These boots are made for... stinking?
June 8, 2016 5:21 PM   Subscribe

So I have these shoes, and I really like them. However, after the first few months, they began to smell like feet (naturally).

I've washed them and left them out in the sun for days and it gets a little better but then reverts back to smelly feetiness after a few days. I've sprayed them with a shoe deodorizer, which just made it smell like minty feet. I've recently stuck a moso bag in each one, but it's been a few days and the smell is still there. Is there anything else worth trying? For the record, I do shower and wear clean socks every day and don't have odor issues with my leather work shoes or when I'm barefoot.
posted by madonna of the unloved to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Try sprinkling baking soda inside. Leave overnight and dump out in the morning.
posted by lizbunny at 5:36 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Get a boot dryer and put them on it every night after you take them off for a few hours. Only thing that keeps my toms wearable.
posted by fshgrl at 5:42 PM on June 8, 2016

If you make coffee, let the grounds dry, put them in a porous enclosure, and leave them in the shoes. I admit I've never tried this as I don't drink coffee, but I once used a dish of coffee grounds to get skunk smell out of a car and now I consider them magic.
posted by ejs at 5:43 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have heard put them in the freezer -it kills the bacteria? Didn't work for me but I think Ive got stinky feet!
posted by ReluctantViking at 5:43 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Lysol spray frequently to kill the bacteria (thus the smell) and then alternate wearing them to every second or third day so they're not constantly damp. Can you remove the insoles and buy new ones? If so, do that too. Unfortunately, the design and/or materials in some footwear just really encourage bacteria growth.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 6:43 PM on June 8, 2016

I once had such stinky feet that I went to the doctor to get help for it (I kinda can't believe I'm admitting this). The doctor was really helpful -- among medical treatments, I also learned that certain shoe materials are more favorable for growing stinky bacteria. Canvas, cotton and synthetic materials grow more stink than leather. Also, certain types of insoles grow more stink than others--the more absorbent, squishier ones. This is because leather shoes, and shoes with hard insoles dry faster than other kinds of shoes.

So -- before the stink drives you to the doctor -- here are some things to try. Get cedar shoe trees, like these ones, and use them in every pair of shoes you like. Shoe trees really will help your shoes dry out, which will inhibit stink growth. Until your shoe trees arrive, you can help your shoes dry out by stuffing newspaper in them (softly -- you don't want to cram them full, you want to allow for airflow). Putting them in the sun is good, but so is freezing them -- some stink bacteria is susceptible to the sun or heat, some to cold. Finally, be aware that your feet are a vector for the stink -- so if you wear these stinky shoes, then put on your leather work shoes -- you might transfer the bacteria from one pair to another and end up with all your shoes stinking. So until you get on top of this problem, make sure you shower or wash your feet in between wearing these shoes and other shoes.

If the problem does start to contaminate other shoes, don't be afraid to ask your doctor for help. A topical antibiotic and prescription-strength antiperspirant can help you arrest the problem and then you can live the next 20 years of your life with stinkfree feet, like me.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:44 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Similar to ejs' tip about coffee grounds--I had great success deodorizing a boyfriend's hideously stinky sports shoes by filling them with whole coffee beans, leaving them a couple of days, then dumping out the beans. Stink free!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:15 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Can these shoes be safely submerged in water? If so use a sport wash.Sport Suds or Sport Wash. Since the shoes are made of synthetic material, the material love to hold onto odors and this stuff works in the laundry. I would mix up a bit in a bucket and soak the shoes for 20 minutes and then rinse out. Let dry.

I also use the cheapest vodka available in a spray bottle for things that can't be submerged and I test for colorfastness. Spray inside until soaking wet and allow dry.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 7:20 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Freezing stinky sandals worked for us!
posted by WowLookStars at 8:24 PM on June 8, 2016

Stuff with newspapers at night.
posted by Toddles at 9:44 PM on June 8, 2016

Sketchers are machine washable. That works for me.
posted by mewsic at 10:02 PM on June 8, 2016

Spray them down with alcohol,Freeze the hell outta them, then pop an activated charcoal bag in them when you're not wearing them.

This has worked for me when I've needed to get the smell of horse crap and sweat out of my mud boots. The charcoal bags are seriously a game changer for stink management. I keep one in my bathroom now too, it can suck up even the nastiest smells.
posted by InkDrinker at 11:02 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I buy a second pair of shoes like this that I like and rotate them weekly, washing them on a gentle spin and low heat in the washing machine, then let them dry in sunlight.
posted by ellieBOA at 1:07 AM on June 9, 2016

I use 2 Denture Tablets and let my vibrams soak overnight. That followed by a good rinse and dry works wonders for getting rid of foot funk.
posted by episodic at 2:35 AM on June 9, 2016

I've scrubbed the insoles of my stinky shoes with tea tree oil. Antiperspirant/deodorant applied directly to your feet can also help.
posted by sarajane at 3:33 AM on June 9, 2016

My solution has always been to have two pair of shoes, and alternate. That way they have a chance to completely dry out on their day off and no stink.

When I go on vacation and am wearing the same shoes for a couple weeks straight, I generally have to give them a few weeks off after returning.
posted by DaveP at 4:37 AM on June 9, 2016

I had low-cut hikers from Merrell that I only wore every other day, but they started to get stinky. I washed them out by hand with a LOT of vinegar mixed in the water, then rinsed well, and left them to dry. It helped a lot.

But rotating shoes out so they get a day to dry each time is a huge help. I also pull out the removable insole each night and drop it on the floor by the shoe, so that both items get dry.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:04 AM on June 9, 2016

I toss my GoWalks into the washer with oxyclean and let them dry in the sunshine. I do it once every two weeks. They can get stinky but the work is worth the comfort.
posted by kimberussell at 8:30 AM on June 9, 2016

I have a shUVee ultraviolet shoe deoderizer and it is great at getting stink out of shoes. I use mine every single day & notice when I don't use it my shoes are stinkier. used to be on amazon but looks like they're selling them on thier website only now. It is seriously worth $90 to save shoes imho. I put my shoes or boots on it for 15-20 minutes.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 8:31 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

For prevention, I use these machine-washable removable insoles:
posted by oblique red at 12:16 PM on June 9, 2016

I love my Skechers, too! Mine get thrown in the washing machine every couple of months. It has not hurt any of them so far.
posted by raisingsand at 5:52 AM on June 10, 2016

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