How To Prevent Shoes From Smelling (Try These 8 Killer Tips! )


Few things are as embarrassing as going to a friend’s place, taking your shoes off, and realizing that your feet smell. Or even worse – you could be bringing that special someone over after a dinner date.

These incidents don’t make for an excellent first impression, right?

The worst part? At that point, it’s too late; you can’t do anything about it.

But hey, it’s understandable. Almost everyone’s been there at some point.

There’s a lot you can do to stop your shoes from smelling. I’m making it my mission to help you understand how to prevent that awkward foot stench from embarrassing you in the future!

How To Fight Shoe Stench

  1. What Causes Smelly Shoes?
  2. How To Prevent Smelly Shoes
  3. Best Home Remedies For Smelly Shoes

What Causes Smelly Shoes?

Man holding smelly sock

Closed spaces are a famous breeding ground for bacteria. Be it winter or summer, your feet are prone to sweat due to the lack of airflow in your shoes.

When wearing boots, sneakers or shoes – our feet get hot. They require a mechanism to cool off and, like the rest of our body, that mechanism is our sweat glands.

Due to evolution, human feet come with over 250,000 pre-installed sweat glands. That’s a lot, right?

Yeah, it is.

But as helpful as that is, it leads to some unpleasant situations, too.

smelly shoes and bacteria

Just like the rest of your body, sweaty feet encourage the growth of bacteria on your skin. That is, of course, due to moisture. The longer you go without washing your feet – or at least airing them out – the more bacteria starts to develop.

Once the bacteria has surfaced, it lives off the sweat on your feet.

Note: Do not use any of these “fun facts” as a conversation starter!

So, once all the bacteria starts living off of the sweat, they produce isovaleric acid. This acid is the culprit responsible for that heinous foot odor. Any untreated fungi you may have will only worsen the situation.

How To Prevent Smelly Shoes

There are many solutions to this common problem – and we’ll be going over a dozen of them below!

1. Wash Your Shoes Regularly

Sneakers being washed

Yes, this is an obvious one – but how often do you get caught up in work and forget about washing your shoes before it’s too late?

Most of you probably get home, take your shoes off and hit the shower – or simply lie down. The part about washing your shoes slips your mind, and understandably so. 

But taking note of how often you wash your favorite pair goes a long way – especially during the summer.

WARNING: Make sure your shoes are machine washable! Unlike sneakers, some dress shoes will be damaged by water. So do your research before washing your shoes. A quick rule of thumb – if it’s velvet or suede, keep the water away!

2. Use A Deodorant Or Antiperspirant

prevent smelly shoes with deodorant

There are hundreds of sprays available on the market – and they often do a pretty good job at stopping foot stench. They’re inexpensive, easily accessible, and work fast – what more could you want? 

3. Switch Out Your Insoles

smelly sneakers Insoles being replaced

Although medicated insoles might not be available to you, using a regular, store-bought insole could be a cheaper alternative. 

Get several pairs, switch them out regularly, and throw the used ones in the washing machine.

It’s all about keeping your feet on a clean, dry surface inside your shoe.

4. Buy Leather/Canvas Shoes

There’s a reason why leather shoes are expensive: 

They offer excellent quality and longevity, meaning you can count on them for years. But more importantly, these quality materials let your skin breathe!

Wearing shoes made from leather or canvas is a sure fire way to reduce your chances of experiencing chronic foot stench! 

5. Wear Socks With Closed-Toe Shoes

Man putting on shoes

Some of you are going to protest:

But it gets hot during the summer! Socks are unbearable!

That’s true. But not wearing any socks means your shoes will end up absorbing all the sweat.

If you struggle with socks in the hot weather, try ’no-show’ socks. This style of sock is designed to sit below the top of your shoe so it appears as though you’re not wearing any at all!

Best Home Remedies For Smelly Shoes

home remedies for smelly shoes

Now let’s look at some solutions for smelly shoes that you can apply straight away – with things you already have at home.

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is an all-rounder when it comes to home remedies.

If you’re in a pinch, put some in your shoes and spread it around. It will soak up any unpleasant smell reasonably quickly.

Baking soda simply neutralizes the smell and ensures your shoes stay fresher for longer.

2. Salt

Did you know that you can go ahead and do the same thing with salt?

It’s an equally simple solution – with similar results.

3. Baby Powder

baby powder on shoes

Baby powder is a good alternative if you don’t have any actual foot powder in your home. The only difference being that you should rub baby powder on your feet, not the shoes’ insoles.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

Alcohol’s an excellent option – not just for eradicating a nasty scent but Also for disinfecting your shoes.

Either rub some alcohol on the inside of your shoes or spray it everywhere. It’ll act as a natural deodorizer and disinfectant!

5. Black Tea Bags

As it turns out, black tea is more than just an excellent coffee alternative.

Black tea comes with tannins – and tannins are great for fighting viruses, bacteria, and fungi – all of the things that can contribute to the stench of your shoes!

6. Fresh Citrus Peels

Lemon peel on table

We’ve mentioned that baking soda only neutralizes nasty smells. But slicing a lemon, orange, or grapefruit and putting the peel inside your shoes not only helps to offset the odor but gives them a pleasant, fresh scent to go along, too.

Just make sure you take the lemon wedge out before putting your shoe on!

7. Put Your Shoes In The Freezer

The cold helps with slowing down bacterial development. 

That’s why your best winter dress boots stay odor-free much longer than your everyday summer shoes.

Since the cold is so beneficial, you can seal your shoes in a bag and put them in the freezer. It’ll keep the insoles and shoes fresh for longer.

8. Vinegar

Vinegar might not come to mind as a remedy for bad smells. After all, it has a sharp odor that pierces the nose.

But mixing it with water in equal parts and spraying it on your insoles helps with the smell. Just remember not to put your shoes on right away! 

Instead, allow them to air out a bit – preferably overnight. Everything should be smelling just fine in the morning.

Trust me; there are plenty of ways to combat smelly shoes

Prevention is always the best solution – but there’s still something you can do even in a pinch!

Speaking of smelling fresh – what’s the point in great smelling shoes if your body stinks up the place? Click here to discover the 10 mistakes most men make when showering!


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