When I was younger, I patently refused to have anything to do with athletics. The whole concept seemed rather aggressive, fairly sweaty, and rather unnecessary. Not even the tasty halftime snacks were enough to deter me from any kind of sport.
It wasn’t until my little brother decided that he wanted to try his hand (and foot) at soccer that I finally caved. Those of you who find themselves (fortunately or unfortunately) with younger siblings know the deal– anything they can do, ya’ kind of have to be better than they are. Whether it be sports, school, whatever-- us older children have to be the best. Heavy is the older head that bears the crown, am I right?
The minute I heard that he was going to be a part of a soccer team, I too had to find myself the nearest set of soccer shin guards, my very own (pink) ball, and a brand new set of cleats.
These shoes were flabbergasting to me. They added like an inch to my height. Their smooth, leathery material looked so different from my other shoes that I normally wore. Walking on concrete produced a most intense clacking noise, and to be honest, I sort of felt like Darth Vader stalking around in those things.
I mean you know what they say– if you give a kid a set of fabulously high-set shoes, they’ll want to conquer the galaxy. Forget about the mouse and the cookie, alright?
Anyway, what I didn’t expect was that with my new dive into soccer there’d also be a caustic funk to accompany my new set of shoes.
Why did my soccer cleats have to get so smelly? Who approved this message? Why wasn't I notified? Nobody mentioned that when I was simply trying to one up my younger brother in athletics that I’d also suddenly have feet that smelled like rancid blue cheese dressing.
I mean what gives!? Running around, kicking soccer balls, and getting knocked around by other players was already difficult enough, but then life had to go on and make my feet smell too!?
I sincerely wish I could help past-me out with that. Deodorizing soccer cleats actually really isn’t that difficult. In fact, there are actually a gazillion different options for you to try out.
Here, we’ll talk about just a few of them, and go over some of the many ways you can actually make your soccer cleats smell better for good.
1. Coffee in a Sock
I’m going to start out with what is likely the strangest one on this list. Dry coffee grounds act as a natural deodorizer, able to be used for a multitude of purposes.
A little science 101 for y'all-- coffee can help to neutralize odors because it has caffeine. Besides being able to help you wake up on the earliest of mornings, caffeine contains nitrogen, and it can result in a little something called “adsorption.”
No, no it’s not “absorption,” as in like absorbing your cleat’s stink. “Adsorption” is basically where a liquid or a gas (like your sweat and its stink) adheres (or sticks to) the surface of a solid material (like the coffee grounds). The liquid or gas sticks to the solid surface in a thin film, and ta-dah! No more stink.
Let’s run through that again– coffee has nitrogen, nitrogen makes the stink stick to the coffee.
For this to work, you’ll want to get some dry coffee grounds and put them into a sock. Tie off the open end with a rubber band or something similar, and stick the whole thing right on into your stinky cleat right after you’re done using it (the faster you can dry up the sweat in your shoes the better, so think like right after practice).
Obviously we're going to be doing this with both of your cleats (so you’ll be needing two coffee-stuffed socks), and then let everything sit overnight, or for as long as possible.
If you would like to do this more than once, simply make sure you use a fresh set of coffee grounds and socks. You may want to air the coffee smell out the soccer cleats afterward, but you’ll no longer have to deal with the sweaty funk!
2. Scented Dryer Sheets
If coffee isn’t your cup of tea, then grab some scented dryer sheets to fix your smelly cleats, because they’re totally good for more than making the rest of your clothing smell awesome.
Dryer sheets leave behind a smelly residue to help combat the nasty scents wafting up from your cleats. They also are able to absorb a bit of the solidly sweaty odor, which will leave your cleats fresh instead of funky.
What’s really fantastic about this option is how gentle it is on your shoes. Now, that’s not to say that the old dry coffee grounds in a sock are going to wreak havoc on your shoes, of course.
I mean really, though, we all sort of wish that we could just simply chuck the old cleats right on into the washing machine, am I right? The glaring problem with that is that the soccer cleats won’t make it to your next practice if you try that. Or your washer– your washer might not be the same after being kicked from the inside-out by your funky footwear.
But hey, at least your shoes wouldn’t smell anymore? That wouldn’t be *too terrible* of a tradeoff, now would it?
Whoever thought that hard plastic and metal would make for good shoe materials for a sport mostly played by children didn’t exactly think it through.
At least the dryer sheets that you usually use for laundry will work just fine!
To use dryer sheets to clean your stinky soccer cleats, tuck an unused sheet into each one, and leave it in overnight. Pretty simple. If you’d like to give the whole process a little extra help, you can feel free to wrap another dryer sheet around each cleat, and tie it tightly to the shoe with some string.
I know what you’re thinking about that last option. Scented dryer sheets? How the freakin’ heck is literal tissue paper supposed to even make a dent in my cleat’s funk?
Once again though, the problem here is that soccer cleats aren’t exactly, well, easy to clean. While the rest of our clothing gets cleaned pretty often via our average laundry routine (praise be to whomever invented the modern-day washing machine), shoes themselves deserve better than the kick in the pants whopper of a smell we’ve been serving ‘em.
I mean, when was the last time you gave your soccer cleats a little good ol’ fashioned TLC?
Hmm, what was that? Oh, are you saying that you’ve never thought to go ham on cleaning out your shoes? Even when they smell like a month’s worth of soccer practices and games? Seriously? For real!?
Because same here, ma’ dude.
If I had a trophy for every time I had thought about cleaning my stinky shoes, on the other hand... Ah, well now that would be a different story entirely. Seriously, I would be more decorated than any Rapinoe or Phelps out there! Alas, I can’t say that my, or frankly anyone’s inherently lazy nature tends to serve encouragement for scrubbing out our dear but smelly soccer cleats.
Oh my, did I say scrubbing? I actually meant that.
Ya, this one option will ask you to put in a little more elbow grease. Surely you, a seasoned, surely hardy and hale soccer player, are completely fine with that?
If you do decide to take the shot with this third shoe deodorizing option of ours, then get yourself a nice soft-bristled brush and some warm, sudsy water. Look for really gentle soap, and also make sure that the water itself isn’t boiling (we don’t want to take the paint off, alright? We're looking for clean shoes, not melted ones).
Scrub your little heart out (with care), and then once you’re finished with the hard part, carefully and thoroughly wipe away any residual soap off of the cleats.
DO NOT, and I repeat this once again for the dear people in the back, DO NOT SUBMERGE YOUR CLEATS UNDERWATER! This will make them prone to cracking after they dry. That would suck. A lot. Don’t do that.
Really, really, do not submerge your soccer cleats underwater. Skip on to the other options if you must, but your shoes ain’t flippers, got it?
Does this all sound like an actual butt-ton of work? I mean for real, whoever gets around to inventing soccer cleats that simply like repel the smell or something is absolutely going to be a gazillionaire.
I mean, I’m sweating just thinking about cleaning out the horror show that is my soccer cleats. Like, can their cleaning simply be my workout? Can we just forget this whole “soccer thing”?
*Wipes sweat off of my brow*
I mean for real, how do athletes do it all? Look great, and smell great!? I mean, I don't know about y'all, but I am but a simple, mere mortal who cannot, in fact, do it all. Terribly sorry for any inconvenience, I am. I'm just human, I guess. Oh, you too?
That’s totally alright, it's hard, I get that. With how much we worked out while actually playing soccer, we don’t want to have to put too much effort into cleaning up our shoes after the fact.
It’s a good thing that this last one is also the easiest one. I give you, smelly ladies, gents, athletes all around, a little something called LUMI.
Take a break with LUMI’s Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer. It’s a shoe spray made up of really high quality ingredients especially hand picked to score against your smelly shoes.
It uses witch hazel, Dutch lavender oil, tea tree oil, rosemary oil, alongside gluconolactone, sodium benzoate, calcium gluconate, with those last funny-sounding three items being, get this, paraben & formaldehyde-free ECOCERT compliant preservatives (I didn’t know what the heck that was either until I researched it, and it’s actually pretty cool– I mean who knew that so much bad junk could be found in most shoe deodorizers!?).
Any wack wafts from your soccer cleats won’t stand a chance, with 700+ sprays per bottle– and you only need a few to do the trick right after your game. Simply spritz directly into your cleats and you’re done! Boom!
The crowd goes wild with its cacophonous cheers! Enjoy scoring goals, and enjoy your fresh-smelling feet!
And I’m not the only one who thinks that LUMI is pretty cool. It has an average 4.4 star rating on Amazon and then a little over 800 5 star ratings (wowza). A Mr. “Dance Party Dan” has this to say on LUMI little lavender wonder:
Seriously, LUMI is effective, and will leave your soccer cleats smelling better than ever.
Or, you know what, maybe we should just all play soccer barefoot. That’s also an option. Forget the possibly smelly shoes, and embrace that all-natural alternative lifestyle.
On the other hand, there are some pretty swell stink remedy options out there if you’re pretty serious about soccer and about your soccer cleats (as you should be– I mean c'mon, those shoes are pricy as heck! Cleats don’t get discounted at the sporting goods store often, and ya’ got to keep the ones that you’ve got in excellent shape, as far as I'm concerned).
We’ve got coffee coffee grounds– use some to deodorize your shoes with the help of some (CLEAN) socks and then later use some to run extra fast on the field (totally not the same grounds– you need dry grounds for deodorizing the shoes, and, alright just so that we're clear, using sweaty soccer cleat coffee grounds is just gross, my most dear smelly reader).
Scented dryer sheets also work to help combat the soccer stank and can keep your cleats fresh and fabulous (just like you are– most of the time– I mean, you’re less fresh, I’m sure, after you scored that last goal, but darling you are always fabulous).
Then scrub away the stank if you really feel like your shoes need it (which they may-- no judgement here in the slightest). Goodness knows that my nose thinks most soccer cleats need some help, and ASAP, por favor. Suds it up and then scrub it down.
Or spritz LUMI’s Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer and be done with the whole pungent problem! Forget the funk, and live your best athletic life with absolutely amazingly smelling shoes!