5 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Running Shoe Odor

5 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Running Shoe Odor

July 04, 2022

I’ve recently tried to get into running and working out more. I know that New Year’s was literally almost half a year ago, but I figure that the time of year for new resolutions can’t matter all too much. A 6-pack is a 6-pack, and who cares if it’s late, you feel?

 

Here are some young whippersnappers running-- they look way happier than I ever did in gym class, and also, like why the heck does the lighting look so good? Anybody who would have take a picture of me during my middle school PE class would have been shocked and horrified by my ragged troll-like appearance.

 

Frankly, however, I haven’t done much working out since my middle school P.E. teacher forced us all to run a mile everyday, rain or shine (unless the storm had a name, we ran), high pollen-count or no (a moment of silence for the poor kids with bad allergies), and with the amount of gusto most 12 year-olds can muster up for gym class– that is to say, none, unless you were a part of that one group of kids who somehow or another didn’t seem to mind the seemingly endless marathons.

 

So I took to Google, and tried to figure out the basics. Running tips for those weary of athletics. The secret sauce to the aforementioned six-pack, if you will (I’ve got big goals, alright?). 

 

To condense it, there was a lot I already knew (you just got to actually get out there and run, for starters. Awful, I know), yet there was also an actual butt-ton which was a complete and utter mystery to me until I looked more into it (first thing being, "How the heck do I actually make myself run?"). There was honestly a lot out there that surprised me.

 

Like for instance, did you know that apparently your running shoes can start to stink after just a couple of measly runs? Our socks and feet get washed all the time, but our shoes? They literally never get washed, unless you count that one time it rained while you were out jogging. For you and your smelly sneakers, it’s a perfect recipe for disaster.

 

And, most dear reader, I am prepared to share with you the tips, secrets, and corny jokes for success when it comes to getting rid of your athletic footwear funk for good. Let me save you all the trouble for researching how to deodorize your running shoes, because I’ve already done that, and run whilst smelling lovely, thank you very much. 

 

You can totally be fit and forget the funk, my friend!

 

 

1. Rotation

So many fabulous shoes, and only two feet to where them-- it's a good thing you'e going to try rotating them to try and combat your foot funk, am I right?

 

I get it– we all have that one beloved pair of tennis shoes which seems to work for just about everything. Who knows their age? For all we know, they very well may be the self-same shoes that were used in gym class.

 

In order to deodorize your rank runners, you might want to give some thought to rotating them.

 

Here’s the thing– your feet sweat when you work out (and just like generally throughout the day as well). That moisture and the heat from your body lead to absolutely perfect conditions for bacteria to thrive in. That bacteria, and NOT your own sweat is what smells like old cheese left in the back of the fridge for way too long (is it supposed to be blue and hairy?).

 

Like we talked about earlier– your socks and feet are washed and sanitized pretty frequently, but your shoes (if you’re anything like me) are just chucked by the door when you get home, and the bacteria is left to just keep growing and multiplying.  

 

Yikes, but at least you’re not alone– we all sweat, and we all have gotten stinky feet at one point or another. 

 

BUT if we want to get rid of the foot smell, we have to get rid of the bacteria’s perfect habitat– AKA warm and moist environments.

 

This can get difficult when you wear your favorite running shoes literally all the time, so perhaps you could pick a second, or even a third set of shoes that would be suitable for whatever jogging, running, or general slogging (that last one is me) you may happen to want to try.

 

After drying out and being deprived of your sweaty feet for a little bit (try at least a day or two), the bacteria should have lost some of its potent punch. In the meantime, try out another set of shoes! Who knows? Maybe you’ll have a new fave!

 

Or maybe you’ll go back to adoring your preferred tattered tennies, but like no judgment here dude, because same though.

 

2. Silica Gel Sachets 

A silica gel packet-- iow, NOT the next bite of beef jerky that you were reaching for, but hey, at least, it's good for your shoes (and our noses, thank you very much)

 

But if you want to stick to your one set of shoes (and avoid filling up the shoe closet with all of the budget-breaking doubles) then we’ve got a few more ideas that could work. 

 

You know those silica gel sachets that you find in shoes and food sometimes? The really annoying ones that you accidentally grab when really you just want the next stick of beef jerky? DON’T THROW THOSE SUCKERS OUT! They’re actually really kind of useful, I pinkie-promise.

 

So do you remember that bacteria? The kind that loves our sweaty runner’s shoes? Those guys are acidic (the isovaleric kind of acidic, if you were curious), which means that we’ve got to come up with some basic solutions. 

 

No, I don’t mean “basic” like “easy.” Basic is just the opposite of acidic on the pH scale (water is neutral, and everything else in the world is either acidic or basic). Basic items can neutralize acidic things, like the funky bacteria. 

 

Luckily enough it’s easy to find such basic items. The silica gel sachets are already handily packaged and ready to stow away in our stinky shoes. Just tuck at least one into each shoe, and let it sit for at least overnight, and then totally feel free to do this consistently (with new packets) to consistently neutralize the acidic bacteria.

 

The packets are also pretty shelf-stable, and you can just store them as you come across them in a jar or another small container until you need to use them. 

 

Another quick tip for success– if you can, place the silica gel packets inside of your shoes ASAP after you’re done running. The sooner the bacteria is neutralized the better. Seriously, we don’t want to give those guys any more time to multiply and smell up our shoes. Do the workout, and then break out this quick fix!

 

3. Baking Soda 

 Good for cookies, bad for bacteria (could baking powder get any more awesome?)

 

If you don’t really want to keep hoarding the silica gel packets (understandable) you can always just deodorize your running shoes with something that you’ve probs already got in the pantry.

 

Baking soda! Literally more basic than Barbie at Starbucks with a pumpkin frappe. 

 

Remember all of those vinegar and baking soda experiments that we used to concoct when we were kids? It would fizz and pop and we would feel like the smartest mad lads to ever grace the science lab? 

 

Good old-fashioned baking soda can react to the acidic bacteria in much the same way. Um… but like your tennis shoes won’t sizzle like your science fair’s vinegar volcano or  anything. The basic baking soda will just neutralize your smelly shoes, and then you can thank me for saving your (smelly) bacon.

 

Loosely sprinkle about a tablespoon or two into each shoe and shake it around (coating all of the surfaces on the insides of your shoes (so like the sole, the toes, the roof, etc). Let this all chill out overnight, and then give the shoes a good shake (outside or over a bin or something to get all of the baking soda before you go out and about in the shoes again.

 

Or, if you don’t want to have to deal with all of that loose baking soda in your shoes, you can pour the equivalent amount into a sock, use a rubber band to seal it tightly, and then stick the stink-neutralizing pouch into a shoe. Let sit overnight, just like the loose option, but you’ll just have to remove the pouches before you go off on another sprint.

 

4. Vinegar Foot Soak

This stuff smells weird, but it also fixes smelly shoes, so there's that

 

If you don’t have the baking soda component of your 4th grade science fair project (AKA “The Greatest Volcano Ever”) then perhaps you have the vinegar. 

 

Just a quick little recap– vinegar is acidic. So acidic, in fact, that it’s able to do a number on the bacteria living inside of your shoes. 

 

You could spray it directly onto your shoes, or dap it on gently with a rag, however, I’d like to focus on the root source here– in other words, your very own two feet.

 

I mean, like the bacteria on your feet, and what specifically makes your feet good hosts for them.

 

Your feet are like fantastically wonderful at incubating more and more smelly bacteria, which just generally sucks. Warmth from your body heat and moisture from your sweat (especially when you’re working out) are basically going to guarantee that you get yourself a healthy crop of the stinky suckers.

 

In order to neutralize the odor from your running shoes, try soaking your feet in a bowl of water with an added cup of vinegar. Give it about twenty minutes or so, and then simply rinse your feet off.

 

The vinegar will hopefully have killed off the majority of the bacteria, and your feet are ready to go.

 

Try this the moment you get back from running, as the longer you wait, the more time the bacteria has to really get going (and smelling) on your feet, which completely and totally sucks, so don’t procrastinate– like for real, go on and get it done ASAP, and rid yourself of the stinky suckers before they have a chance to make your quick jog a gag-worthy venture.

 

5. LUMI’S Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Spray

 

This is the last one I’m going to *run* by you (pun intended, most definitely). If none of those last ones appeal to you, or if you have tried them, and your rank runners is still enough to knock you out after your workout, then maybe try out LUMI’s Lemon Eucalyptus shoe spray.

 

LUMI’s Outdoors Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray & Odor Eliminator has over 18,000 reviews on Amazon, and averages a 4.4 star rating. It's also family-owned, produced in the US, and it also doesn’t test on animals (you can be impressed now, it’s alright).

 

An awesome review from an awesome dude

 

What’s also nice about this option is that it’s really quick to use. You can simply go for your run, not worry about really making sure you go all out (one might say, that when it comes to the shoe smell, you don’t have to “sweat it” ;) ), and then when you’re all done you just give the shoes a quick spritz and you’re done! 

 

LUMI’s Extra Strength Eucalyptus Lemongrass Outdoors Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray & Odor Eliminator uses high-quality natural ingredients to help combat the hardcore funk wafting up from your shoes. It may be a small business, but each tiny bottle lasts for up to 700+ uses! 

 

This product is maximum strength, and isn’t going to be giving any quarter to the free-loading bacteria hanging out on your feet and in your shoes. A few quick spritzes right after your run is all it takes for the shoes to smell fabulous.

 

And remember, the sooner you address the funk, the easier it is to get rid of it (although, if you remember later that totally works, I mean, this stuff seriously works on even the toughest and most smelly of sneakers),

 

Forget about the funk, and use LUMI to fix your smelly running shoes!

 

And that’s it! You’ve made it to the end! Congrats! Five freakin’ fantastic (and effective!) ways to neutralize smelly running shoes. Running is already kind of hard enough, and we totally don’t need the wack wafts to put a damper on it. 

 

Go on and start out with something simple, like rotating your shoes. Just every couple of runs or so, and switch them back out again for fresh feet again. 

 

See if you can put those silica gel packets to good use! I mean, if you’re normally just throwing them away (I’m totally guilty of that myself), then maybe you can find another purpose for them. 

 

Or you could simply go for the baking soda. Sprinkle it in or use a sock in order to absorb the odor before getting another run in.

 

A good soak with water and some vinegar makes your feet themselves inhospitable for the bacteria anyways, and will leave any bacteria running for mama before you head out on another run of your own.

 

And then there’s LUMI. Their Outdoors Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray & Odor Eliminator works to fight your foot odor so that you can just go and work out! Spritz it right into your runners, and enjoy something other than foot funk. 

 

Getting your sweat in is awesome, and I’m literally so proud of you. All of the applause for you and your awesomeness. Your commitment rocks and the payoff will totally be worth it all (*air-five through the internet*). Sweat away, as long as you just make sure that you remember a few of these effective shoe deodorizers:)