7 Simple Cures for Smelly Feet

7 Simple Cures for Smelly Feet 

Here's how to get rid of foot odor for good.

Maybe you like to do hot yoga. Maybe you like to wear Vans slip-ons with no socks. And maybe you once left a container of fruit in your gym bag for a week. Either way, no judgment here. In fact, you're not alone if you’ve got some gear so ripe it has to live outside.

"Fun fact, your feet have more sweat glands in them than anywhere else on your body," Taylor Wiegele, the co-founder of the odor-absorbing shoe insert brand Zorpads, says.

According to Wiegele, "the sweat doesn’t actually smell like anything."

Instead, "the bacteria that occurs on your feet eats that sweat and the bacteria getting stuck in your shoe turns into a really foul smelling odor compound."

The plastic soles of your favorite workout shoes are the worst for storing bacteria, which is why your gym kicks are the first to smell like rotting death. And until you kill the bacteria in whatever reeks, the funk will continue every time you sweat.

If you can identify your gear by scent, it’s time to take action.

First, wash and clean everything to the point of odorlessness before introducing any odor-absorbing products. Do not try to cover anything up with other masking scents.

If you have an industrial level clean-up to do, try rubbing everything down with vodka, Wiegele advises. (You may want to save a shot for yourself before you dive in there.) The alcohol will kill the bacteria so you won’t keep building on that great wall of rotting garbage aroma.

Next, launder, launder, launder. And to make sure that the stench is officially done for, invest in one of these seven items to keep that stink from ever happening again, smelly.

1. Remodeez Footwear Deodorizer

These colorful pouches are filled with an activated charcoal made from sustainable coconut husks. Non-toxic, odorless, and hypoallergenic, you charge them up using UV rays from direct sunlight and then put them where the wild smells are.

2. Zorpads Odor Destruction Shoe Inserts

These little adhesive antibacterial squares, which began as a Harvard Business School project created after a team member’s TOMS reeked to high heaven, use NASA-grade materials to absorb odor-causing compounds in your shoes without changing the fit. And Zorpads use a scientific material to suck in that stink at a faster rate than anything else on the market.

3. Sof Sole Sneaker Balls
If 1,500 positive reviews are to be believed, these glorious golf-ball sized deodorizers are the champions of masking stank in dark, tight spaces. And of course, they come dressed as sports gear or emojis if you want to roll like that.

4. Foot Sense All-Natural Foot & Shoe Powder
More than a few running blogs tout this non-toxic foot powder as the savior of stinky sports gear — including hockey gloves (which could be classified as a biohazard). Sprinkle it in there for a couple days to kill that bacteria and then keep using it to stave off the stench.

5. Biokleen Bac-Out Stain & Odor Remover
Cleaning experts say this is the go-to for destroying whatever rank odors are emanating from your place. Enzyme-producing cultures, citrus extracts, and essential oils will tackle your sweaty workout room, gym clothes, and gear so you’ll smell like lavender or lemon thyme instead of a locker room floor.

6. OdoBan Odor Eliminator & Disinfectant
This industrial-grade gallon seems to be the go-to when the stench has flown off the handle. There’s no funk it doesn’t tackle, so if you’re to the point of considering burning it, this may just be your saving grace. And it comes in eucalyptus — who doesn’t love that scent?

7. Brita Replacement Filters
That’s right. The water purifiers can also absorb odors in your shoes and gym bag. You’re probably buying these things anyway, they’re easy to find, and no one is judging you when you grab a box at the store.