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How to Stop Shoes from Smelling

20 May 2019

You know summer has truly begun when classrooms, offices and your home start to smell like feet. You can either accept the constant opening of windows as the new normal, or try and tackle this all too common but annoying problem. Here at ShoeInsoles.co.uk we are no strangers to smelly shoes, which is why we've prepared this short, three-step guide that first deals with the question why smelly shoes even occur, suggest how you can avoid it altogether and, lastly, help you discover what you can do to get rid of the smell once it's already present.

Why Do Shoes Smell?

The answer to this question is rather predictable – shoes begin to smell because your feet smell, and feet usually smell because of excess sweating. There are more sweat glands in human feet than anywhere else on the body, so if you spend most of your day in tight shoes, your feet are bound to sweat a lot. So in order to get rid of the smell in your shoes, you really need to prevent your feet from sweating in the first place.

Stopping Your Shoes from Smelling

Let's start by assuming your shoes are still odour-free, and discuss what you can do to keep them that way. There are quite a few home remedies as well as low-cost solutions you can start implementing right away.

Practice Good Foot Hygiene

Wash your feet every day, and dry them thoroughly with a clean towel. Bacteria thrives in moist areas, so it's important that you keep your feet not only clean, but dry as well. Always wear cotton or wool socks in your shoes, which will wick away perspiration and leave your feet fresh for longer.

Alternate Your Shoes

In order to keep your shoes dry and free from bacteria, you need to give them a chance to air out. If possible, make sure you never wear the same pair of shoes for two consecutive days. The best way to allow your shoes to dry naturally is to loosen the laces, pull out the tongue, and leave them drying in the sun, or at least a well-ventilated spot in the house.

Use Shoe Insoles

Anti-odour insoles are a great solution not only for getting rid of unpleasant foot odour, but stopping it from occurring in the first place.

Our Top Pick: Zederna Original Natural Cedarsoles

Zederna Original Natural CedarsolesThe Zederna Original Natural Cedarsoles are 100% natural cedar wood and cotton insoles. Super thin and flexible, these insoles easily fit into your shoes and absorb moisture to keep feet comfortable and dry. Cedar wood's natural anti-bacterial/fungicidal properties cure and prevent foot odour, athlete's foot, and nail fungus, making the Original Cedarsoles a healthy choice for feet in need of some in-shoe treatment.

Getting Rid of Shoe Odour

Now you know how to prevent your brand new pair of shoes from developing an unpleasant odour. But what to do with the stinky shoes you already own? Here are our top five tips to help you fix smelly shoes.

Stop Your Feet from Sweating

It all starts with the basics; sweat causes bacteria to spread, which causes foot odour. You're more likely to sweat if you spend most of your day in tight shoes, while stress, certain foods and hormonal changes can make sweating even worse. If you feel that you're sweating excessively from your feet, perhaps try looking deeper into the problem of why you sweat, and deal with the root cause.

Wash Your Shoes

Not all shoes can be safely washed, so make sure your shoes are suitable for washing before you try this method. Certain shoes, however, can be machine washed. Before you do this, remove the soles and laces, then put your shoes in a mesh bag and wash them in cold water with your regular laundry detergent on a medium spin speed. Let them air dry, while you soak your laces in a bowl of warm, soapy water for an hour.

Sprinkle Shoes with Baking Soda

If your shoes can't be machine washed, a great method for cleaning them includes baking soda. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with half a tablespoon of water and half a tablespoon of laundry detergent in a bowl, and lightly work this mixture into your shoes. Once they're completely coated in the mixture, let it dry completely. Using an old toothbrush, remove the dry mixture from the shoes.

Use Anti-Odour Insoles

Once you manage to get rid of existing shoe odour, you want to keep your feet and shoes feeling fresh. The best way to keep things clean and dry is by using quality anti-odour insoles.


Getting rid of shoe odour starts with taking good care of your feet. Identify why and when your feet tend to sweat the most, keep them dry and free from bacteria, and pick the right products that will leave your shoes smelling fresh and clean even after a long day.

Do you have a question, or something to add? Why not let us know in the comments, or find us on Twitter and Facebook!

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