What are the best practices to prevent stinky shoes? How do you destink your shoes once they’re already funky? Reader K has a delicate question regarding stinky shoes:
I need advice on how to keep my shoes from developing a bad odor. I wear hose 90% of the time with my dress work shoes, and they develop a foul odor within just a few weeks of wear. I have tried odor eaters without success, old pantyhose filled with baking soda, rotating my shoes to never wear them two days in a row – nothing works. I haven’t normally had smelly shoes or feet, but now that I am in a professional environment and wear dress shoes instead of socks/sneakers, I can’t get a handle on this. I don’t notice the smell when my shoes are on, but when I take them off at home, look out. I am afraid that it will keep getting worse and my feet will smell all the time!
Interesting. We’ve talked about delicate issues such as body odor, sweaty feet in pumps, what to do when drycleaning doesn’t remove smells, and general shoe care for women, but I don’t believe we’ve talked about how to prevent stinky shoes. Reader K herself mentioned some of the other oft-cited advice, but I might stress a few things:
- Give your shoes at least a day off — it lets the leather dry out.
- Products like Silver Linings have insoles “infused with antimicrobial silver ions for women who wear shoes without socks.” (They’re available at Amazon, but here’s the product page for more behind the technology.) Readers have also previously recommended Summer Soles, for open-toed shoes.
- Look into ventilated shoes, like Geox — they’re designed to let air circulate better. They’re sold at the usual spots (Zappos, 6pm, Amazon, Nordstrom), but here’s a link to their product page about the technology behind the shoes.
- Avoid plastic shoes that don’t breathe at all.
- Try the freezer — put your shoes in a ziplock bag, then stick them in the freezer for 24-48 hours. (This is also supposedly a great way to defunk your expensive denim.)
- Wear socks. Trouser socks, knee-high pantyhose, even shoe liners all exist for exactly this purpose. I tend to prefer toe liners when they don’t interrupt the line of the shoe. Here’s a link to our older discussion on what hose to wear with pumps (if any).
Ladies, have you taken measures to prevent stinky shoes? What are your best practices for avoiding funk, and then your best suggestions for destinking your shoes?
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