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12 Ways To Get Rid of Smelly Shoes Once and for All

There are a number of natural, potentially embarrassing issues you may have to deal with over the course of your lifetime. Body odor, bad breath, acne and hair loss all rank pretty high on this list in terms of both incidence and inconvenience. As does dealing with stinky feet and shoes. This particular issue is especially likely for active people who regularly play sports, exercise or spend all day in their shoes. Luckily, the problem of how to get rid of shoe odor has a number of effective and easy-to-implement answers.

What Causes Foot Odor?

Before we deal with how to get rid of shoe odor, it’s a good idea to understand what causes shoe odor to occur in the first place. From here, preventing those causes will put you in control of ensuring you never have to experience any unpleasant in-shoe stink ever again. One thing worth mentioning, and contrary to what many people believe, is that it’s not your odor-free sweat that actually smells bad.

Stinky shoes and feet are actually the results of a natural process that occurs when sweat and shed skin are broken down by bacteria. As bacteria feed on these food sources, which are particularly present in the shoes, socks and on the skin of people who work out or naturally sweat more, they produce a byproduct in the form of an unpleasant, potentially embarrassing odor. This unpleasantness can become worse and more ingrained within your clothing and shoes over time if not dealt with.

How To Prevent Shoe Odor

At a basic level, you may find it easier to think about foot and shoe odor as a simple equation. That is, bacteria + sweat/shed skin = unpleasant odors. This means the problem of how to prevent shoe odor involves removing either bacteria, sweat and shed skin or both.

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When it comes to dealing with the bacteria in your shoes and on your skin, there are a number of creams, sprays and powders which work to fight against and prevent its growth. This means there will be less, if any, to produce the unpleasant odors.

Sweat and sweat build-ups can be countered by using a number of moisture-absorbing products. This includes a number of made-for-purpose options, like an antiperspirant, or even some powders you may already have lying around the house, such as baking soda or baby powder. Another way to keep sweat under control is to ensure you wash your feet regularly, change your socks daily and wash your shoes on a bi-weekly basis.

How To Get Rid of Shoe Odor

If your shoes already possess an underlying stinky scent that doesn’t seem to budge, there are a number of things you can try to get rid of shoe odor. From a purely practical point of view, washing them, freezing them and airing them out can be a good place to start. Afterward, introduce one of the wide range of products that can be used for both masking the smell in the short term and eventually removing the smell from its source. The best answers for how to get rid of shoe odor include:

  • In-shoe balls
  • Shoe inserts
  • Sprays
  • Powders
  • UV lights
  • Shoe dryers
  • Antiperspirants

Additionally, in some less common cases, it is possible bad foot and shoe odors are caused by a more serious issue like a fungal infection or a disease. If you feel like you’ve tried everything to get rid of your shoe odor and nothing seems to be working, you may benefit from a visit to a specialist or medical professional.

Below you’ll find 12 easy ways to help beat that odor for good. These effective methods are all well-reviewed by users online and are safe to use on even your fanciest footwear and sometimes on your feet, too. Read on to find the right answer for you.


1. Sof Sole Sneaker Balls


These Sof Sole Sneaker Balls take the number one spot because they’re just so darn convenient. Of course, they deal with unpleasant odors when placed inside your stinky shoes. But these little, stink-fighting balls are also easy to transport and store, can be closed when not in use and are available for a budget-friendly price. The odor-fighting power inside each 1.5-inch ball can last up to six months while the range of fun available designs means it’s easier to encourage kids to use them, too. Furthermore, these popular sneaker balls, which have received over 6,000 five-star ratings, can be used in other places which may smell bad, such as a gym bag, a locker or a closet drawer.

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2. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda


If you don’t have time to grab one of the made-for-purpose products and need an answer you may already have in your home, use baking soda. Baking soda is a truly versatile product when it comes to cleaning and baking tasks. In this case, it’s capable of dealing with bacteria build-ups and unwanted odors in your shoes, socks and even on your feet. Simply sprinkle a little bit inside your shoes to absorb any excess moisture, fight bacteria growth and take care of the odor. Don’t have any baking soda in your cupboards? Try this Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. When it comes to learning how to get rid of shoe odor, it’s hard to beat Arm & Hammer.

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3. Odor-Eaters Heavy Duty Cushion Insoles


This two-pack of Odor-Eaters Heavy Duty Cushion Insoles provides you with all-day protection from stinky shoes. Simply trim each insole to fit inside your shoes and enjoy a reliable barrier against wetness and odors. Inside each insole, you’ll find several different shoe odor-fighting elements, including super-activated charcoal, baking soda, zinc oxide and two powerful odor-blockers. In addition, there’s a layer of breathable, heavy-duty cushioning to ensure your feet remain comfortable throughout the day.

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4. Dr. Scholl’s Probiotic Foot Spray


Dr. Scholl’s Probiotic Foot Spray is a tried-and-tested way to cut foot odor off at the source. This popular foot spray comes backed by more than 6,500 five-star ratings and works as soon as it’s applied, eliminating foot odor and replacing it with a pleasant smell. These pleasant aromas come from the included peppermint oil, lavender oil and eucalyptus. Additionally, regular application of this probiotic foot spray cools, refreshes and soothes your feet while ensuring foot odor will never be a problem you have to deal with again.

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5. Odor-Eaters Foot Scrub


This Odor-Eaters Foot Scrub is another answer to dealing with the causes of foot odor before they even have a chance. Inside this scrub, users will find a mix of activated charcoal, baking soda, tea tree oil and two exfoliants which destroy any existing odors as well as prevent any from starting. The exfoliants in the scrub loosen and remove dead skin and odor-causing bacteria while impurities and odors are absorbed by the baking soda and activated charcoal. Finally, sweat, dirt and oil are cleared away by the cleansers and tea tree oil to leave you with refreshed, fresh-smelling feet.

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6. FunkAway Odor Eliminator Spray


With over 7,500 five-star ratings from Amazon customers who love it, this reliable and versatile FunkAway Odor Eliminator Spray is definitely worth your consideration when it comes to how to get rid of shoe odor. But, this spray isn’t just for shoes. It can be used on a range of odor-affected items like clothing, yoga mats, car interiors, work gear, trash cans and car interiors. Rather than masking odors, like some competing sprays, it stops odors at the source, breaking them down and eliminating them. Furthermore, FunkAway produces a whole range of odor-eliminating products to choose from, including a laundry booster, beads and a travel-size spray.

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7. NonScents Shoe Deodorizer


These NonScents Shoe Deodorizers are another versatile way to deal with persistent shoe odor. From sneakers and gym bags to lockers and sports gear, these fragrance-free, self-contained bags can be used in a range of places and fight smells at the molecular level. Each set comes with two odor fighters, making them ideal for placing inside your shoes when they aren’t on your feet. This liquid-free method also makes them great for fighting odors on the go, while their long-lasting makeup gives you up to six months of protection.

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8. Foot Sense Natural Foot and Shoe Odor Eliminator


Choosing a reliable odor-fighting powder, like this Foot Sense Natural Foot and Shoe Odor Eliminator, is an easy way to give your footwear fast-acting, long-lasting protection from any potential stink. The powder is formulated using all-natural ingredients, including zinc oxide, lemon powder, lavender essential oil, arrowroot powder and cinnamon bark powder, to naturally neutralize bad smells and replace them with a fresh, appealing scent. To get the best results, apply a light covering to the inside of your shoes once a day for a week, then apply it further whenever it is needed. Handily, this eliminator is supplied in a twist-top, shaker bottle for easier distribution and storage.

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9. Carpe Antiperspirant Foot Lotion


As mentioned above, a reliable approach to preventing shoe odor is to minimize the amount your feet sweat and prevent sweat buildups. This Carpe Antiperspirant Foot Lotion helps you achieve that goal through topical application which stops sweaty, smelly feet and may also help prevent blisters. The twice-daily cream comes backed by more than 5,000 five-star ratings and features a quick-drying, non-greasy formula that also absorbs surrounding sweat at the same time.

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10. Lumi Outdoors Shoe Deodorizer Spray & Odor Eliminator


If you like keeping things natural and want a way to get rid of shoe odor to match this line of thinking, try this Lumi Outdoors Shoe Deodorizer Spray & Odor Eliminator. The popular product comes backed by more than 12,000 five-star ratings and includes lemongrass, peppermint, tea tree and eucalyptus in the formula, making it one of the most pleasant-smelling answers on our list. The all-natural makeup also means it’s a great option for kids’ shoes and clothes. In addition, each bottle of this USA-made product provides approximately 700 sprays per bottle, ensuring you get plenty of use from every purchase.

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11. Rocket Pure Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray & Foot Spray


Thanks to its compact size and near-instant action, this Rocket Pure Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray & Foot Spray is ideal for on-the-go treatment of stinky shoe odors. Simply throw it in your gym bag or travel case and you’ll have a fast-acting, long-lasting way to deal with unpleasant odors. Natural ingredients in the formula include tea tree, eucalyptus, thyme and mint, giving it an appealing smell you’ll actually enjoy. Handily, this USA-made product can also be applied directly to your feet and every bottle delivers up to 700 sprays, giving users better value for money when compared with a number of its competitors.

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12. Glovestix StankStix Shoe Deodorizer


Thanks to its smart design, this Glovestix StankStix Shoe Deodorizer is particularly well suited to users who often misplace items or prefer choosing products with replaceable parts. To help prevent you from losing one of the in-shoe, odor-fighting tubes, they come joined by a brightly colored handle. Inside the two sticks, you’ll find a moisture-absorbing bag that fights odors and can be easily replaced when its odor-fighting action has run out. These bags are also lightly scented with plant-based essential oils to create a more appealing in-shoe environment. This deodorizer is a great option for athletes who need a reliable way to keep their sports shoe odor at bay.

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