To say shoe odor can be embarrassing is an understatement. Having smelly shoes is bad enough, but the subsequent anxiety and shame surrounding taking my smelly shoes off was even worse. That being said, it’s pretty easy to get smelly shoes. Not many people, myself included, enjoy the art of “cleaning,” especially not their shoes, and opt-out of doing so. That’s understandable. Who wants to sit and carefully scrub shoes or jump through hoops finding solutions to get them clean and smelling fresh when you’re just going to wear them the next day, get them smelly, and do it all again?
That’s right, no one.
I felt the same way until I figured out that cleaning your smelly shoes does not have to be a challenging and time-consuming process, though. In fact, getting your shoes clean and smelling fresh can be as easy as taking out the trash. Here’s how I finally got rid of my shoe odor, and you can too.
Why do my shoes stink?
1. Find the why:
Before attempting to find the solution to any problem, it’s necessary to pinpoint why the problem is occurring in the first place. In the case of smelly shoes, I found that the source of shoe odor is generally due to sweat production on our feet. Our feet contain the most sweat glands per inch on our bodies. All this extra moisture in your shoes produce that horrible, cheesy/musty smell. As long as you have a basic understanding of the science behind it, then you’re one step closer to finding a lasting solution to shoe odor.
2. Ensure your shoes are dry:
This step is crucial. Our feet tend to produce more sweat than most other body parts. Our feet sweat levels also increase in warmer seasons or when we perform certain activities such as running, hiking, working out in the gym, etc. Not drying your shoes and leaving them sweaty can lead to mold and horrendous shoe odor. It’s, therefore, necessary to dry your shoes each time after you wear them. If your shoes are made of cotton or synthetic material and the soles aren’t gelled, or hard, you can simply pop them in the dryer once you remove them. However, if your shoes are made of leather or suede, you may want to try airdrying them before a fan or in a well-ventilated part of your home.
3. Apply shoe powder or a shoe deodorizer:
Now that you know why your shoes smell and you’ve thoroughly dried them, it’s time to seal the deal by using products that will tackle your shoe odor head-on. The two main products that genuinely worked for me were shoe powder and shoe deodorizers.
Shoe power is a fantastic solution to moisture or sweat-filled shoes. Most in-store shoe powders aren’t worth the purchase because they’re not very effective, and many also clump and stick to your feet, which can be very annoying. Some store-bought shoe powders can also irritate your skin. If you want a shoe powder that will remove moisture and thoroughly deodorize your shoes, you should try one that incorporates natural and effective ingredients that won’t harm your skin.
Here’s the one I tried:
Natural Foot Powder Deodorizer & Shoe Odor Eliminator
This potent, talc-free shoe powder works wonders fighting against sweat, moisture, and shoe odor. It’s made of ingredients that are great for your skin, too; kaolin clay, zinc oxide, and bentonite clay. This shoe powder is also easy to use, perfect if you don’t want to spend more than a minute on your smelly shoes. You can sprinkle this powder in your shoes after each wear or as needed. It contains antiperspirants that will combat sweat and fight shoe odor.
Check out this Amazon review:
Here are the shoe deodorizers I’ve tried:
Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer
This maximum strength shoe deodorizer smells fantastic. These properties make this deodorizer the perfect product to fight shoe odor and replace it with a far lovelier smell instead. This can be sprayed in your smelly shoes after each wear as required.
Check out this great Amazon review:
Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer
This is another excellent shoe deodorizer. Many deodorizers contain toxic ingredients that aren’t good for your home or the wider environment. Citrus, on the other hand, is great for naturally eliminating odor. The tea tree compliments the lemongrass perfectly, giving your shoes a fresh, clean smell. This can be used on an on-needed basis or whenever you take your shoes off. This can be used to deodorize your climbing shoes, running shoes, cleats, and even your house slippers!
Check out these reviews:
Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer
This is my personal favorite. Not only because of its excellent lavender fragrance but because it’s also a multipurpose deodorizer. Like the Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer and Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer, this deodorizer is made of potent essential oils to neutralize smelly shoe odor. This shoe deodorizer can also be used as a general odor eliminator for your entire home and because it’s so portable, even your car! Who doesn’t love a two for one?
Also, all products mentioned are cruelty-free.
Yes, shoe odor is a pain. However, once I educated myself on the causes of shoe odor and found some products that actually helped me, it was nothing short of life-changing. So don’t sell yourself short trying remedy after remedy when you can use these natural, safe, and effective products. Stop subjecting your friends, family, coworkers, and even your pets to shoe odor and surprise them with fresh shoes instead.
Feel free to share your shoe odor experiences below, and let us know if any of these recommended products worked for you!