You know, work shoes are kind of a mixed bag.
On the one hand, they totally make me feel ready to be productive. For real, just put me in a pair of heels and BOOM I’m totally ready to take over the world– or take on the next spreadsheet, idk, whichever comes first.
On the other hand, they’re super uncomfy. The material generally isn’t good for wicking away sweat. The edges almost always cut weirdly into your heels.
By the end of the day, all any of us want to do is kick them off, sigh happily, and go barefoot for the rest of forever.
Especially once we get a whiff of those shoes, because PHEW I knew I was working hard but dang! That sweaty foot funk really is rank!
It’s not just me, right? Oh, you too? Ya, it’s basically everybody with functional feet.
Work shoes and sweaty feet totally aren’t a perfect match, and it sucks, because how else am I supposed to achieve my dreams of Vader-level universe domination? I certainly can’t go about it with some plane-Jane Mary-Janes! That would be absolutely unacceptable.
But you want to know what’s also really unacceptable? The level of stink currently wafting up from your work shoes.
Smelly work shoes can come across as unprofessional, forgetful, or heck, even a little bit offensive. And you can't just give up and get a new pair of Gucci, because new shoes are just plain expensive.
Why go through all of that when you could just, oh I don’t know, completely deodorize your work shoes for good?
Wait, can we actually do that?
Yes, yes we can, and you'll be back to smelling fabulous and working your way up that career ladder in literally no time at all.
Don’t you worry, my dear, *slightly* smelly friend. We’ll save your work shoes and your dignity with ease with any one of these next steps.
1. DIY Activated Charcoal Packets
Ok so when you hear “charcoal” what is it that you think about? The dark, smudged end of a stick from a bonfire? Some really neat charcoal drawings? Charcoal ice cream (no joke– it’s a favorite flavor of a friend of mine)?
Charcoal is essentially something that’s been burned up into carbon, and is nature’s naturally awesome deodorizer. It is super porous, which is how it’s able to absorb any and all manners of smell.
Most modern activated charcoal is made by burning coconut husks, bamboo, peat, coal, or petroleum. Heating charcoal to a super high temperature and exposing it to oxygen helps said carbon develop all of those helpful pores that are going to help us out by absorbing the foot funk from your work shoes.
The process of superheating the carbon causes it to form these wee little microscopic holes, and then those new holes sort of push out and increase the overall surface area of the charcoal.
Activated charcoal as a finished product looks like a fine, black powder, and it’s used for a whole wide range of things. Some doctors use it to absorb toxins in the body (in small amounts). Some regular people say it can be used for water filtration.
Once again, some people say it makes for some pretty groovy ice cream-- I am not one of those people, but to each their own ice cream flavor, you know, as they always say.
Regardless of some people's highly questionable choices in ice cream shenanigans, we’re going to be using activated charcoal to fix your smelly work shoes.
So first things first– get yourself some small envelopes (they need to be able to fit inside of a shoe). Then you'll fill each envelope with about a teaspoon of activated charcoal.
Stick the envelopes into your shoes overnight, and in the morning your shoes should be work-ready again! Ta-dah! You may feel free to pretend to give me a high-five through the ethers of the internet.
Each envelope ought to last you 5 days to about a week, and if you’d like to extend its odor-absorbing life you can totally just leave it outside in the sun for a little bit, but be aware that even then these packets don’t exactly last forever. Thankfully though, they’re pretty easy to make, so no worries there.
2. Corn Starch
We can address the smelly work shoes, but we can also address the rank root of the pungent problem— the sweat on your feet.
Well, actually, the bacteria which eats your sweat (and dead skin cells on your feet, amongst other things). Those guys.
See, the bacteria is what smells. Your sweat itself is actually pretty odorless (I know, I know– that doesn’t help when smelly bacteria like to eat it).
Surprised? I mean, so was I, but now you know, and now you can make sure that the bacteria doesn’t win. I mean, we’re all about keeping our work shoes fabulous instead of funky, am I right?
But we’re going to sweat– it’s kind of a normal thing that you shouldn’t be embarrassed about. Lol, I'm totally not one of those people who "sparkles" or "glows" after physical exertion (or just like living). Maybe you feel? Sweat, and just the plain regular kind is sort of inescapable, and frankly, that's not a bad thing.
BUT we can try and absorb that sweat before the sweaty bacteria has a chance to get at it. Before we know it that stinky bacteria will be dead and gone, which rocks for the scent of your work shoes.
For this next shoe deodorizing option, take some corn starch and sprinkle it onto either your feet themselves or the socks. Both works, but there’s no need to go overboard here, ma’ friend. A little bit of cornstarch goes a long way-- just generally try to make sure the stinky surface in question is pretty much covered and dusted.
Throughout the day, if your feet and/or socks start to feel a bit sweaty you can totally feel free to reapply.
This all works because corn starch is super awesome at absorbing moisture, leaving your feet, shoes– the whole caboodle, basically- smelling amazing.
Alternatively, you can also sprinkle some cornstarch into your shoes and let it sit overnight to absorb any residual sweat leftover from the day.
Do ya’ still feel like nothing’s ever going to be able to do it for you and your especially funky work footwear? Do ya’ think that you might need something with a little more oomph?
Well this option certainly calls for a little more elbow grease!
You probably already take superb care when it comes to scrubbing your feet in the shower or bath, but just in case you don't, here are some tips for the wise (and those who want to be awesome-smelling).
Make sure you get soles and toes of your feet. Like REALLY make sure to scrub here.
All the extra skin cells, bacteria, etc. like to chill in the cracks on your skin. Believe it or not, all of your skin is literally riddled with teeny tiny grooves and canyons, and just a quick pass over your feet simply won’t cut it.
Try scrubbing your feet in gentle, circular motions– obvs we don’t want to go too roughly on your skin, but make sure to be thorough.
If you don’t get the chance to shower your whole lovely self every single day, at least make sure to give your feet a good scrub daily, because if you leave all of those leftover skin cells and bacteria to build dup (yikes) then you’re just basically setting you and your wonderful work shoes up for a smelly disaster.
If you really are feeling unsure if your regular regimen of foot scrubbing is simply too plebeian to match up against the spectacular funk wafting up from your footwear, perhaps try scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush to aid and abet in your endeavor to finally be able to show your face in the office without also showing off that sweaty stank.
But are any of these options quick, easy, and also effective? Can we possibly get that glorious trifecta for us and our pungent peds? Like pretty please with an extra sweet maraschino cherry on top?
Uh yep, don’t you worry your pretty little mind, because absolutely yes there’s an option that literally takes seconds, effectively combats shoe odor, and takes literally no time to prep (take that, stupid shoe smell).
LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Spray uses super high quality natural ingredients to combat the wack wafts from your shoes, and it’s also never ever tested on animals– for realz, this stuff is legit.
LUMI is a small, family-owned company that produces its super amazing products in the US, and a gazillion people on Amazon agree that their products effectively do the trick.
This lovely human talks about their accounting shoes being revived by LUMI’s Citrus Tea Spray–
If they and the other 2000+ people who’ve given the product a 4.4 average star rating on Amazon aren’t enough to convince you, maybe you ought to just try it and see for yourself?
The how-to lowdown is pretty simple: purchase LUMI, spray it directly into your shoes, and then smile because babe that’s it. You smell fabulous now. People are cheering. There are rainbows everywhere. A unicorn has come to replace your car. Is that a gospel choir I hear?
Having shoes that smell great is literally that amazing-- just trust me on this one, alright?
What’s truly awesome about LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Spray is that it works for literally anything. Stinky bathroom? Spritz? Or a supes annoying little cousin who just got back from football practice? I mean, maybe… maybe not. Yes, best not on that one. But if there are weird smells coming from the kitchen? Maybe the latest TikTok cooking trend has gone awry? Totally feel free to spray away.
Or if you’ve got some work shoes that aren’t fit for work anymore because of the funk?
LUMI totally has got the strength to do it all.
Speaking of all, that’s all I’ve got for y’all at the moment. Four little hacks to fix your smelly work shoes for good. And I mean it– like for good.
Maybe in conjunction with one another, or maybe just one of these on its own is going to work for you– I pinkie promise ma’ dude, your stinky shoe days at work are officially coming to a close.
Let’s run through the four options again, because if you’re like me, you have the attention span of half of a hamster, so a quick little summary is totally needed for any semblance of retention.
Numero uno is going to be our beloved homemade charcoal shoe deodorizer. Stick about a teaspoon’s worth of activated charcoal into an envelope and then stick that envelope into your shoe overnight.
Hey real quick– do NOT stick the activated charcoal straight into your shoes without the envelope, because this stuff stains and is like super hard to get out. Just a note to the weary.
After the activated charcoal we’ve got ourselves the second option of corn starch. Whether you decide to dust your feet, your socks, or even the shoes themselves, this stuff is bound to take care of your work shoes easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.
Or if that one’s a little too easy for you, option number three is scrubbing your feet and taking extra care to actually do it right on a consistent basis by getting the toes, the heel, and literally anywhere the bad-smelling bacteria might be lurking on your feet.
Forget smelly shoes, because with consistent practice of this one will make the wack wafts from your work shoes a thing of the past.
And then of course there’s LUMI! Their Citrus Tea Tree Spray shoe deodorizer can totally fix your smelly work shoes. Quickly give your work shoes a spritz, and say sayonara to the stank!
And that’s it! I’d say you’re prepared to take on anything, from smelly shoes, to Excel spreadsheets at work, to answering emails from the crew at the office. Whatever you need to do, your shoes will smell fabulous, ma’ (previously) funky friend :)