Smelly Wet Shoes
September 14, 2017 4:45 AM   Subscribe

My feet don't stink, but my wet shoes do. And it seems to be permanent.

I've never had problems with smelly feet, but I like to wear leather shoes. Everything is fine until they get wet. After that they become perma-smelly. I've tried thoroughly drying them in the sun, rubbing the insides with alcohol, and deodorizing at a dry cleaner. Nothing works. As soon as I put them on, the smell returns (reactivated by my foot sweat?). Is there a solution to this problem, or do just I have to throw out my shoes and buy a new pair after every unexpected rainstorm?
posted by Prunesquallor to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
may as well try dumping some Gold Bond Powder in there
posted by thelonius at 4:54 AM on September 14, 2017

Do you have shoe trees? When my shoes get smelly, especially from rain, I pop a cedar shoe tree and a dryer sheet in each one. (Confession: I've even done this to slippers.) It seems to work. I don't think it takes the problem away entirely, but it's no longer noticeable.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:18 AM on September 14, 2017

I've heard that you can freeze shoes in your freezer to eliminate odor causing bacteria. (Have not tried)
posted by czytm at 5:58 AM on September 14, 2017

Drop a bit of borax powder in there, then use a wet brush or just your hand (use rubber gloves) to rub the powder all over. Allow it to dry and shake out the powder before you wear.
posted by extramundane at 6:45 AM on September 14, 2017

I did the following to an ex-boyfriend's hideously smelly sports shoes and it eliminated the odour completely: Fill each shoe with whole coffee beans. Leave for a couple of days, then dump out the beans. (I've seen other people suggest using coffee grounds in a filter, but I think the beans have less potential for mess.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:20 AM on September 14, 2017

Swabbing out the insides really well with something like Nature's Miracle might help. It's an enzymatic cleaner mostly marketed toward pet owners for cleaning up urine/feces messes, but it actually is really effective on all kinds of biological nasties. My bet is that you've got some bacteria or something in there that get lively when your shoes get wet and the stink is from them digesting whatever they can get ahold of to eat.

Bleach water could help too, but I'd be pretty careful that you don't discolor your shoes in the process. I don't think Nature's Miracle will give you that problem.
posted by Sublimity at 8:15 AM on September 14, 2017

You can buy charcoal inserts at the drugstore. I keep these in my cloth shoes when they're not in use because I also get wet shoe stink.
posted by OrangeVelour at 6:21 AM on September 15, 2017

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