14 Easy Ways to Get Rid Of Shoe Odor for Good

I’ve compiled here a list of methods that will help you keep your feet and footwear smelling fresh. Some are common sense, but do take them into consideration.

    1. Wear only socks made of cotton. Avoid any synthetics because they make your feet rot!
    2. Don’t ever put your shoes on without socks. It’s essential. They absorb much of the moist that comes from your feet and protects the footwear.
    3. If you absolutely have to go out without socks, because fashion dictates it or whatever, make sure to wash your feet before, and when you come back, leave the shoes out to dry and get some fresh air for a day or two.
    4. Wash your feet every day! Its common sense, but we sometimes forget about it. Use antibacterial soap, and if your feet smell really awful, use two different brands and alternate hot with cold water to open up all those pores in the skin. Give special care to the skin between your toes.

Stinky Sneakers

    1. Dry your feet before putting a new pair of socks on. Again, pay attention to the area between the toes. Use a hair dryer if necessary.
    2. If you feet sweat a lot, try to spray them with special feet antiperspirant. You could also use some of the antifungal powders that you can find on the market.
    3. Some people say that using baby powder instead of special foot odor powder can also get the job done. I recommend Johnson’s Baby powder as it’s of good quality and a cheap solution if you’re on a low budget
    4. Rotate you footwear. Don’t use the same shoes every day of the week. Give them some time to breathe.
    1. Wear clean socks every day. Change them at least once a day. Twice is recommended. Three times, even better. If you wear the same pair of socks a whole week in a row, what can you expect to happen?
    2. If you do sports, the first thing you must do after training is to get those sock off and wash your feet. Put a clean pair of socks and a different pair of shoes than the one you used during the game.
    3. Once in a while, wash the insole of your shoes. And it wouldn’t actually hurt if you’d throw those sneakers in the washing machine themselves. But be careful with that because some may shrink or, if they’re made of synthetic leather, crack.
    4. A good practice is to hang your shoes somewhere out in the open at the end of a busy day to give them a chance to breathe and dry out. If you don’t want to do that, at least do it with the insoles.
    5. If your shoes are wet thanks to a rainy day or you happened to step into a huge puddle of mud or water, leave them out to dry, or even wash them, before wearing them again. This will prevent them from, literally, rotting. And besides, it’s not comfortable to wear wet shoes anyway.
  1. Wipe your feet with antibacterial towelettes before putting your shoes on. You can get them at any drugstore or even on the internet.
  2. Purchase insoles designed for this problem at your local drugstore and replace the ones that you shoes came with.
  3. Another one that I heard people recommend is to stuff your shoes with a newspaper overnight. The paper supposedly absorbs some of the moist and that ugly smell.

If this works, I’d recommend to use toilet paper instead, or napkins, as they’re made out of lower quality paper that absorbs more of the environmental moist and smell. This way, it’s more likely to have the desired results.

And, heck, if worst comes to worst, just throw them in the wash machine. If they’re made of quality texture, they will not suffer any damage. Follow the advice on this site to make sure you aren’t buying low quality shoes.

JP Sigmursson. July 21, 2010 at 8:00 am

Hi there,

I love your website, it really gave me great insight into how to combat my stinking foot odour…it is really becoming a burden in my life. Sometimes I am even afraid to leave the house…and when the summer season comes around I am afraid to even wear sandles as the smell of my feet is so pungent. Sometimes I even notice people dry wretching and cowering away, the embarrassment I feel cannot be expressed in words.

The amount of socks I go through is becoming a serious expense…as after a days use, the dead skin is just incrusted in them and they are not usable again, I have tried washing them but to no avail.

I get great comfort from your website however, keep up the great work…any other tips on how to combat my serious foot problem?? Please email me.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,



Eugen July 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm


Sounds like a serious problem you’ve got there.. If nothing you’ve tried so far helps, your best choice is to go see a dermatologist.

You may have some kind of fungus or other skin condition. In any case, a medic will know what to do and will prescribe you an adequate treatment.

Good luck!


S.B. March 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm

In #16 I don’t think it would work with napkins or toilet paper as you suggest. The odor comes from bacteria and newspaper ink in a natural antibacterial.


brenda July 3, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Hi my coach shoes have a nasty foot ordor and i dont know how to clean them from inside to take the bad ordor out can i just trow the insoles in the washer n what happenes if it still smells?


Eugen July 4, 2012 at 4:54 am

Hi Brenda,

It’s perfectly fine to put the insoles in the washing machine.

However, once the odor sets in, you can never totally get it out. I usually wash the whole sneakers in the washer at a smaller temperature. I never ruined any pair until now, but you need to take care.

The best way is being preemptive. Do the hygienic measures to avoid the bad odor setting in in the first place. Most important, after a sweaty run, leave them out to dry in the sun.


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