Let’s face it, the last thing you want to be is the guy or girl known for having smelly shoes. In fact, when you take off your shoes, it’s better if people don’t notice. Unless of course, they are complimenting your shoes’ awesome color or shine. But face it, that horrified look your friends or significant other is shooting you lately should be enough of a red flag that maybe it’s time to deal with your stinky situation.
Luckily, smelly shoes aren’t a death sentence. In fact, there are many tools and at-home remedies using household products to help you get rid of the foul odor. Here at FootFitter, we compiled a list of our top five shoe deodorizer methods.
What causes smelly shoes?
To better understand how to prevent the issue in the future, it’s important to understand why your shoes are smelly in the first place.
Smelly shoes are usually a result of your feet not getting enough air. When your feet sweat under tight-fitting shoes, there is nowhere for the added perspiration to go. Understandably, all that added moisture isn’t the best thing for your feet to walk around in all day.
However, the trapped sweat itself isn’t the cause of the odor. Bacteria that feeds off sweaty feet causes the bad smell in your favorite running shoes or boots.
Other factors like exposing your shoes to harsh environments, wearing them too often or wearing poor-quality shoes can also lead to bad smells.
1) Dry your smelly shoes out.
Wet shoes are definitely a common culprit of bad smells. As if the sweat your feet naturally produces wasn’t bad enough, sloshing through rain or snow will not help your shoes in the scent department.
If you realize your smelly shoes problem is caused by added moisture from the elements, start by drying them out. Finding a sunny spot or other heated area will be beneficial for drying your shoes and reducing the spread of bacteria and therefore the smell.
2) Repurpose your dryer sheets.
Shoes are considered part of your wardrobe. With this in mind, don’t limit your dryer sheets to your clothes. While you may not actually throw your shoes in the dryer with the rest of your laundry, the scented towels are great at masking unfavorable scents.
This method is also really easy. Just ball up two dryer sheets and stick them in your shoes and wait for your results. A simple smell and touch test will reveal when the sheets soak up extra moisture and leave their pleasant scent behind.
3) Use cedar wood on smelly shoes.
With cedar’s distinguished, woody smell on your side, smelly shoes will be yesterday’s problem. Many products like insoles and stretchers utilize cedar wood for its fragrance and durability.
For instance, the FootFitter Sir James Cedar Shoe Tree with Split Toe helps shoes maintain their shape while fighting the smells of frequent use. The shoe tree’s texture also works well for absorption purposes.
4) Freeze the smell away.
When in doubt, freeze it out. While there is some debate over whether this is a temporary or permanent fix, there is evidence to suggest that exposing your shoes to cold temperatures will help kill bacteria and cancel bad smells.
If you are interested in the icy method, put your shoes in a plastic bag. Leave them in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. When you take them out, you should notice a change.
5) Try baking soda or vinegar.
Both baking soda and distilled white vinegar can be used to reduce odors. To start off, the powdery consistency of baking soda will harden over dampened areas when left in your shoes overnight. In addition, the ingredients in the product are also good at warding off fungus.
On the other hand, distilled white vinegar, when reduced with 50 percent water, is effective at rubbing out or spraying away bad smells. Applying the mix with a cotton ball or spray bottle will combat smelly shoes. Just allow the mixture to set and dry for 30 minutes.
How to prevent smelly shoes in the future
To reduce the chance of smelly shoes and feet, next time you are out shopping look for shoes with breathable features that are less likely to trap sweat. For maximum ventilation, leather sandals are a great option in the spring or summertime.
In addition, spending a little more on your shoe investment will most likely prove worth the price. The higher quality shoes also have a higher chance of battling bacteria-related problems and maintaining a classy look and scent.
Lastly, cleanse your feet with anti-bacterial soap. Once out of the shower, added moisture and smell relief can be gained through anti-fungal powders or creams. In addition, reach for wool socks or those with breathable fibers, avoiding thick socks on hot days.