Smelly feet is a frequently occurring source of humor and entertainment, especially in children's works!
"Marguerite, go wash your feet
The Board of Health is across the street.
— Nursery Rhyme
As with any other part of the body, feet can smell bad. However, because people nowadays tend to stuff them in shoes all day and never expose them to light or air they tend to spend most of their time sitting in their own rancid sweat
. This has given rise to the idea that feet are naturally smelly
when actually bare feet don't smell any more than any other patch of skin. In actual fact that smell is from the literally hundreds of different types of bacteria and fungus
that love to live in the warm dark sweaty interiors of shoes.
But there is something oddly entertaining about the idea of smelly feet and it's been one of the most common tropes in family-themed media. Children find the concept of smelly feet to be humorous, as evidenced by the popular children's song "Trick or treat/Smell my feet/Gimme something good to eat."
Even babies seem to find smelly feet funny; a common game parents sometimes play with their babies is to pretend to smell their baby feet and booties.
And, of course, foot fetishists exist too, and some of them also like stinky feet. Truth in Television
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- This advertisement for Chuck E. Cheese.
- Odor-Eaters: "Uh-oh, foot odor!"
Anime And Manga
- In Crayon Shin Chan, Shin's father Hiroshi is known to have very stinky feet and socks which can be used as a weapon against foes.
- The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers take a road trip to Mexico - except for Phineas, who isn't allowed in because of his hair and beard. The other two come back, and the border patrol is convinced they're carrying in marijuana. After hours of searching with no results, a guard gets the idea to have Fat Freddy take off his shoes - he does, and the resultant stink has them rushed out and across. Phineas, meanwhile, walked across and bought a big pile of dope cheap.
- This◊ Garfield strip.
- The 2003 film Holes revolves greatly around stinky feet. Henry Winkler's character is trying to find a cure for foot odor, and as a result is obsessed with collecting and smelling shoes. He even asks his wife to smell one at one point. We are also told the whole hallways smells like stinky feet.
- The smell of socks/shoes is frequently used in Discworld books when someone's a slob, usually a male slob. Unseen Academicals describes the University as "as masculine as the smell of pipe smoke and old socks, and, since wizards were frequently lax about knocking out their pipes, sometimes smoking socks as well.
- On Full House, one of the central running gags was that Kimmy Gibler had smelly feet. Every time she takes off her shoes, the other characters can't stand her (though they usually can't stand her as it already is). Apparently this runs in her family, as she mentions in one episode that DJ probably won't want to spend the night at her house since her father has just run out of foot deodorant.
- Married... with Children arguably had some of the most creative stinky feet jokes in history. Al works in a shoe store and is regularly surrounded by smelly feet, plus has them himself. In one episode, Peg uses his stinky socks as a weapon to get out of a restaurant where then they can't pay the bill. Another time, when Al finds a "shoe groupie" in his bed, he takes off his shoe, to use his foot odor as a weapon. The groupie doesn't seem to mind it, but Peg yells from downstairs "Al, are your shoes off up there? For goodness sake, they're people breathing down here." Eventually, one episode revealed that the source of Al's severe foot odor was a curse placed on his ancestor five hundred years prior in England. The Bundy family then take a trip to England and the joke comes up several more times. At one point, Peg uses Al's shoe to knock a Royal Guard unconscious. And, in one of the most famous scenes of the show, Al dips his bare feet in a lake and ends up killing all the fish, plus knocking out an assassin in scuba-gear who was coming to kill him.
- Round the Twist had this as a Running Gag, eventually culminating in an episode where Bronson reveals he's intending to use the pong as a weapon to stop Gribs, Rabbit and Tiger from killing a turtle.
- Saturday Night Live actually spoofs this trope in the Miley Cyrus hosted episode. During a skit about a class to become a Disney Channel star (Miley is, of course, known for her lead role in Hannah Montana on the channel), one of the lessons in the class is "reacting to smelly feet" in which Keenan Thompson (playing Raven) takes a whiff of Bobby Moynihan socked feet and displaying displeasure (although it's probably not a genuine displeasure given what the skit is about).
- The skit itself is obviously poking fun at the Disney Channel live action shows that use this trope to a point that it sometimes becomes more of a tired cliche.
- Jim Cosgrove, a singer/songwriter of children's tunes is known as "Mr. Stinky Feet" as his signature song is called "Stinky Feet." In the sing, he sings about foot odor and asks children to sing along.
- Frank Zappa furnishes the clinical name for this condition in "Stinkfoot".