Shoe odour is one of those things that people don’t really like to talk about, but it’s an important issue to address, not just for the sake of your sinuses but for the health of your feet and your shoes too. Here are some of the tried and tested methods of how to stop shoes from smelling bad and some natural remedies to try in extreme cases.

Give your shoes a rest

You need to alternate your shoes daily to give them a chance to dry out. As you wear them, your feet sweat, and you need to allow at least 24 hours between wears to ensure that the moisture has a chance to evaporate. If you continually wear the same pair, they don’t get a chance to recover, and moisture will lead to bacteria, which will lead to smells.

Cedar shoe tree

For keeping your dress shoes in pristine condition between wears, invest in a cedarwood shoe tree. The cedar wood helps to absorb moisture and control odours. It’s also important to check that your shoe lining is a natural material – like leather – instead of a synthetic alternative which will make it harder for your feet to breathe. If your favourite shoes don’t have a leather lining, invest in a pair of insoles specifically for managing bacteria and smell.

Wear socks

We recently wrote a blog post that asked if you preferred socks or bare feet when you wear shoes, but if you’re suffering from smelly shoes than you need to abandon the desire for bare feet and switch to socks immediately. Wearing socks helps to absorb the sweat and moisture from your feet and keeps the inside of your shoe more hygienic and clean, and therefore cuts down on the risk of smelly shoes.

Drying them out

This time of year a bit of rainy weather is only to be expected but if it causes your shoes to get soaked, you need to let these dry out before wearing them again. A quick trick that a lot of runners use when their trainers get soaked is to stuff them with newspaper which helps to absorb the moisture more quickly. If you have the time to spare however, you can let them dry overnight.

Natural remedies for smelly shoes

Sometimes despite your best efforts, you need to clean your shoes out to really remove the bacteria that is causing them to smell bad. Adding a few drops of lavender oil can help to eliminate bad smells, and it also acts as a natural anti-bacterial agent so it should help protect your shoes in the immediate future too. The contents of your kitchen cupboards might also help to control bad smells – baking powder sprinkled inside your shoe will absorb excess moisture and combat the bad smell too.