Back to Journal

How to Keep Your Shoes Smelling Fresh

Keep your shoes smelling fresh all year long.

Stinky feet – and even stinky shoes – can be quite embarrassing. We’ve all been there, especially when the weather is warm or when wearing closed-toe shoes. So if you have ever had to fight the good fight against smelly shoes, read on! We have put together four tips to help you keep your shoes smelling fresh all year long.

Before we get into the tips, you might be wondering why shoes and feet get stinky in the first place. Though there may be multiple reasons why, wearing your shoes without socks is usually the main culprit. Though it can sometimes be more comfy to go sock-less, you may not realize that not wearing socks transfers foot sweat directly to shoe soles. This locks moisture in the shoes for long periods of time and may cause bacteria to grow in your shoes.

Don’t get me wrong, many shoes are supposed to be worn sock-less. However, you may want to take precautions to keep your  shoes from growing microbes that create fungi.  Of course, that’s not to say that if you do wear socks you won’t have this problem. Anyone can have stinky feet or shoes if moisture gets locked in. Unfortunately, sweat is one of the main reasons our shoes and feet start to smell over time.

“Unlike faces and arms, most feet are covered in shoes all day. When that happens, feet are not ventilated and the contained sweat and warmth become a breeding ground for bacteria—very smelly bacteria. This bacteria lives on your feet, in your socks and all over your favorite shoes.” (Quoted by Elf Martin based on Madeline Albrecht research —

So what can you do about smelly feet and smelly shoes? Don’t worry! There are many solutions towards this very common problem. Read on!

First tip: wash your feet thoroughly.

The bacteria on your feet will keep multiplying if you don’t keep your feet clean and dry.

Wash your feet in the shower or bath to help brush-off the embarrassing odor. When you’re in the shower, foam up the soles of your feet and make sure to scrub your entire foot. And, yes that includes in-between your toes too, before rinsing. When you get out of the shower, completely dry your feet (don’t forget the toes!) before slipping on a pair of clean socks.

Second tip: don’t wear the same shoes twice in a row.

We all have a favorite pair of shoes that we want to daily. But wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row is a call for bacteria to grow. Why? “Back-to-back days does not give your shoes enough time to completely dry out from the previous day’s wear. So be sure to rotate your collection so as not to repeat day after day.” (Quoted by Dwyer Frame —

Third tip: kill the bacteria.

You can help kill any bacteria already growing on your fave pair of shoes by spraying a vinegar mix on them. This vinegar mix is very easy to make: all you need is a container, and fill it with 50% distilled water and 50% vinegar. Spray this mix into your shoes everyday at the end of your day, and let the mix do the trick. You can also spray this mix onto your feet after washing them to help ensure any bacteria is being taken care of.

Another trick is to use an unused coffee filter and fill it with backing soda. Place the coffee filters into your shoes and let sit overnight. This will help disinfect and deodorize your shoes.

Or, even easier, you can simply purchase some fabric softener sheets and stick them in your shoes overnight.

Fourth tip: shop consciously and look for shoes that are well ventilated.

Natural leather is much more breathable than plastic, rubber or “pleather.” Shoes with perforations or materials designed to be breathable are even better.

Though there are plenty of other ways to keep your shoes from smelling, these are some our favorite and most efficient ways.

Now that you know our favorite ways to keep your feet and shoes smelling fresh, we’d love to hear some of your favorite tips. Tag us at @blowfishmalibu.

Follow Blowfish Malibu on Instagram and check out more stories on the Journal.