8 Crazy Stories About Smelly Feet

1The train passenger whose stinky feet started a fight

The smell of rancid feet caused a fight to break out between two women on an express train making its way from Beijing to Chongqing in September 2015.

According to China's Chongqing Morning Post, a middle-aged woman and a girl in her late teens or early 20s were in the same car on an express train bound for Chongqing City, when the older woman took off her shoes. The smell of the woman's feet apparently bothered the younger girl, who asked her to put her shoes back on. The older woman ignored the request, however, so the girl responded by plugging up her nose with a tissue.

The angry older woman began yelling insults at the girl, who retaliated by throwing the cushion she had brought along with her initiating a full-on scuffle between the two. Surrounding passengers tried to break up the fight and police soon intervened. Police reports state the younger girl had scratch marks on her face from the older woman, who had clawed her during the scuffle while pulling her hair.

The older woman was ordered to give a verbal apology to the girl, as well as pay her 1500 yuan ($235) in medical expenses.

2The famed scientist whose prolific letters reveal he had stinky feet

Long before Charles Darwin penned his masterwork “The Origin of Species,” the future father of evolutionary theory was a child who had bad spelling and stinky feet.

Darwin wrote over 5000 letters to family members, scientists, diplomats and clergymen that have now been put online by the Darwin Correspondence Project. The missives touch on everything from evolution (duh!) and gardening to personal hygiene.

"I only wash my fett [sic] once a month at school, which I confess is nasty, but I cannot help it, for we have nothing to do it with," a 12-year-old Darwin wrote to a friend.

3The scientists who discovered smelly feet may be a way to fight malaria

In 2013, scientists discovered a possible new way of fighting the deadly, mosquito-borne disease malaria—the stench of human feet.

In a laboratory study spearheaded by Dr. James Logan at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, researchers found that mosquitoes infected with the tropical disease were more attracted to human odors from a dirty sock than those that didn't carry malaria. Insects carrying malaria parasites were three times more likely to be drawn to the stinky stockings.

The new finding may help create traps that target only malaria-carrying mosquitoes. "Smelly feet have a use after all. Every time we identify a new part of how the malaria mosquito interacts with us, we're one step closer to controlling it better," Dr. Logan said.

4The man whose cat was almost knocked out by his stinky feet

A laugh-out-loud funny viral video shows one picky feline reacting in a riotously theatrical fashion to its owner's smelly feet.

The 13-second video shows a happy young kitty gently nipping and clawing the foot of its owner. The cat takes one whiff and is instantly overwhelmed by the smell.

5The report that revealed polar bears find suitable mates through foot scent

In 2014, a report published in the Journal of Zoology revealed polar bears' feet leave a scent behind in their footprints which helps suitable mates find each other.

The San Diego Zoo asked Polar Bears International to swab between the toes of bears' feet using Q-Tips. "I think they probably thought we were crazy when we made the request," said biologist Megan Owen. The researchers then exposed the scent samples to bears of different sex and age groups. From the samples, they identified pheromones and other chemicals, and discovered bears can smell the scents left by the tracks on the ice despite great distances and lapses of time.

But with climate change now an issue, that highly adapted method of communication could be in jeopardy. Steven Amstrup, a chief scientist with Polar Bears International, said, "Less sea ice and a more broken, more disrupted sea ice surface may have other threats, and one of those is that these creatures may not be able to find each other when they need to breed."

6The man who was banned from attending college classes because of his smelly feet

It took a decade for Teunis Tenbrook, a philosophy student at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Holland, to complete his studies. He was banned from the university as a result of complaints from professors and students that it was impossible to concentrate with the rancid smell emanating from his feet.

In 2009, a court ruled that having smelly feet is no excuse to ban a student from a university. A judge said of those that complained: “They must hold their noses.”

7The woman whose open letter about the stinky feet of a fellow passenger went viral

In May 2015, a furious passenger posted a sarcastic open letter to the person sitting behind her on a flight who talked too loud, incessantly kicked her chair, took their shoes off and put their stinky feet up.

Lau Munyee shared the note on social media about the loud-mouthed, snack-guzzling passenger who had feet that smelt of "death and decay."

Lau, 24, who runs the blog iammunyee.com, was flying on an AirAsia flight from Singapore to Sydney on seat 14A.

Of the woman's feet, she said, "I did not pay for the in-flight entertainment package, and I was worried that I might get bored. But my concerns were unnecessary. Immediately, my nose was assaulted by a putrid smell of death and decay. The stench was so strong that I turned to check if the old lady seated next to me was still breathing."

8The airport that was forced to remove its carpet due to the permeating sweaty foot stench

In 2013, Palm Beach International Airport, gateway to one of the Florida's fanciest towns, was taken to task for the sweaty foot stench that permeates the carpet.

The smell was described as a cross between a pack of wet dogs and sneakers worn without socks over a full summer.

The foul odors were wafting from the carpeted areas at the TSA checkpoint, which is where thousands of passengers take off their shoes to be searched for bombs and toothpaste.

It's not the first time foot odors in the airport have been noted. In 2010, TSA officials complained about it and the carpet was replaced. It has since been taken out (again) and replaced with tiles.