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Smelly Feet Gag

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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 stewing 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 reality, 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. In fact, as boxers and other people forced to sweat inside closed gloves can attest, you can develop the same smell in your hands by the same principle.

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. Truth in Television, indeed.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • This advertisement for Chuck E. Cheese.
  • Odor-Eaters: "Uh-oh, foot odor!"
  • Combined with Giant Foot of Stomping in this foot deodorant ad.
  • In this Advertisement for Kiwi Foot Doderant A frustrated, pisssed off office worker seemingly Becomes a Kick Chick when she takes off her shoes and starts "kicking" Her office mates in the faces. We see a close up of her feet that are actually shown with white smoke coming from them and it is revealed that she is merely kicking the air to allow her foot odor to spread to her Co-workers noses and knock them out.
  • The GEOX company has made quite a few commercials where someone (either a man or a woman) for varying reasons takes off one of their shoes and the smell of their feet causes everyone in the vicinity to automatically faint no matter how far away they actually are (if they are in doors). One of the funniest commercials involves a couple going out for a picnic with their dog and the woman decides to take off one of her sneakers causing the dog to faint next to her while the man quickly pinches his nose to block the smell only for a nearby tree (uprooted due to the odor of her feet) to fall on him.
  • In a commercial for Energizer batteries, a lady advertises a fictional air freshener called Airdale, which she uses to eliminate the odors in her kitchen, on her pet dog, and on her husband's smelly feet. During the last part, the Energizer Bunny (who is dressed in a gas mask) interrupts the commercial, much to the bewilderment of the husband.
  • An advert for anti-odour insoles had the slogan "are you known as Cheesy Spice?", showing the lower half of a woman holding a microphone and wearing platform shoes without socks, in a reference to the Spice Girls, who often wore platform shoes, sometimes without socks.

    Anime & 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.
  • Nagisa from Futari wa Pretty Cure. Or at least, smelly socks, as she writes on her Pretty Cure diary. This ends up being an important point later on.
  • As an intimidation, Yamazaki from Gakkyuoh Yamazaki, use to take off his shoes and put on Takuya's face

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 4 episode 12, Big M. and the mail robot have a fight which is interrupted by Big M.'s shoe coming off, causing the mail robot to faint from the stench of Big M.'s foot.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Marvel Team-Up: In issue #64, Colleen Wing insists Spider-Man take his boots off before stepping on her Japanese carpet. He declines on the grounds his feet will smell awful, and so finds a workaround by just sticking to the ceiling.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • Gaston from Beauty and the Beast appears to have smelly feet when he kicks off his boots on Belle's table.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The weasels burst into Eddie Valiant's office to find Roger Rabbit, currently handcuffed to Eddie. All they find is the private eye washing something in the sink.
    Weasel: [sniffing] What's in there?
    Eddie: [lifting out a sock] My laundry.
    [Weasel turns away in disgust holding his nose, just missing Roger as he sticks his head up to breathe]
  • In the live-action Cinderella, during the quest to find a maiden who can wear the glass slipper, the Royal Guards prepare to administer the test to an overweight baker-woman. She sits up on a counter, takes off her shoe, and four guards immediately collapse from the smell.
    "It's the yeast."
  • In the French film series Les Visiteurs, Jacquouille (Christian Clavier) is a time-travelling Medieval Moron from The Dung Ages. In every film someone comments at least once how someone stinks from the feet in his presence (he takes a monthly bath or less than that). It culminates in the third film (set during The French Revolution) where he lets his shoes in a building and they practically poison the air in it.
  • Special Silencers somehow uses this as an interrogation method. The heroine Julia was captured by mooks about to interrogate her, the first method being a mook with stinky feet removing his boots and shoving it into her face.
  • Elizabeth Jordan deals with this problem in the film War Room. At the end her husband J.T. treats her to a foot massage while wearing a mask over his face.
  • In "Catch That Kid", There's a scene where Gus throws Maddy his sock so she can slide it off without leaving any traces but it really stunk. She tries it on but she really dislikes it and takes it off.
  • "Four Rooms" Juancho takes off his shoes and socks and Sarah whiffs it implying that his feet stink. Later Sarah tries to persuade Juancho that her foot smells good and when he comes closer to smell it, she kicks him in the face.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. McCarthy takes off his boots and socks after three days of combat and immediately flees to another room. Unfortunately his feet insist on coming with him. At another point, his associate Ted pours a glass of scotch over McCarthy's newly-exposed feet to deaden the smell.
  • Dragons of Requiem has Dorvin, whose feet smell worse than "a dead marmot," according to Maev after she gets too close to them.
  • Holes: Charles Walker is nicknamed "Trout" because his feet smell like dead fish. Clyde Livingston's feet stink too, and he is given the Ironic Nickname "Sweet Feet".
  • In Cinderella from Revolting Rhymes, the shoe which replaces Cinderella's slipper is quoted thus:
    It also smelled a wee bit icky.
    (The owner's feet were hot and sticky.)
  • In Pizza is the Best Breakfast. Mandy's friend Anya puts her feet under Mandy's nose while painting their nails, and Mandy tells Anya her toes stink.
  • Roys Bedoys:
    • In “It’s Spirit Week, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys tries to give Wen one of his socks when she can’t afford some crazy socks, but she refuses since it smells bad.
    • In “Easter is Cancelled, Roys Bedoys!”, the Bedoys brothers make Mr. Bedoys smell Roys’ sock, which he claims smells of rotten eggs.
    • In “Stop Cyberbullying, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys slanders Hopper by claiming the latter smells sweaty socks in order to fall asleep.
  • Tales of the Ketty Jay. While having a guard Bound and Gagged, one of Pinn's socks is used as the gag to knock him unconscious.
  • In The Wicked Years, Dorothy puts on the silver slippers and finds that she can't take them off because Glinda put a spell on them. She ends up stuck wearing the shoes for several weeks straight, and finally her "socks are so sweaty it's not to be believed."

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Blackadder The Third, Blackadder is quoted by Mrs. Miggins as saying "the Prince's feet smell so bad that a man would have to have his nose amputated before taking his boots off".
  • Downplayed by Greg on CSI. In one episode, Gil wants to run a test on one of Greg's feet in order to test a theory because he has a similar heritage to that of a suspect. Greg is hesitant, asks his boss if he's sure, and when Gil insists, Greg says, "Ok, but it could get loud in here" and starts pulling off his shoe as Gil gives him a look.
  • CSI: NY: Oddball M.E. Sid Hammerback mentions to Adam at one point that he has a pair of shoes made of a particular recycled material and adds, "Although, I must tell you that for whatever reason, foot odor is a problem..." Adam cuts him off and leaves the morgue before Sid can elaborate.
  • 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.
  • Get Smart. In "Pheasant Under Glass", Maxwell Smart uses his Shoe Phone to communicate with a Kidnapped Scientist in a Glassy Prison. The kidnappers removed his shoes, but fortunately they missed his sock phone. As he talks on the sock phone, the scientist begs them to hurry up and rescue him...because he's been locked up for days and the smelly sock is threatening to make him pass out.
  • House of Payne has Malik, whose foot odor problem is brought up by multiple characters. Malik himself once mentioned to his friends that his feet smell.
  • 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.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan: In episode 55, Juna's feet has minor burns after filming a scene in barefoot and now Juna wants someone to blow his feet with their mouth. Mami Bibir would do it until she smells the feet odor and quickly leaves while Prima doesn't want to do it at all. So Topan is forced to blow Juna's feet while being disgusted at the bad odor.
  • 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.
  • The Amanda Show has Drake Bell confess in one sketch that his feet smell like a dead animal. When Josh Peck takes a whiff, he argues that they smell more like rotten sushi.
  • A recurring riff on Mystery Science Theater 3000 mentions feet that smell of either "bad meat or good cheese". The Bots also ragged on Joel for his feet, using the same line, and in the Monster a-Go Go episode even attempted to make their own cheese, using Joel's shoes for "extra flavor". In Code Name: Diamond Head, one of Mike's elf shoes is making a skunk-like stink in the Satellite.
  • One episode of Woof! has Eric's mum thinking he has very smelly feet one night (really, she's smelling the badger in his room), and demanding he washes them, which he obliges.
  • Seinfeld: Frank Costanza has a "foot odor problem" and refuses to take off his shoes in front of other people because of it. This actually cost him a girlfriend back when he lived in Korea, since he offended her family by refusing to take off his shoes inside their house and they kicked him out. A Morton's Fork if there ever was one, since if his feet really do smell as bad as he says they do, taking off his shoes would have probably had the exact same result.

    Music 
  • 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" from Apostrophe (').
  • Mumble rapper Submarine Man's entire discography is about his foot fetish, especially stinky feet. Some of his song titles include "Stinko Foot", "I Love the Smelly Feet", "Gibe de Stinki Feeet" (sic), and "Shavin' Stinky Feet".

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Jackal may have been the pigpen of Diabolic Khaos but it was Delirious who got the idea to weaponize smelly feet...probably because Jackal was too used to his own grime to consider.

    Toys 

    Video Games 
  • Maximo: Ghosts to Glory has a purchasable powerup that gives the player character smelly feet, complete with visible stink. Its purpose is to make him able to cross certain cursed areas without losing his movement speed.
  • One of the obtainable treasures Pikmin 2 is a pink shoe which characters describe as smelling absolutely putrid. They dub the shoe the Repugnant Appendage.
  • Used as the component for a Stealth Pun in the Animal Crossing series. Kicks is a recurring skunk NPC who initially is a shoe shiner, before moving onto running a shoe and socks shop. While Kicks is not a Smelly Skunk, his specialisation in footwear fits as a nod to both that trope and this one.

    Web Original 
  • Legatum is full of characters who aren't too fond of hygiene, and also have notable foot odor.
    • At the end of chapter 2 in The Green Wanderer, Marrox the orc takes off his boots before going to sleep. His orc companion immediately notices and comments about the strong smell.
    • In chapter 11 of The Road to Hell..., King Chorn Torgash and Shurrmvin relax in one of Torgash's personal chambers and take off their boots. Shurrmvin isn't pleased by this.
      Shurrmvin: "Um...you can put your boots back on."
      Chorn Torgash: "Why? Can't handle being subjected to foot odor?"
      Shurrmvin: "Foot odor doesn't bother me. Chemical warfare does."
  • T.O.T. has Maximus Slade, the werewolf villain who cares little about hygiene. One chapter has him deliberately smothering a woman with his footpaw to live up to the "trick or treat, smell my feet" jingle trick-or-treaters would say, while another has him forcing a vandal to sniff his footpaws after someone dared him to do it.

    Western Animation 
  • Hoodsey from As Told by Ginger. When he and Carl are having a staring contest at his home, Carl's eyes start to water and he blinks. When Hoodsey asks if it's because his feet smell, Carl actually leans down and sniffs his socks just to prove him wrong. Cue Ginger and her friends walking into the living room and complaining about how much Hoodsey's feet stink.
  • Ben 10: Ben suffers athlete's foot in "Camp Fear". We see the Ben's smelly shoe in "Change of Face" with switched bodies Gwen takes off his shoe and sniffs it and asks him for how long he didn't wash it.
  • Braceface: Sharon says Maria's feet stink when she slips off her shoe while Sharon is hiding under a table.
  • Danny Phantom: Tucker let Danny know about his bad habit in Boxed up Fury:
    Danny: How can shoes be scary?
    Tucker: Dude, have you smelled yours?
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Cosmo takes off his smelly socks just to give a special flavor to Timmy's lemonade. In "The Boss of Me", Timmy sniffs his dad's smelly sock.
  • On the Family Guy episode I Take Thee Quagmire, Peter and his friends visit Quagmire and his fiancee. Quagmire asks that the company removes their shoes, as they are performing Japanese customs. Cleveland hesitates and leaves, claiming that he has foot odor.
  • Futurama: Some episodes show that Leela, who typically wears boots a lot of the time, has some stinky feet on her, which she tries to deny.
    Leela: Couldn't be me, I don't wear boots.
    Fry: Eww. What smells like boot feet?
  • In the Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi episode "Camping Caper", Yumi is shown to have stinky feet, which makes the surrounding forest animals pass out.
  • Kim Possible: One of the gadgets Wade created for Kim is a "lip gloss" container full of a "super-stink formula" distilled from his dad's dirty socks. It's powerful enough to knock out a a squad of Drakken's henchmen and Shego.
  • The Loud House: Lynn is sometimes joked about having foot odor, like in "Feast or Family" when her feet are emphasized with stench lines to show how long she's been playing outside.
  • In the Mike, Lu & Og episode "Flustering Footwear Flotsam", Mike is shown removing her shoes and the signature green smoke is seen.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: There are a few gags revolving around Adrien's socks and shoes smelling as bad as cheese. His kwami Plagg is a big fan of camembert cheese and once breathed into Adrien's dirty socks to calm himself down.
  • Monster Beach series: Brainfreeze, the laid-back, dim-witted monster is shown to have smelly feet in the episode Doommates. The Mutt seems to like the smell though.
  • An episode of Monster Math Squad has a character named Stinky Feet Monster, who keeps bragging that he has "the stinkiest feet in all of Monstrovia". In the episode, the titular Monster Math Squad help Stinky Feet Monster find strange ingredients for his annual foot bath, which in the end is revealed that the bath is supposed to make his feet smell even worse.
  • Muppet Babies (1984): "Gonzo's Video Show" begins with the babies pretending to enjoy a day out at the beach. Kermit finds Fozzie buried in the sand, appearing as if he is twice as tall as before. However, it is soon revealed that the feet sticking out from the bottom belong to Rowlf, who was buried beneath him. Rowlf is disgusted by Fozzie's foot odor, and asks him why he doesn't wear shoes. Fozzie tells him that even if he did, he'd still have bear feet.
  • My Little Pony: Make Your Mark: In "Mane Smelody", Pipp discovers that Inkthistle polishes her hooves to be extra shiny, but despite its horrible smell, she uses it as part of her new hoof polish brand. Jazz Hooves is disgusted by the idea but goes along with it so as not to hurt her feelings, while Mane Melody's customers poke fun at it and make a viral challenge on who gets to survive the stink the longest.
  • Both Oggy and Dee Dee from Oggy and the Cockroaches have them. Oggy's stench can knock people out and Dee Dee's sock juices are potent enough to dissolve metal.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar, the penguins try to cure Mort of his obsession with hugging King Julien's feet. One of the tactics they use is prolonged exposure to one of zookeeper Alice's boots, which they handle with tongs while wearing gas masks.
  • In the Pet Alien episode "Evil That Pinched My Feet", Tommy's radiation-enhanced shoes become sentient and want revenge on him for wearing them on his "stinky, stinky feet".
    Shoes: I have suffered on the boy's stinky, stinky feet, and now I shall force him to live a smelly life of humiliation!
  • Ricky Sprocket: Showbiz Boy: In "Ricky for Sale", Ethel takes off her sock and hands it to Ricky to trade and get his "Mr. Fuzzy" back.
  • In the "G.I. (Annoyed Grunt)" episode of The Simpsons, Bart shows Kearney his smelly sock. Then in "Donnie Fatso" Bart while playing with Lisa shows Selma's feet. In "Call of the Simpsons" Bart and Lisa let Homer know about his smelly feet:
    Bart: Turkey farm? Skunks? Slaughterhouse?
    Lisa: No.No.No.
    Marge: What are you kids doing?
    Lisa: We're playing ``Name that Odor''
    Bart: Dad's feet?
    Homer: Bart!
    Lisa: You win, Bart
    Homer: Lisa!
  • In Polish South Park knock-off Wlatcy Moch, the R.E. teacher apparently has this problem:
    Anusiak: I just wanted to report that during the recess, Czesio said you have smelly feet.
    The catechist: Czesio!
    Czesio: HELLO!
    The catechist: Add this to your list of sins: "I was lying about the catechist's feet"!
    Czesio: But I wasn't lying...
    The catechist: OUT!!!
  • The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper: In "The Alphabet Song" performed by the Ghostly Trio:
    Stinkie: And T is for Ten Smelly Toes! [upon which Fatso proceeds to tickle Stinkie's newly formed feet]
  • In the "Sky Turtles" episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) when the eponymous heroes have to deal with both Shredder's gravity device, as well as Rocksteady being in the Turtle Van. After having defeated him, they take off Rocksteady's gravity-neutralizing boots, and then incapacitate him with one of his nasty-smelling socks! (And for some reason, he continues wearing only one sock for the rest of the episode.)
    Donatello: WHEW! This is hazardous work!!
  • Total Drama: Smelly feet, mostly in the form of smelly socks, are part of the series' Toilet Humor.
    • One of the challenges in "X-treme Torture" requires the contestants to ride an aggressive moose for a minimum of eight seconds. If the moose bucks them off, the only soft landing spot is a pile of dirty socks from the lost & found. Screaming Gopher Leshawna manages to stay seated, but Killer Bass Geoff gets thrown off and is dunked in the pile, even getting some socks in his mouth. He smells so bad that the flies around him faint and only a skunk wants to keep him company.
    • In "Camp Castaways", Duncan tells Heather that she changes friends more often than he changes socks. She retorts he should do that more often.
    • Heather twice ends up with a dare involving unclean feet in "I Triple Dog Dare You!". First, she is dared to lick Owen's toe jam, which she gets out of by using her one freebie. Some dares later, she has to kiss a sock puppet made from Chef's freshly-worn sweaty sock in a fairytale-themed puppetry play. Without freebies, she goes through with it.
    • While spying on Team CIRRRRH, Heather falls down at Owen's feet and remarks that they reek in "Newf Kids on the Rock". The experience inspires her later on to stuff his socks in Alejandro's clam and fish chowder bowl, which Alejandro takes several bites from before learning what Heather did.
    • One of the challenges in "I See London..." is to strip a Beefeater. Sierra is tricked into doing it for Team Amazon and the last piece of clothing she takes before finding the clue is the guard's shoe. As it pops off, green vapor rises from the guard's foot, which makes Sierra scream.
    • After learning about Duncan's and Gwen's cheating, Courtney writes herself a to-do list in "The Ex-Files". It starts with pummeling Duncan, proceeds to pummeling Gwen, makes a detour with a reminder for Courtney to wash her socks, and then she stops writing to cry uncontrollably.
    • After Scott is mostly knocked out by Fang in "Suckers Punched", Gwen helps carry him away from the ring by lifting him by the legs. The smell makes her wonder aloud if Scott ever washes his feet and in a semi-lucid moment Scott unsettlingly answers, "You cannin' the toe jam already, Cletus?"
    • In the episode "Super Hero-ld" Courtney complains that Lindsay smells like feet. This is after both were in a cheese factory.
    • Brick uses his smelly combat boot as a weapon in the "A Mile is a Terrible Thing to Waste" episode. Then Zoey sniffes them on "Grand Chef Auto"

Alternative Title(s): Smelly Feet

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Athlete's Foot

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