The Best Athlete's Foot Treatments of 2022

Lotrimin's Liquid Spray targets fungus, provides relief, and prevents flare-ups

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Athlete's foot—also known as tinea pedis—is a fungal infection that's at times painful, persistent, and highly contagious. "Fungal organisms like hot, wet, moist places, which makes shoes and socks the perfect breeding ground for athlete's foot," explains Alan Bass, DPM, an American Podiatric Medical Association podiatrist. Symptoms can include itchiness, burning, and cracking, peeling skin on the bottoms of the feet and between the toes. The condition rarely goes away on its own, so finding the best athlete's foot treatment is the best way to resolve the condition's root cause (fungus) and find relief.

Reviewed & Approved

Formulated with miconazole nitrate, Lotrimin's Liquid Spray targets the fungus that causes athlete's foot and prevents flare-ups, which makes it our top overall pick. We also recommend Lamisil Athelete's Foot Antifungal Cream if you're looking for a soothing solution.

Luckily, most cases of athlete's foot are treatable with an over-the-counter cream, spray, or powder. Dr. Bass recommends a quick-drying antifungal spray or a powder if you don't have time to wait before putting on your socks and shoes, noting that messier, topical ointments work best when you are able to let your feet air out. (The type of application is a matter of preference; just make sure the treatment you choose contains the right active ingredients.) Most importantly, Dr. Bass says, it's vital to see a podiatrist if the problem doesn't begin to clear within a couple of weeks of treating it with an OTC product. 

We researched dozens of athlete's foot treatments and evaluated them for their active ingredients, price, application type, and effectiveness. Our roundup includes remedies in every form, including a powder spray, a foot soak, and wipes you can stash in your gym bag or carry-on.

Here are the best athlete's foot treatments available online.

Best Overall: Lotrimin AF Athlete's Foot Liquid Spray

4.9
Lotrimin

We recommend this Lotrimin spray as our top pick, because it applies easily and is great for coating every single crevice of your foot. This formula contains 2% miconazole nitrate, which has been clinically proven to relieve itchy skin and can even be used as initial prevention of athlete's foot. The best part about powder formulas, in general, is that they contain active fungal-fighting ingredients while also working to dry out any moist areas. They truly might be the best option for those who are trying to prevent recurrence and reduce itching. 

Best Cream: Lamisil Athelete's Foot Antifungal Cream

Lamisil Athelete's Foot Antifungal Cream

Courtesy of Amazon

Many people prefer to use powder treatments during the day or before workouts. Consider the athlete's foot creams your go-to nighttime or at-home solutions. Cream-based products are generally more soothing than powders, so they’re perfect for use after bathing and before bedtime. Don’t worry, this won’t stain your clothes or bed linens. 

Lamisil's Antifungal Cream cures most athlete's foot between the toes within one week while providing relief from the itching and burning. The product's 1-ounce package makes it an easy addition to any gym bag, so you can keep it with you anytime you work out.

Best Powder: Zeasorb Antifungal Treatment Powder, Athletes Foot

Zeasorb

Though it'll take some work to get it into all the cracks and crevices of your feet and between your toes—while also keeping it from getting all over the floor—Zeasorb's dermatologist-backed foot powder is an effective option. The 2% concentration of miconazole nitrate targets the fungal infection, while the extra-absorbant, starch-free powder provides a pleasant cooling effect. 

Best Powder Spray: Tinactin Athlete's Foot Antifungal Deodorant Powder Spray

Tinactin Powder Spray

Tinactin's powder spray dries out fungus, soothes itching and burning, and, when used daily, can even help prevent flare-ups. The formulation contains the antifungal tolnaftate (1%) and has an odor-fighting agent to eliminate foot odor and freshen up stinky socks and shoes. Use it at least once daily for up to four weeks.  

Best No-Touch Applicator: Lotrimin Ultra with No Touch Applicator

Lotrimin Ultra

Lotrimin's formula uses butenafine hydrochloride to soothe irritated, cracked skin between toes. There's only enough product to treat for a week, so you might want to choose a different pick on this list if you've got a case that's affecting your entire foot. On the plus side, it's easy to transport, so you can take it with you when you travel, or keep it in your bag if you need to reapply during the day.

Best Medicated Wipes: SmoothAF Medicated Athlete’s Foot Wipes

SmoothAF

Stash these handy wipes in your gym bag, suitcase, or purse for on-the-go treatment and relief. They contain tolnaftate (1%) but are paraben- and alcohol-free, so they won't dry out your skin. Eucalyptus and menthol provide a cooling effect and a fresh scent. 

Best Gel: Kerasal 5-in-1 Athlete's Foot Silky Clear Gel

Kerasal AF Gel

This five-in-one treatment contains tolnaftate to clear up the fungus and prevent flare-ups, aloe to relieve itching and burning, ceramides and vitamin E to nourish skin, and essential oils to deodorize feet naturally. The gel is dispensed through a no-touch applicator to avoid messes, and it's approved for use on children over the age of two. 

Best Foot Soak: Truremedy Naturals Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak with Epsom Salt & Mint

Truremedy Naturals Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak with Epsom Salt & Mint

Courtesy of Amazon

If you want to stick with a natural athlete's treatment, try Trueremedy Naturals' Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-fungal, and in bath salt form, it's particularly non-invasive. Not only does it help eliminate athlete's foot, it also leaves your feet feeling fresh and smelling clean.

This foot soak uses a combination of tea tree oil, Epsom salt, sea salt, and other essential oils to help relieve itching and soften skin. It's a non-chemical solution that doubles as a great way to unwind.

Final Verdict

When you’re heading to a workout, or any time you’re putting on shoes for a full day, you definitely need Lotrimin Athlete's Foot Liquid Powder Spray as the first line of defense. Luckily, even though it’s a powder, it’s easy to apply, and the spray form makes it simple to get in between the toes and into cracks in irritated skin. After your nightly shower, slather on a cream like Lamisil AT Antifungal Cream, and let your feet air out after a long day.

What to Look for in an Athlete's Foot Treatment

Form

Choose between powders and creams based on what works best for you and your schedule. Remember that powders are good for wicking away moisture, so you might want to consider the application before putting on shoes for the day. Creams are soothing but can be uncomfortable to use during the day, so they are best to apply before bed. 

Ingredients

There are a few active ingredients that have proven to be effective in the treatment of athlete’s foot. Dr. Bass says to look for 1% terbinafine hydrochloride, which is usually found in creams; 2% miconazole nitrate, which is found in our top pick; or 1% terbinafine hydrochloride. Using an antifungal treatment like Kerasal's 5-in-1 Gel and letting your feet air out after a long day will help prevent future cases of athlete’s foot. 

If trying a natural method is important to you, look into products that contain tea tree oil a natural anti-fungal. They also can be used to help treat other fungal infections, including jock itch and ringworm.

Application

While there are a variety of treatments available for athlete's foot, there will be a method that works best for you and your specific needs. If you have trouble with mobility, and reaching your feet is an issue, a spray may work best for you. If you’d rather use treatment overnight, you may want to try a cream that takes a little more time to absorb into your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take for an athelete's foot treatment to work?

    If you opt for an over-the-counter treatment like our Best Overall pick, the Lotrimin AF Athlete's Foot Liquid Spray, you should experience immediate relief from itching and burning. Still, it can take a week or two before the infection starts to clear, and up to four weeks for it to resolve completely. If you use any product for a month without seeing a difference, make an appointment to see your doctor. 

  • How effective are athlete’s foot remedies?

    The bad news is that athlete's foot rarely goes away on its own. Luckily, most cases are treatable with an over-the-counter cream, spray, or powder. It's important to use your chosen treatment as directed and to keep your feet clean and dry. 

  • Is athlete's foot contagious?

    Yes! If you have athlete’s foot, then something you’ll want to be cognizant of is the fact that the fungus spreads easily. Linda Stein Gold, M.D., head of dermatology at Henry Ford Health System in West Bloomfield, Michigan, says that you should be vigilant if you live with someone who has athlete’s foot. It can spread by sharing shoes and walking barefoot in public places like locker rooms and pools. Dr. Stein Gold frequently advises people to always wear some type of sandal or flip flop in moist communal areas, whether they have the condition or not.

  • How can I prevent athlete's foot?

    Fungus likes moisture. According to Ami Sheth, M.D., a podiatry specialist in Los Gatos, California, your best bet for keeping the condition at bay is to keep your feet dry. “Keeping the shoe environment dry, rotating out your shoes, and putting them out in the sun if you happen to suffer from sweaty feet is where you want to start. Using these methods, you might be able to squash it before it even begins,” explains Dr. Sheth. “If your feet are sweaty, you need to keep them dry. Some people will use baking soda or light cornstarch to keep the moisture out, or powder. You can use moisture-wicking socks or change socks frequently, too.”

Why Trust Verywell Health

Brittany Loggins is a freelance writer who has covered everything from wellness to politics. She has a degree in journalism from University of Georgia and lives in New York City.

Additional reporting to this story by Janae Price

As a health writer, Janae Price understands the importance of a knowledgeable and honest review. When there are so many different opinions out there, it's great to have a concise answer that cuts through all the junk online. Every product in this piece has been thoroughly researched and sourced by professionals with potential user needs in mind.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Piérard, G.e., et al. “Biometrological Assessment of the Preventive Effect of a Miconazole Spray Powder on Athlete's Foot.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 27 Apr. 2006, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2230.1996.tb00119.x. 

Additional Reading

By Brittany Loggins
Brittany has written for Verywell Health since September 2020. She was a staff writer for TODAY.com, the digital arm of NBC’s TODAY Show, as well as CBSNews.com. She has been a full time freelance writer since 2019, where she’s covered health topics for DoctorOz.com, Real Simple, Shape, Health, NBC’s Know Your Value and TLCme.com. Brittany went to the University of Georgia (GO BULLDOGS!) where she studied consumer journalism in one of the best cities in the world, Athens, Georgia.