HomeSmelly FeetWhich are the Best Shoe Deodorizer for Smelly Shoes?

Which are the Best Shoe Deodorizer for Smelly Shoes?


It can be tricky to find the best shoe deodorizer out there since so many claims to work when so few do.

In this post, we will categorize these deodorizers into 4 main groups:

Deodorizer Machines   | Deodorizer Sprays | Deodorizer Balls   | Deodorizer Powder

Deodorizer Machines

1. Rocket Pure Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray & Foot Spray

shoes spray

Get it: Amazon

2. Sof Sole Sneaker Balls Shoe, Gym Bag, and Locker Deodorizer

Ball shoes deodorizer

Get it: Amazon

3. NonScents Shoe Deodorizer – Odor Eliminator, Freshener for Sneakers, Gym Bags, and Lockers

shoes freshener

Get it: Amazon

4. GEARHALO™ Sports Deodorizer Pods – Stops The Stink!

shoes deodorizer pods

Get it: Amazon

5. Marsheepy 6 Pack Natural Bamboo Charcoal Bags

Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Remover

Get it: Amazon

6. FunkAway Odor Eliminator Spray for Shoes and Gear

Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Remover

Get it: Amazon

7. Natural Foot and Shoe Odor Eliminator

Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Remover

Get it: Amazon

8. Boot Bananas Original Shoe Deodorisers

Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Remover

Get it: Amazon

9. Dr. Scholl’s Probiotic Foot Spray 4oz Immediately Eliminates and Prevents Odors

Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Remover

Get it: Amazon

10. Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray for Foot Odor & Sport Gear

Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Remover

Get it: Amazon

11. Lumi Outdoors Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray

Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Remover

Get it: Amazon

12. Remodeez Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Eliminator

Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Remover

Get it: Amazon

13. Odor Drops Shoe Deodorizer Balls for Neutralizing Shoe Odor

Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Remover

Get it: Amazon

14. Arm & Hammer Odor Busterz Balls

Shoe Deodorizer and Odor Remover

Get it: Amazon

What causes smelly feet and shoes?

Foul-smelling shoes are an embarrassing problem for quite a several people.  For some, it only happens when they exercise and participate in sports.

It happens the second the shoes come off for some unlucky others, and the room fills with this mildewy and sometimes rotten cheese smell.  So what exactly is causing this odorous issue?

The main culprit is sweat.

Your feet contain a very high amount of sweat glands than any other part of your body. Your socks and shoes trap in the sweat and do not allow it to evaporate as it would on other parts of your body.  Your feet are more prone to develop odors that are then passed on to your socks and shoes.

The problem is exacerbated by choosing the wrong socks and footwear.  Synthetic fabric socks such as ones made from nylon are the worst choice if you have smelly shoes.

Related post: Best barefoot shoes

Shoes that are again made with synthetic material generally do not let sweat evaporate.  Together, these two products will produce particularly foul-smelling feet, socks, and shoes.

The sweat gets trapped in your warm damp socks and shoes, which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and other nasty micro-organisms.  Now sweat itself is not smelly and does not have any distinct smell.  The shoes and feet odor comes from the bacteria feeding off the sweat and then excreting certain stinky chemicals.

Some people sweat more than others and tend to have the worst shoe odor.  It is an unfortunate trait that some people have to live with.  This is why on some days, the smell will be worst.

Other physical activities such as running, hiking, etc., cause your feet to sweat more.  Hence, your athletic shoes will generally smell worst than your dress shoes.  So to recap, sweaty feet mixed with bacteria equals smelly shoes.

How to neutralize shoe odor?

So your shoes don’t smell so good; some might even say they are downright stinky. The following guide is here to help you get control and neutralize these stenches. I have broken the guide into four separate sections. It ranges in the level of odor and cost level.

Step 1- For mild odors

This is the appropriate step if you have a mild odor. I would still go other these simple recommendations even if you have more robust smelling shoes as they are pretty simple.

Mild odors would be when you have to bring the shoes to your nose to detect the offending smell.

1. Baking Soda

The most popular and least expensive option is deodorizing with good old baking soda. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on the insole before going to bed.

In the morning, tap the shoes together a few times to remove the powder.  A small amount of powder remaining is outstanding. Try this method for a few nights, and you should have some sweet-smelling shoes.

Leather shoes: Wrap the baking soda in a piece of cloth first.

2. Freezing

You can remove the laces and put your shoes in a Ziploc. Freeze them overnight. The theory is that the freezing process should kill off any bacteria. I don’t personally recommend this situation as I found the smell returns pretty quickly. Use more as a temporary measure.

Related: House shoes with arch support

3. Multi-purpose disinfecting wipes

This method works well for ballet flats or other open-toed shoes made of synthetic material. Wipe the inside of the shoe with a household disinfecting wipe. If the insole can be removed, take them out and wipe them thoroughly.

4. Dryer sheet

Stuff a dryer sheet in your shoe overnight. Keep in mind that your shoes will give off a floral scent—something to keep in mind for men.

Step 2 – For mild to moderate odors

1. Machine Wash

This method is only used with your cheap sneakers to give them a second life or if the instructions on your sneakers say machine-washable. Please take off the laces and chuck them in with some laundry detergent.

I’d recommend getting new laces from any shoe store or online as they are dirt-cheap and will make your shoe look that much better. The preferable method to dry them is to leave them outside in the sun. You can still use the dryer if it’s winter, with a fabric sheet stuffed in each shoe.

2. Shoe odor spray

There are many shoe sprays that you can buy. The gist of them is to spray the inside of your shoe to keep odors away and neutralize the existing ones. Make sure to get one that has enzymes that can break down biological matter. I have used a natural pet cleaner and odor remover in a pinch that contains enzymes. I found that it worked surprisingly well.

Step 3- For moderate to strong odors

1. Cedar insoles

Cedar helps to keep your shoes dry and also has anti-microbial properties. From what causes smelly shoes, sweaty feet mixed with bacteria equals stinky shoes. Cedar works against both of these causes, making it an excellent tool for odor control. I found cedar insoles to be very comfortable to wear daily, even though it’s made out of wood.

2. Odor-control insoles

I have only used Dr. Scholl’s Odor-x. I found it to be more comfortable than the cedar insoles. It wicks away moisture and uses activated carbon to neutralize odors. They are pretty easy to use. You need to cut the insoles to fit your shoes, and they are on the inexpensive side. You will generally need to change the insoles every 3-4 months.

Related: Dress shoes for your wedding

3. Silver shoe lining

This lining is again a great product to wear with flats. They are anti-microbial and work similarly to the cedar insoles and the odor-control soles. It works exceptionally well when combined with foot powder.

4. Throw the shoes out

This is the most extreme measure, but sometimes it has to be said. Some shoes are beyond hope, and all the above steps will not work. At this point, chuck them out, and get yourself a new pair of shoes. Make sure to follow the steps. I just got new shoes. If you keep wearing those shoes, you could have all your other shoes smell the same. Better to cut your losses.

How to Prevention Smelly Shoes

Before we get into preventing smelly shoes, we need to discuss what happens when you get new shoes.

1. Sneakers:

Throw in an odor-control insole in there.

2. Leather shoes/ Dress shoes:

Cedar insoles would be your best. In some instances, I found that waiting after the break-in period for the shoe is best.

3. Flats:

The silver lining is that odor control would be best in this case.

In all cases, please only wear clean, cotton socks when wearing your new shoes or use good foot powder when wearing your new flats.


Now that’s out of the way, let’s prevent smelly feet. This is the essential step, but I sometimes find it annoying. This suggestion is to pick a couple of recommendations and stick with them instead of trying to do everything listed.

1. Wear proper shoes

Wear shoes that have breathable fabrics. Leather is a good, stylish choice. When buying shoes, make sure you are correctly fitted. Wearing the wrong size shoes can cause your feet to sweat more.

2. Shoes and socks care

  • Keep athletic, and dress socks separate if you are a runner or engage in strenuous physical activities
  • Wash all white socks inside out with laundry soap and a small amount of bleach.
  • Only use cotton or wool socks. You can also use socks that mention moisture-wicking technology or odor control.

3. Wash your feet

Use an anti-microbial soap. Be careful if you are in the shower; you don’t want to slip. If you find your feet are drying out, reduce the frequency of your foot wash and use a foot moisturizer. Dry your feet well with a clean towel making sure to dry the spaces between your toes.

4. Use foot powder

Use baby powder or foot powder such as Gold Bond. Sprinkle it on your foot and rub it in, making sure to get the spaces between your toes before putting on your socks.

5. Use foot deodorant

This one is more on the extreme side, but you can use deodorant for your foot to reduce the amount of sweat they produce. They are very effective, but I generally would only use them in the worst situations.


Dr Christine Nolan is the CEO and founder of She also has extensive clinical experience and is therefore uniquely qualified to detect and manage diseases of the lower extremities including those related to peripheral arterial disease and diabetes.