, powders, and lotions, each one just as effective as the next. Wipes and lotions allow you to target specific areas and thoroughly cover the foot, whereas sprays and powders may be less precise but they often dry faster. You can also use these types of formulas on your shoes and socks to help stop bacteria from forming in them.
Is foot antiperspirant safe?
Many foot antiperspirants can be used daily until the issue ceases, but as with any new skin product, you should always perform a patch test before applying it to determine your skin’s sensitivities.
Since the high concentration of antiperspirant ingredients can cause irritation, Dr. Finney says it’s also important to moisturize the area in the morning and at night after using these products.
Dr. Parthasarathy cautions against using a foot antiperspirant over cracked skin or open sores, and Dr. Zalka adds that “if you suffer from eczema or psoriasis of the feet, check with your dermatologist before using antiperspirants on the affected skin.”
How does foot antiperspirant work?
Antiperspirants contain active ingredients like aluminum that “can get inside the sweat duc, precipitate in there and block the release of sweat,” says Dr. Finney. He recommends applying them at night when “sweating is usually at a lull.” You can even enhance penetration by occluding the foot with Saran Wrap, he adds.
Dr. Zalka also says the feet should be as dry as possible before applying a foot antiperspirant and suggests “using a hair dryer on the cool setting and blowing air between toes to achieve maximum dryness without irritation.”
Does foot antiperspirant stop feet from smelling?
A foot antiperspirant helps limit the growth of odor-causing bacteria, leaving you with better-smelling feet. However, if you still notice an unpleasant scent, Dr. Zalka suggests making sure your socks and shoes are clean and dry, as they can also hold onto bacteria.
Luckily you can apply spray and powder antiperspirants to your clothing and skin to ensure freshness all over. Additionally, Dr. Parthasarathy recommends wearing, “wicking socks made of natural or acrylic fiber blends that draw the moisture away from your feet instead of trapping it.” We’re fans of ones from brands like Bombas and Nike.
Why Trust Byrdie
Irene Richardson is a writer covering fashion and beauty trends for Byrdie. For this story, she conducted hours of research on dozens of foot antiperspirants, analyzing each formula. She consulted board-certified dermatologists Dr. Alicia Zalka and Dr. Robert Finney; and Dr. Priya Parthasarathy, board certified podiatrist.
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