How to avoid having stinky shoes?

Shoes have a tough life. They are openly exposed to everything that comes your way on the move. You may not always feel the dirt, damp, sweat, and heat that they go through. In the course of carrying your feet through different conditions, they get in contact with stinky bacteria and the road-side filth where they catch stench from.

However, it’s not just going out into the mud and muck that gets you stinky shoes, as your foot odor is also an equally culpable culprit here. And this is something your shoe has no way to skip and evade.

The smell is bound to take over your shoes and make them get all grossed if you don’t take proper measures to fight the stink back.

Before we begin, the most asked question is, how do I know if I have sweaty feet? For leather shoes, one of the ways to find out is to see if it gets too warm when you wear your shoes, so much so that it causes you to frequently have blisters or abrasions. The other is the formation of white bloom. It is nothing harmful, as it is the natural oxidation of leather, but it makes it unpleasant (and not very pretty), to have that white haze on the sock lining of your precious leather shoes. But just so you know, it is not only about whether your feet are sweaty, the humid weather does have an effect too in making your shoes stinkier than those worn in a cooler and less humid climate. 

So, let's cut to the chase and get down to business on how you can get your shoes free from the noxious and embarrassing condition that it gets you in.  Let's get your shoes free from reek, once and for all!

  1. Prevention

The first rule to get you free from smelly shoes is to keep them away from any kind of stench. Just avoid getting them into muck. Follow the best hygiene practices for your feet. Give them solid scrub to get rid of foul odor. Wear moisture-wicking socks (but best not to use with heels, it may get too slippery causing your feet to slip forward and causing pressure on your toes). Once you get back home from active outdoors or intense training, soap up your shoes and let them see some sunlight. If the shoes are not washable, set them free in the open air. This deters bacteria growth and gets them the fresh life back. So, if you do have sweaty feet, remember to alternate the wear of your leather shoes, and allow for proper ventilation by air-drying them after you’ve worn them.  

  1. Scare away the bacteria

Your shoes are breeding ground for bacteria. If not sanitized and cleaned properly and timely, the fast multiplying bacteria can get their condition worst. To blast the bacteria in your shoes, use rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol). Ensure that you do a spot test first. These are best at killing bacteria and offing the fungi. As you do this, give them 30 minutes to air-dry to get them back to normal conditions. These hacks work well in any conditions!

  1. De-stink the funk (works best for non-leather shoes)

Bacteria leave a deep stench in the shoes they live in. Even when they are gone, the soaked secretions and wastes in the shoe pores remain there and make the shoe stink. To prevent your shoes from smelling bad you need to neutralize this. Here baking soda comes quite handy as a home remedy. It is a great de-stinking solution that works against malodorous acids quite effectively. All you need to do here is just dump them in your shoes and leave it overnight, and you’ll wake up to something fresh and beaming the next morning. However, we don't advise you using baking soda with your leather shoes as it may dry the natural moisture of the leather, causing it to split easily. But this works great for other non-leather shoes, especially for your sneakers or running shoes!

  1. Let them chill in a dry place

For your shoes to remain as fresh and odorless as you have them after applying the cleansing hacks, stow them in proper and ideal conditions. Store your shoes away from heat and moisture. Put them inside a shoe box or a unit that is placed in a cool and dry place.  Shoe brands will usually provide silica gels with their shoes, don’t throw them away! Place one pack in each side and stow them that way. If you have extras, just keep them in your shoe wardrobe. It works great as a dehumidifier, especially for those living in humid, tropical countries.

Silica Gels


those are just some of the tried and tested ways to combat foul stinks and keep your shoes in the best condition. Follow these as per the guide and you will have no complaints left with the odor of your shoes.