A Fresh Wave Lavender Gel in a closet with a shoe rack full of shoes

How to Get Rid of Everyday Shoe Smell

Steps to Get Rid of Shoe Smell

  1. Keep Your Feet Clean and Dry
  2. Choose Shoes That Are Breathable
  3. Air Out Everyday-Wear Shoes
  4. Wear Socks When You Can
  5. Use Natural Odor Remover

It’s time to talk about an issue many people are embarrassed to discuss: shoe smell. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just come back from a run in your tennis shoes, spent a long day at work in your favorite boots, or enjoyed a summer stroll in a slim pair of sandals. Shoe smell doesn’t discriminate. But it certainly doesn’t have to dominate. 

Before you start throwing the “cleaning product kitchen sink” at your smelly shoes, it’s important to understand why your shoes might be harboring the unpleasant smell.

Why Do Your Shoes Smell Bad? 

Not everyone’s shoes have a strong, unpleasant odor. The main culprit that contributes to shoe smell is foot perspiration, or, how much your feet sweat. The more your feet sweat, the more moisture that builds up and seeps into the material of your shoe. And, not to get too graphic — this moisture buildup can be enough to develop bacteria and fungi that thrive in warm, moist places, contributing to shoe smell.

Unfortunately, some people just sweat more than others. And if you’re someone in that camp, there are safe and effective ways to get smell out of shoes.

How to Get Rid of Shoe Smell

1. Keep Your Feet Clean and Dry

It probably goes without saying, but dirty feet contribute to that foul odor that lingers when you take off your shoes. This is especially important if you’re slipping on heels or loafers with bare feet.

The way to cut down on excess moisture in your shoes is to proactively keep your feet dry. Are you someone that showers in the morning? Try thoroughly drying your feet before you put on your socks and shoes to get rid of shoe smell.

Do your feet start to sweat midday at the office or while you’re at the gym? Try keeping a fresh pair of socks in your bag and deodorize your bag with Fresh Wave Odor Removing Packs.

No matter why your feet may get wet or sweat throughout the day, there’s an easy solution that could help remove odors from your shoes and prevent it from coming back all together.

2. Choose Shoes That Are More Breathable

This is a great tip for athletes or those who like to get a good workout in. These days, you can find running/athletic shoes that are made of more breathable material (cotton, polyester, microfiber), which allows for better ventilation for sweaty feet. 

When it comes to a fancier option, you may also be surprised to learn that leather is a very breathable material. So, consider leather shoes for your next work meeting or fancy outing. Letting your feet breathe while you’re staying active is a great way to remove odor from shoes.

3. Air Out Everyday-Wear Shoes

After a long day, it’s nice to kick off your shoes in the mudroom and relax. But if you’re really being proactive about eliminating shoe odor, don’t throw your shoes in the closet or keep them zipped up in your gym bag.

The less air you give your shoes, the more you risk stinking. If you do need to put away your shoes because guests are coming over or because the smell is just too unpleasant to be left out in the open, take advantage of our Fresh Wave Odor Removing Lavender Packs. Just stick one pack inside of your shoes to start getting rid of that rancid shoe smell!

4. Wear Socks When You Can

It may not be realistic during the warmer months of the year (unless you can confidently rock a socks-with-sandals look), but it’s best to wear a breathable pair of socks with shoes. Wearing socks provides an additional layer between your foot and shoe to decrease direct moisture from seeping in. Even if you’re trying to go for a barefoot look, ankle socks, and no-show socks are still options!

5. Use Natural Odor Removers for Shoes

And sometimes, your shoes just need a solid cleaning and deodorizing session. Try these natural methods to get your shoes back to that fresh-out-of-the-box smell:

  • Baking soda. Drop a couple of tablespoons into your shoes overnight and then dump out in the morning.
  • Vinegar and water mixture. This common cleaning combination is known to eliminate bacteria. Give the insides of your shoes a good spray and give them enough time to dry off before slipping them back on. However, be sure not to overpower the mixture with vinegar. You don’t want your shoes reeking of vinegar, either!
  • Washing machine. Check your shoe labels before trying this option, but many tennis shoes and everyday-wear shoes can be washed in the washing machine! If they need an extra boost of freshness, drop in some of our Fresh Wave Odor Removing Laundry Booster!
  • Fresh Wave Odor Removing Spray. Made with safe, natural ingredients, our odor removing spray is sure to give your shoes a burst of freshness. Give the insides of your shoes a few sprays, let them dry completely, and voila! Your nose wrinkle-inducing shoe smell will be gone — not masked — but gone!

The next time you slip off your shoes and come across an unpleasant smell, you won’t have to worry or feel self conscious. Your shoes and your reputation can both be saved when you implement our tips to remove odor from shoes!