In this double-blind clinical trial 429 patients (217 terbinafine and 212 clotrimazole) were randomized to receive twice daily terbinafine 1% topical solution for 1 week followed by a vehicle application for 3 weeks, or 1% clotrimazole solution for 4 weeks. Patients were evaluated clinically and mycologically at baseline and then at weeks one, two, four (end of treatment), and eight (end of follow-up). To be evaluable the patient needed to have a positive culture for a dermatophyte and positive KOH microscopy and a clinical diagnosis of tinea pedis (interdigital type) at baseline. Effective treatment of tinea pedis was recorded in 181 of 217 (83%) of patients treated for 1 week with terbinafine 1% solution and 174 of 212 (82%) of patients treated for 4 weeks with clotrimazole 1% solution. Mycological cure and disappearance of signs and symptoms were similar at each assessment visit in the two groups. In the subgroup of patients without any protocol violation the mycological cure rate was 95% (164 of 173) with terbinafine solution and 91% (159 of 174) with clotrimazole solution (P = 0.05). Adverse events believed to be drug-related occurred in 13 patients in the terbinafine group and 11 in the clotrimazole group (4 to 5% in each group). The events were primarily local skin reactions of mild to moderate intensity. It can be concluded that terbinafine 1% solution used for 1 week to treat tinea pedis is well tolerated and at least as effective as clotrimazole 1% solution used for 4 weeks.