Have you ever walked into a place and crinkled your nose up because MAN ALIVE does it stink! Like something died, was microwaved, and then left to just hang out in a sewer. Perhaps you give your head a little shake and think to yourself, Dang, *someone* here has some serious B.O.
Glad it’s not me…
And then you give that last whiff some serious consideration. It does smell familiar, just a little bit like– erm, kind of like you…
There’s no mistaking it. It IS you.
The person who was absent-minded enough to force everyone within smelling vicinity to get a whiff of the horrid shoe smell.
The utter buffoon who was absent-minded enough to forget to do something about deodorizing their shoes beforehand.
Wait, you can do that?
Do you ever feel like everybody else has it figured out? Like they somehow or another have a deep and thorough understanding of what simply must be witchcraft and wizardry (because believe me, sometimes it seems like only magic will ever place a dent in those rancid runners).
What does everyone else know about fixing smelly shoes that you don’t?
They’ve got a few simple tricks up their sleeve (or up their shoes, I suppose). Wee little tricks that can fix the funky footwear for good.
Am I telling you that yes, in fact, one can and should fix their smelly shoes before it becomes an embarrassment? Is there even a way to do that? Is it even legal to do something so amazing?
Uh yeah, thank me at the end of the article, ‘cause not only is there a way– there are SEVEN!!
1. Store your shoes outside in the sunlight
We all feel better in the sun. Unless you’re the smelly bacteria slumming it in sneakers. Right, did I mention?
Alrighty, some science 101 for y’all: Smelly Shoes Edition. Foot funk is caused not by our sweaty shoes, but by bacteria that eat our sweat, then fart, and then that’s what we smell. Your sweat on its own is actually pretty odorless (figures, am I right?). That’s literally it, class dismissed, you all get 100%, and my favorites get a gold star.
So in order to prevent smelly shoes like a pro (*read* you), then you ought to be inclined to wage war against the pungent little jerks.
How does one do that, you might ask?
Sunshine, sunshine, and more sunshine. At least for this step.
Too much sun gives us a good tan, but for bad-smelling bacteria too much sun is apt to be a little deadly.
In order to prevent smelly shoes, we want to make sure that there aren't a ton of bacteria thriving and jiving in your shoes, and if the majority of them get roasted after hanging outside, then all the better.
Since sunshine kills the bacteria, simply store your smelly sneakers outside, if at all possible. That time outside won’t amount to perfect bacteria-growing conditions, and BOOM! Your shoes will be smelling great in no time at all.
If you happen to live in a rainy part of the world (so sorry by the way), then perhaps you could try storing your shoes in a particularly sunny patch of your residence. It couldn’t hurt! The bacteria loves damp environments, so drying out the suckers is literally key.
Leave the shoes outside in the sun, and absolutely by no means should you take any quarter!
2. Keep shoes in rotation (avoid wearing the same pair two days in a row)
Now I know we all have our own very favorite set of shoes. I myself was quite fond of some black Nike sneakers way back in the day, and refused to believe that any other set of sneakers could compare. They made it for years, eventually turning gray, surviving everything from middle school P.E. (horror upon sweaty horrors) to a food fight (those stains do NOT come out by the way).
The problem with hanging on so tightly to one set of shoes is that the bacteria do as well-- yeah, they can get a little clingy.
To cut to the chase (and this may seem obvious), the more you wear a set of shoes, the more sweat will gather and collect (yikes). Soon the bacteria will be having an absolute party in your footwear, gobbling up all that positively delectable leftover sweat.
Then the bacteria will start to produce stink en masse and it’ll feel like the actual end of the world, and you’ll likely start to have the inclination to chuck your shoes, beloved as they might be, straight into the garbage, no questions asked.
But seriously, just switch your shoes out. Give the well-loved booties a little long weekend, and rotate your shoes.
Cycle between 2-3 sets of shoes throughout the week, and you’ll be depriving the bacteria of their food source (aka your sweat).
Deprive ‘em of the sweat, and you’ll have no stink!
Also you’ll get the chance to show off your incredible sense of fashion with more than just the one pair of (slightly grunge) set of shoes. Win-win all around, I’d say.
3. Slip out the inner soles
Okay, maybe you don’t have a very large shoe budget. I get it, having multiple sets of shoes can kind of seem like a lot if your only goal is to avoid the problem of smelly sneakers. We’ll put a pin in that, and save the 100-shoe closet dream for another day.
If you’re bent on sticking to a mere one set of shoes, maximum, then might I suggest that you at least switch out the soles?
It’s that little bit of fabric between your feet and the rest of the shoe and, believe it or not, they’re replaceable.
Replacements are easy to find, and can be bought in bulk for all of your smell-defying needs.
You can either rotate between several soles throughout the week (and keep bacteria from ever really getting a grip on your shoes) OR you could also just stick with the same sole until it’s so solidly stinky that you have no recourse other than to chuck it into the garbage with all due haste.
Either or works just fine. Multiple soles might be a bit pricier, but one sole followed by one replacement will also likely get smellier in a shorter period of time. Take your pick. Pros and cons to ‘em all.
Switching out the soles of your shoes can be a regular thing, or just until the rest of the shoe wears a little thin. Shoes really can last a whole lot longer if we just do proper maintenance on them– I pinkie promise that every single one of your friends with a nose will thank you.
4. Routinely clean shoes if machine-washable
Speaking of proper maintenance for your footwear, if it’s an option, you also can have the power to prevent shoe funk with your washing machine.
Many shoes are actually machine-washable, although if you’re like most of us mere mortals, I’m sure your boots don’t regularly make it in with the rest of your dirty clothes on laundry day, but maybe it’s time to change that!
Check out the tags on the inside of your shoes (if you haven’t already cut it off, that is), and figure out whether your shoes would survive a trip through the wash. This usually means your tennis shoes, some boots, and quite possibly some of your nicer sets of footwear.
Note, however, that there are plenty of more delicate materials which will totally and most absolutely wimp out the moment you start the machine, and if you’re not careful you’ll end up with one less set of smelly shoes to worry about; I guess things could be worse?
If your shoes are washable via machine, feel free to stick them in a pillowcase or something similar in order to take the kick out of your rad runners (we want to take out the bacteria, not your laundry machine).
Also think about air drying your shoes after the trip through the suds (the heat from the dryer is likely to melt any plastic in the material of your shoes). As we chit-chatted about earlier, storing shoes in the sun is an absolutely fabulous move on your part. Dry the shoes, and totally get rid of any bacteria that had the guts to survive the washing machine!
5. Wear Clean Socks
Are your shoes not machine-washable? *cue our dramatic meltdown*
Um, yeah, it kind of seems like most of the extra cute and trendy ones aren’t, which really, quite tragically, sucks. Can’t a fashionista look cute and not smell like a deceased skunk?
Yeah it’s absolutely possible, don’t you worry, nor would I suggest that you fret.
First things first, dear reader– your socks. Take a good look at them. Are they clean? At least decently passable?
No worries if they're not, because at the end of the day, everybody’s socks aren’t their best, and most sweat-free selves. That’s totally okay, though.
For real, just make sure that you’re switching out your smelly socks for some fresh ones as soon as you notice that they’ve gotten a wee bit sweaty. Remember, the more sweat that we provide the bacteria, the stinkier we get.
Socks hold on to moisture easily, unfortunately, which means that we’ve kind of got to be on our guard at all times. If it’s a hot day, or maybe your workout was really amazing, then your socks are going to be a little bit on the soggy side.
Just pull on a fresh pair, and you’re set! New socks, new (better-smelling) you.
And if you want to be extra weary, take into account that your present repository of socks may or may not be the highest caliber.
Moisture-wicking socks, ma’ dude. That’s all you need to stop sweat-loving bacteria in their tracks.
Switch out part-way through the day. Maybe make sure that you always have a fresh set of socks ready before slipping on your shoes.
Socks can absolutely either be a culprit or a helping hand! Prep some, and you get to decide.
6. Wash feet thoroughly (soles and toes)
If your smelly shoes are still giving you troubles we can go right to the source of the malodorous matter– your feet themselves.
Now, I know we’ve already sort of reviewed how it’s not really your feet which are the pungent producers of foot funk, but yeah, not to burst your bubble or anything, it’s your feet that produce the sweat (*gasps*), and we want to make sure that they’re in the clear. Serve an eviction notice to any and all bacteria which dare reside on your lovely personage.
When you next wash your feet make sure to pay extra attention to the soles and also in between the toes. All the nooks and crannies of the feet need to be scrubbed extra thoroughly each time– any crevices are places that the bacteria like to chill, and we’re not all about that.
Something which we are all about, however, is also making sure that the solution is a long-lasting one. Make sure that your feet are completely (and I mean this most literally) dry. This is particularly important if you have plans to put on socks and/or shoes soon after your shower, because that would effectually trap all the moisture in with the bacteria, giving them access to a moist environment in which they might be able to live their best and most pungent lives. Not great.
Clean-smelling feet are freshly scrubbed and dry feet! That’s just the fact of the matter, and if we want to beat back the foot funk, it’s gotta start with the feet.
And if none of the previous six are cutting it, there’s still a fast-acting solution for any and all people who want to clear out their foot funk asap. LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer works quickly, and it’s actually effective.
Say goodbye to the sour punch of your sweaty shoes and HELLO to the sweet smell of citrus. Just spritz this odor eliminator right into your shoes, and you’re done! That’s it! Take a victory lap (in your citrus-smelling shoes), because you’ve done it– you’ve conquered your smelly shoes once and for all and everybody is here for it.
You’ve got 700+ sprays in one measly bottle (legitimately). Inside, there’s only the highest quality of essential odors to help you take care of foot funk for good. LUMI is never tested on animals, is made in the United States, and is also a proud small family business to boot. Wowza.
Maintenance sprays each time you take off your shoes ought to send the foot funk packing before you can say “Wait, is it me?”
LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer has a 4.4 Star Rating on Amazon (heck to the freakin’ yeah) and over 1,000 5 Star Ratings on top of that (so it’s not just me who thinks this product is amazing– it's a whole looooooot of people who think it works).
There’s totally no need to be embarrassed about the gag-worthy sweat funk constantly wafting up from your shoes any longer. LUMI can absolutely take care of the problem for you, dear reader.
Let’s round up what we’ve suggested, shall we? How a sharp person takes care of their smelly shoes problem without having to simply chuck ‘em into the nearest garbage bin (or quite possibly the nearest suitably large open flame– I mean have you even smelled your feet lately?).
For option numero uno, we’ve got sunlight. Literally, nature itself is going to conquer your smelly shoes! Store your shoes outside in a sunny space, and leave the bad-smelling bacteria to dry out.
Our second option of shoe rotation also is all for drying your shoes out. It's dry shoes, clean shoes! Or you could simply rotate the soles of your pungent peds (replacing as needed, of course) in order to feel free from the funk.
There’s the washing machine for the brave of heart and the sturdy of shoe. I mean, if you’re brave of heart you could additionally and most totally try any of the other options, like there’s no judgment here. Then clean socks work simple wonders, and so does the average but careful washing of feet.
If none of that stuff works, or maybe you just want a really simple way to deodorize your shoes, try out LUMI’S Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer, and see for yourself how quickly you can eliminate odor for good, and go back to enjoying life without the foot funk– seriously, this stuff works.
Smart peeps know that smelly feet just aren’t for the win, and there’s no way they’re going to be waiting about for the problem to solve itself. Try one of these methods, or take a combination out for a spin, and see just how quickly you can deodorize your own shoes!