10 Best Shoe Deodorizers Reviewed
There are a variety of shoe deodorizers on the market, everything from sprays to powders to shoe inserts to shoe drying machines to deodorant satchels and more. Because there’s such a variety of different features in these products, this article will only look at the deodorizing properties of each of the items, ranking them according to their effectiveness, ease of use, and cost.
10 Best Shoe Deodorizers
1. Dr. Scholl's Odor X
Cornstarch, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Bicarbonate, Kaolin, Fragrance, & Chloroxylenol
Powder is easy to use, but can be messy.
The fragranced to cover odors, but some users may be irritated by the fragrance.
This is the best value out there. Cheap and effective. But do understand if you buy, it is a powder and may be a tad messy.
- Lasts for a long while
- Absorbs sweat
- Pleasant, albeit strong odor
- Fast Working
- Powder may be messy, even from container when closed.
- Isn’t effective for fungal infections and may exasperate them
2. Zederna Cedar Wood Inserts
This product is 100% natural. The cedar naturally inhibits bacteria causing odor.
Both wood and cotton is biodegradable and thus, environmentally friendly.
It is worth noting that sizing can be tricky.
This is an excellent value because the wooden shoe inserts are durable, natural, and eco-friendly.
- Made of 100% natural materials - cotton and wood
- No chemicals used in their production
- Actively Reduces Odors
- Helps avoid return of foot odor, athlete's foot and nail fungus
- Sizing for the inserts is a tad tricky. Order with care
- May not be effective for all foot odor
3. Rocket Pure Natural Mint Deodorizer
Water, peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus leaf, and thyme oils, as well as a few natural preservatives (to prevent the all-natural ingredients from growing bacteria of their own)
For those people who are concerned about using or being exposed to chemicals, this product is made of all natural ingredients.
The company offers a 100% Satisfaction guarantee or your money back.
The reason why it’s not higher on this list is because of the fact that some users didn’t think it was as effective as it should be. One reviewer specifically stated that that the weird combination of the spray and foot odor ruined their shoes.
- Lifetime guarantee
- Pleasant peppermint odor/ refreshing on feet
- Made of natural ingredients
- Reasonable price.
- Some users thought the smell mingles with the smell and causes a funky odor/ covers, doesn’t eliminate smells
- Results are short-lived
4. Cedar Shoe Trees
Cedar Wood is a natural deodorizer. It contains natural oils that help to eliminate odors.
The form fitting shape of shoe stretches helps to keep the shoes in tip top condition.
Shoe stretchers are generally a good deal. They hold the shoes in shape, and impart a fresh cedar scent.
- Made of cedar wood
- Helps keep shoes formed when not in use, increasing the life of the shoes
- Many are adjustable
- Many have nodes to prevent common pressure points on the foot.
- Some of these stretchers can be cheaply made
- Not all of them are true to size
- Not all of them come with the pressure relieving nodes
5. Sof Sole Sneaker Balls
This product is small enough to go almost anywhere. It’s good for shoes, gym bags, and lockers and doesn't take up much room.
It effectively covers stinky shoe odors. However, some reviewers did not like the smell while other thought it did not last as long as they expected it to.
For what it is, it's a great deal.
- Small enough for small spaces
- Easy to use
- Reasonably priced
- Works well
- Lots of designs
- Only provides temporary relief for odors
- Not long lasting, depending on the application
- It’s spherical and tends to roll around.
6. Mini Moso Natural Charcoal Air Purifying Bag
The product is, according to its product description, nontoxic, fragrance free, and contains no chemicals. This is important for people who want to avoid being exposed to chemicals for whatever reason.
It is also able to be recycled by dumping the charcoal into the garden, instead of having it occupy space in a landfill.
However, the product maybe more of a good preventative measure as it only seems to remove moisture and not the odors themselves.
This is a great value for what it is able to do, with the added bonus of it being both nontoxic and environmentally friendly.
- Contains no chemicals, or odors for those sensitive to such things
- Environmentally friendly and recyclable
- Long-lasting - it's good for two years
- Refreshes by exposure to sunlight
- May not work as effectively as what the product claims.
- May not do anything if the shoes are already stinky.
7. StinkBOSS Shoe Deodorizer
This machine is electrical & mechanical which is important to know about if you’re not wanting to mess with devices that have cords and/or have moving parts.
Because it deodorizes with ozone, it doesn’t use chemicals or fragrances to remove odors.
This is a good deal for an enclosed deodorizing system. The reason why it’s not higher on the list is because of the cost, the mechanical parts tend to break down, and the machine itself produces a smell.
- One year limited warranty
- Uses mild heat (don’t have to worry about items catching afire)
- Environmentally friendly
- Refreshes shoes and gear (doesn’t simply mask smells)
- Stinks up the area with ozone
- Uses electricity
- Fan can break down
- May ruin certain types of sports gear
8. DryGuy DX Forced Air Shoe Dryer
The machine is quite large. The dimensions are 12” X 15” x 7.5”. This is something to consider for people who don’t have much space.
On the pricey side.
- Dries shoes and garments without ruining them
- Simple to use - Plug in and use
- Automatic shut-off
- Helps to eliminate odors due to moisture
- 1 year warranty
- Uses no chemicals or fragrances to deodorize
- Comes with extensions for boots
- Uses electricity
- May require more than one cycle to
- Bulky and heavy
- Prone to tipping
- Blows air around if all slots aren’t being used
9. Kendal Ultraviolet Deodorizer
It uses UV light to kill bacteria and fungus and has an automatic shut off.
The device itself is cheaper than some of the others on the market, but the replacement bulbs are quite expensive.
- Eliminates odors through UV light
- Auto Shut off
- Easy to use
- Kills fungus
- UV Light may harm eyes. Be careful when using.
- May not be as effective as advertised
- Shoes/boots may also need to be dry.
10. Kiwi Select Fresh Force
Ethanol/SD Alcohol 40, Isobutane, Butane, & Propane
Spray Container offers good coverage.
Some users are concerned about exposing themselves to chemicals and fragrances. Users also noted it had a strong smell.
A good value, but the container is small.
- It’s a spray container, so you’re not touching chemicals.
- Convenient, small size
- Works effectively all day
- Easy to use
- Works immediately
- Some users didn’t appreciate the smell.
- Too small of a container
There are a wide variety of deodorizing products on the market. All of them have pros and cons as to their use. Go through this list, carefully weighing the pros and cons to determine if any of these offered solutions are the right fit for you. If something partially works, you may need to use multiple products and/or take other steps in order to have what you’re using to be more effective.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation of the Best Shoe Deodorizers
It’s a universal truth (although not a good one)- feet stink. And, when you feet stink, so do your shoes. Many things cause foot and shoe odor, including sweat, bacteria, dirt, and trapped moisture. However, to defunk your footwear, there are a variety of shoe deodorizers available on the market. They aren’t all the same, so we created this buying guide to help you choose the one that suits your needs.
There is a set of metrics we applied when choosing the shoe deoderizers that made our list. The metrics we used are based on product research and reviews about the deoderizers that are available on the market, as well as questions that are commonly asked about this type over-the-counter remedy. Each of the key factors in creating our list of the best shoe deoderizers is explained below.
What are the active ingredients in this product?
Shoe deodorizers, like any over-the-counter treatment, have a variety of active ingredients to tackle foot odor. These ingredients will differ based on which product you choose to purchase.
Some of the most common ingredients found in shoe smell fighting products include:
- Baking soda: This all-natural ingredient absorbs foot and shoe odors in the same way it absorbs them from you refrigerator.
- Aluminum Chloride: This is the top recommended ingredient for excessive sweating by dermatologists and other medical professionals. It works by altering the cells that produce sweat.
- Calendula: This plant extract has been proven to have antifungal properties as strong as prescription antifungal medications.
- Zinc Oxide: Yes, this is the same ingredient found in your anti-dandruff shampoo and your baby’s diaper rash cream. However, it has many applications, including fighting foot odors. It is absorbed into your pores, which shrinks them to decrease the amount of sweat produced.
- Essential Oils: One of the most common essential oils found in shoe and foot deodorizing products is tea tree oil, although many others are also used. Essential oils are not only strongly scented, but many also contain bacteria fighting properties, which eliminates the cause of the odor in the first place, rather than just cover it up.
- Cedarwood: Using a cedarwood insert in your shoe is just like using cedar in your closet- it hides and sucks up bad odors.
- Charcoal: Charcoal foot deodorizing products are unscented, as charcoal has no smell of its own. It will, however, absorb any odors in your shoe, making it seem like there was no smelly problem in the first place.
- UV Light: UV light is used in a variety of industries for sterilization purposes. UV light kills cells by damaging their DNA, so when you use UV light to deodorize your shoes, you are killing the fungus, bacteria, and mold that is causing the unpleasant odors.
How is this product applied or used?
Shoe deodorizers can be applied in a variety of ways. Some are more messy or time consuming than others.
- Creams: These are usually packaged in a tube, and must be squeezed and spread on your foot. This can be a messy process.
- Powders: Powders are usually sprinkled on the foot or in the shoe. Powders are the messiest type of shoe deodorizer of all because it is difficult to control where the powder will land.
- Sprays: A spray comes in a pump bottle, and is sprayed directly to the foot or shoe. They are usually fast absorbing. Although not as messy as a powder, there is still a slight risk of getting spray in an area you would rather not.
- Soaks: Foot soaks usually come in a crystal or salt-like form, and are poured into your bath water or a foot tub.
- Inserts: Shoe inserts, well, are inserted into your shoe! They are usually like shoe insoles, although some are meant to be worn all the time, while others should only be put in the shoe when you aren’t wearing them.
- UV Light Machine: This is the shoe deodorizer that takes up the most space, so you will need to make sure you have a place to store it as well as a source of electricity nearby to power it.
How effective is this product in battling shoe odor?
The smell-fighting ingredients in shoe deodorizers have different strength levels, and this is what determines how effective the product you chose will be in battling shoe odor. Some products will just mask the odor, but won’t fight the underlying cause of it- bacteria, fungus, and the like. Other products will mask and treat the causes of odor. And some products, like charcoal and baking soda, eliminate odors without leaving a strong scent behind.
How long do the effects of this product last?
This also differs based on the active ingredients in the product you choose and its application. Some products will only fight odors overnight, while others promise more long-lasting effects, up to 6 months!
Other Important Factors to Consider When Making Your Choice
There are other details that you should consider when selecting a shoe deodorizer to get rid of unwanted and offensive smells.You should choose a shoe deodorizer that addresses the symptoms you exhibit and what is causing those symptoms.
To help make this decision a little easier, below are some extra features you should consider when shopping for a shoe deodorizer:
This seems like a “duh,” but sometimes we forget that we wear certain pairs of shoes all the time. For example, someone that wears work boots probably only has one pair, and wears them for 8-10 hours each day at a minimum. They are bound to get stinky. The same applies to running or workout shoes. Even though you aren’t wearing them as long as work boots, your feet sweat a lot when you run and exercise, and most people only have one pair of workout shoes, so that one pair is collecting sweat and bacteria. Again, they are bound to be smelly.
If the shoes that smell are ones you wear all the time, you will want to look for a strong product that works quickly and can be used long term. If you the offensive odors are coming from shoes that you only wear occasionally, you should consider a product meant for occasional use, or actually consider that your feet may be the source of the odor, rather than the smell getting “trapped” in your shoes.
As with all over-the-counter products, read the ingredients label! Do not purchase a product that has a known allergen (for you personally) in it. The last thing you want is to have smelly feet that are also covered in hives!
Some odor fighting products require every day (even multiple times a day) application, along with a waiting period, while others require just a quick moment to utilize. If you don’t have time to soak your feet in a tub or wait for a cream to be absorbed, you might want to pick a product that requires less of your time, like a fast acting spray or an insole that simply has to be slipped into your shoe. The products won’t be effective if you don’t use them consistently.
Q: What causes shoe odors?
A: There are a variety of causes of shoe odor, and oftentimes, we are victims of more than one of them at the same time. The seven most common causes of shoe odor are:
- A lack of ventilation
- When you shoes aren’t properly ventilated, your feet can’t breathe. This means that sweat and moisture get trapped in your shoe, cause bacteria to grow, and then end up stinking. Some materials, like leather and suede, are notorious for trapping moisture. So, be sure to choose shoes made from breathable materials.
- If you wear the same shoes over and over (and over and over!) again, the sweat that naturally occurs during daily wear, or even rigorous wear (think running) doesn’t have enough time to dry out. This harbors bacteria and makes your shoes smell. Try to rotate shoes if you can.
- Dirty feet
- You feet go in your shoes. So, anything that is going on with your feet will also affect your shoes, including cleanliness. Making sure to wash your feet well every day will remove the dirt and bacteria that can make your shoes smell. Make sure you dry them well, too!
- As I already mentioned (see dirty feet above), if it’s on your feet, it’s in your shoes. When you are stricken with a foot fungus that makes your feet smell, it will also make your shoes smell. An over-the-counter anti fungal medication should do the trick, as well as deodorizing your shoes.
- Shoes need washing
- Shoes, like all of our other wardrobe staples, need to be washed now and again. If your shoes get extra sweaty from a really vigorous workout or get soaked in water, make sure you wash them to freshen them up. A sprinkle of baking soda afterward will help keep them smelling fresh for longer.
- Washing shoes incorrectly
- If you do decide to wash your shoes, make sure you do it correctly! Throw them in the washer on the gentle cycle (with detergent… that is very important) or hand scrub them with your laundry detergent. Make sure you let them dry fully before wearing them again. If you don’t, you not only risk continued smelliness, but also having mold grow in your shoes.
- Wearing old or no socks
- Socks are meant to absorb sweat. However, if your socks are so worn that they are no longer absorbing the moisture or you choose to not wear socks, that smelly wetness is going directly into your shoes, and – you guessed it- makes them smell. A good pair of socks is a great investment not just for comfort, but also preventing shoe odors.
Q: How do I know which shoe deodorizer is right for me?
A: When choosing a shoe deodorizer, you need to consider a variety of factors. These include the source of the odor, any allergies you might have, and how much money you are willing to spend on the product. Additionally, you want to consider how much time you are willing and able to dedicate to fighting shoe odor. This may sound silly, but if the application or use of the product is too time consuming or complicated, you are less likely to use it consistently, and therefore the product becomes less effective.
Q: Are there any natural shoe deodorizers available on the market? I don’t want to use any harsh chemicals.
A: Yes, there are, and you may even have some of them in your home right now.
- Baking soda can be sprinkled into your shoes to help absorb and fight smelly odors. For an even greater effect, throw your shoes in the freezer overnight (after placing them in a plastic bag, of course).
- Essential oils can be spritzed or sprinkled into your shoes to help hide odors and fight bacteria. Tea tree oil is one of the most popular for this task.
- Orange peels can be placed inside your shoes overnight. They will absorb the bad odors and leave your shoes smelly citrusy fresh.
- Vanilla extract can be sprinkled onto a piece of newspaper, which then gets stuffed into your shoe. Leave it overnight, and voila, your shoe will smell like a cupcake rather than stinky feet.
Additionally, there are many recipes for making your own shoe deodorizing products on the internet, so give it a search and see which ones you like best.
Q: Are any shoe deodorizers reusable? I don’t want to constantly purchase products or harm the environment.
A: Yes, there are a few multi-use products for long term care.
A UV sterilization machine can be used for the life of the machine. These are a fairly expensive option, thought.
Charcoal deodorizing bags are meant to be placed in your shoes each night to absorb odors. These last a pretty long time, and don’t have to be replaced until you feel they have stopped absorbing the odors.
Insoles are placed into your shoe for everyday wear, or overnight on a daily basis. Like charcoal deodorizing bags, you can use the insoles until you notice they are no longer absorbing the bad smells, or, if they are wearable insoles, until they wear out.
Q: My shoe deodorizer isn’t working. My shoes still stink! What should I do?
A: There are three questions you should ask yourself if you find that the product you chose is ineffective:
- Am I using the product consistently and according to the directions?
- Directions are provided with over the counter products for a reason- that is how scientists and medical professionals found the products works best. If you aren’t following the product’s directions, it probably isn’t going to give you the results you want. Similarly, if you aren’t applying the product consistently as directed, it won’t be effective in fighting odors either.
- Is this product strong enough for my needs?
- You might be experiencing a shoe odor problem that is more severe than the product you have chosen can handle. See if the product you chose has an “extra strength” formula, or maybe choose a product with a different active ingredient.
- Is the problem actually my feet?
- If you are using the strongest product possible, and are following the directions to a T, and you are still experiencing shoe odor, the problem may actually be your feet. You may be experiencing a fungal or bacterial issue that should be addressed by a physician and may need to be treated with a prescription strength medication. So, if your shoe odor doesn’t seem to be disappearing and you have tried every product on the pharmacy shelf, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor.
Here is a list of sources we used when conducting our research:
We utilize many different resources while trying to provide the best information to our readers. Some are scholarly or clinical sources, some are information provided by medical and dietary professionals, and some sources are even other sites which may specialize in information that is relevant to our topic.
- Top 13 Best Foot Odor Control Products, Sep 02, 2015 ,
- How to Clean Smelly Sneakers, Informational website, ,
- Stop The Stink, Running enthusiast publication, Sep 04, 2014 ,
- How to Get Rid of Shoe Odor, Health & Fitness Publication, Sep 13, 2009 ,
- How Can I Keep My Running Shoes From Getting Stinky?, Healthy Living Publication, Dec 01, 2016 ,
- How To Clean Your Running Shoes, General Information Website, Apr 29, 2013 ,