If you’re killing your workouts and breaking a major sweat at the gym or on your run, chances are your clothes and shoes are not going to smell great afterward. With your clothes, the easy fix is obviously to just throw them in the wash when you get home, but what about shoes? Most activewear shoes aren’t really made to be machine-washable, but fortunately, there’s a ton of ways to keep yours smelling fresh and clean. Because, let’s be real, the a less-than-pleasant odor coming from your sneakers isn’t something you want to deal with during your workout. Or, you know, ever. Here are a few pointers to help you get stinky sneakers under control.
Choose the right socks and shoes. The sweatier your feet are, the more they will stink. You can avoid some of that sweat by choosing synthetic, non-cotton socks made for working out and shoes with breathable fabrics.
Keep your shoes as dry as possible. Whether your shoes are barely damp from a little sweat during your workout or soaked through from a rainy run, it’s important to do everything you can to get them dry as soon as they’re off your feet. Store them in a cool, dry place with no moisture or put paper towels inside to soak up any moisture. Putting them out in the sun to dry is always a good idea, too.
Use baking soda. Baking soda can have many uses, and keeping your shoes fresh is one of them. Sprinkle a little baking soda in each shoe when you take them off for the day, then just dump it out in the morning and slip into some crisp, odor-free sneakers.
Try dryer sheets. Like baking soda, it turns out dryer sheets have more than one use. Cut one in half and put one half in each shoe. This will neutralize any odor and soak up some moisture.
Deodorize. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people have issues with gross, smelly gym shoes. So many, in fact, that you can easily purchase spray deodorant or deodorizer balls specifically made to tackle the problem.
Pour on the baby powder. Baby powder is great for keeping your feet and shoes dry and fresh (and everyone loves the smell of babies, right?). Sprinkle the powder on your feet before you slip your socks on, and put a little extra in your shoes for maximum freshness.
Stick them in the freezer. Wait, what? Yes, the freezer. You know how in all the horror movies, serial killers hide the body in the freezer to keep it from smelling? Well, yeah, same goes for your shoes, but in a way less morbid way. Of course, you’ll want to throw them in a ziplock bag first to prevent dirt or gym germs from getting all over your Ben & Jerry’s pint(s).
Start with the insoles. The solution to your smelly shoe problem could be as simple as taking out your insoles overnight to help your shoes dry faster. If that’s not enough, buy some new insoles to replace the old, and if your shoes get extra stinky, maybe spring for a special pair specifically for odor control.
Give your shoes a break. Another simple solution to saying sayonara to smelly sneakers is to switch off between two pairs. This will give your shoes more time to air out between workouts and will give that sweaty smell more time to fade naturally. Plus, switching up your shoes is good for your feet and your gym style.
Spritz them with rubbing alcohol. There’s no need to spend extra money on special deodorizing products if this simple solution works for you. Put some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spritz away to kill any odor-causing bacteria.
Use your kitty’s litter. If you have a cat, you probably have extra kitty litter laying around the house. This will neutralize the smell of your sneakers just like it neutralizes the smell of your feline friend’s litter box. If you don’t have a cat, it’s still worth a shot. No one at the pet store will suspect you’re actually buying that jumbo bag of kitty litter for your gym shoes.