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Best Shoe Odor Sprays and Deodorizers Reviewed

last updated Nov 01, 2019
If you’re a runner or an athlete, it’s probably no surprise that you’re looking for the best shoe deodorizers—after all, sometimes it’s hard to keep your shoes completely odor free, especially if you use them a lot.

Whether you want a shoe odor spray or a different device, the shoe odor eliminator and shoe freshener will take care of your smelly shoe problems and keep your shoes fresh and help you fight odor and bacteria build-up. If you prefer a more traditional or natural approach, we have products for you here—or if you want something that will mask the odor and prevent them and aren’t worried about chemicals, then we have that for you too.

Keep scrolling to find the best shoe deodorizers!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research

icon
Dr. Scholl's Odor X
98.3/100 our score
Features
98
Use
99
Effectiveness
99
Durability
97
Dr. Scholl's Odor X
Why is it better?

Cheap

Lasts for a long while

Absorbs sweat

Pleasant, albeit strong odor

Fast Working

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Dr. Scholl's Odor X
Test Winner: Dr. Scholl's Odor X
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
18
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1000
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
16
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
12
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Giselle Killebrew:

The newest addition to our list is the UV Sanitizer sterilizer. It is a more innovative product and won’t require any sprays or powders that you will have to go back and buy when you run out. We also added more information on other parts of our page so make sure to take a look past the products to learn more about how we made our top picks.

Sorting Options
Features Use Effectiveness Durability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.3
Features
98 %
Use
99 %
Effectiveness
99 %
Durability
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.19)
Amazon Link
$14.85
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Features
97 %
Use
96 %
Effectiveness
97 %
Durability
99 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.19)
Amazon Link
$44.70
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
Features
98 %
Use
97 %
Effectiveness
96 %
Durability
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.19)
Amazon Link
$13.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.3
Features
97 %
Use
96 %
Effectiveness
94 %
Durability
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.19)
Amazon Link
$12.95
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Features
97 %
Use
94 %
Effectiveness
95 %
Durability
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.19)
Amazon Link
$13.50
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Features
96 %
Use
93 %
Effectiveness
96 %
Durability
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.19)
Amazon Link
$30.98
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Features
94 %
Use
91 %
Effectiveness
92 %
Durability
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.19)
Amazon Link
$10.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Features
91 %
Use
92 %
Effectiveness
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.19)
Amazon Link
$139.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.3
Features
91 %
Use
92 %
Effectiveness
90 %
Durability
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.19)
Amazon Link
$9.95
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.3
Features
90 %
Use
87 %
Effectiveness
90 %
Durability
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.19)
Amazon Link
$77.62

Find the Best Shoe Odor Eliminator

1. Dr. Scholl's Odor X

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.3
Dr. Scholl's Odor X
Amazon Link
Features
98
Use
99
Effectiveness
99
Durability
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.85
Pros:

Cheap

Lasts for a long while

Absorbs sweat

Pleasant, albeit strong odor

Fast Working

Cons:

The powder may be messy, even from the container when closed

Isn’t effective for fungal infections and may exasperate them

The Dr. Scholl's Odor X All Day Deodorant Powder is just one example of the many excellent deodorizing shoe odor eliminators they have in their arsenal. The powder cools the feet and deodorizes shoes.

Read more

Ingredients

Cornstarch, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Bicarbonate, Kaolin, Fragrance, & Chloroxylenol

Key Features

The shoe freshener powder is easy to use but can be messy. The fragranced to cover odors, but some users may be irritated by the fragrance.

Cost and Value

This is the best value out there. Cheap and effective. But do understand if you buy, it is a powder and maybe a tad messy.

2. Zederna Cedar Wood Inserts

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Zederna Cedar Wood Inserts
Amazon Link
Features
97
Use
96
Effectiveness
97
Durability
99
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$44.70
Pros:

Made of 100% natural materials - cotton and wood

Handcrafted

No chemicals used in their production

Actively Reduces Odors

Helps avoid the return of foot odor, athlete's foot, and nail fungus

Cons:

Sizing for the inserts is a tad tricky. Order with care

May not be effective for all foot odor

Zederna Cedar Wood Inserts are a thin insert for the shoe with a pleasant scent. They are 100% natural, made of cedar wood and cotton, totally without chemicals.

Read more

Key Features

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.

Cost and Value

This is an excellent value because the wooden shoe inserts are durable, natural, and eco-friendly.

3. Sprayzee

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
Sprayzee shoe odor spray
Amazon Link
Features
98
Use
97
Effectiveness
96
Durability
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.95
Pros:

Can be used on anything

Safe for kids

100% all natural

Antifungal

Cons:

Strong aroma

Bottle malfunctions

Made with all natural ingredients, Sprayzee is rated one of the top natural foot deodorizers and shoe odor sprays on the market. Because it is all-natural, it can be used on more than just feet. Sprayzee shoe odor spray is made with active smells in mind. It is like an all-natural deodorizer for life. With an Apple Cider vinegar base, it is guaranteed to kill off smelly bacteria naturally and quick while leaving an essential oil-infused aroma.

Read more

Ingredients

Sprayzee is packed with powerful essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree and peppermint leaving your fresh minty smelling while eliminating odor-causing bacteria. The Apple cider is a natural neutralizer and is loaded with antimicrobial benefits that are also antibacterial. Also offering some antibacterial action is the Bergamo, which also adds some sweet citrus scents to the spray. Mix that with some White Thyme and you got quite the herbal tea mixture for eliminating odors. You'll definitely feel better waffing around citrus and Eucalyptus that that strange foot odor growing in your unprotected sweaty shoes.

Key features

Sprayzee shoe odor eliminator isn't just for feet. Although it is made for them, we have to share how versatile it actually is. If you have uniforms or pads, maybe a locker, this can be used the same way as you do for your shoes; spray them down for a quick freshen up or use it as an open-air freshener. Sprayzee is all-purpose and doesn't have all those cancer-causing agents found in most air freshening products. It was made with all those special ingredients because of what they offer in not only eliminating odor but also for their disinfecting properties, which also is known for killing fungus. Yep, that is right, Spryazee is also a foot fungus spray, which can be used for other growths in those dirty pads we mentioned before. We find it is a magic mist for athletes of all kinds.

Value

Sprayzee offers tons of benefits for such a simple natural product. For a low price, you get an all-purpose smell eliminator and fungus fighter. The fact you get a multi-use product says enough about what you get for your money and customer reviews seem to share their product claims.

4. Lumi Outdoors Natural Odor Eliminator

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.3
Lumi Outdoors Natural Odor Eliminator
Amazon Link
Features
97
Use
96
Effectiveness
94
Durability
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.95
Pros:

All natural ingredients

Powerfull anti-bacterial agents

Powerful anti-fungal agents

Nice smell

Cons:

Might cost a little more but well worth the investment

Extra strength treatment for your running shoes through the sprayed application of essential natural oils. The shoe odor eliminator products are natural and known to give a refreshingly cool and comfortable feel for feet while enhancing anti-fungal and anti-bacterial capabilities.

Around 22 types of odor-causing bacteria will be zapped by this extra strength spray while ensuring your shoes are odor-free.

Read more

Ingredients

PEPPERMINT is known for strong anti-fungal/anti-bacterial performance, it is a natural anti-bacterial agent, even used for this purpose in toothpaste. This fresh cooling essential oil is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties.  It is often used in toothpaste as an antiseptic to fight off harmful bacteria. This is not a marketing claim it is scientific fact.

EUCALYPTUS has similar properties performance to peppermint which is why it is added to soap and a wide variety of skin creams.

TEA TREE is an ancient and world very trusted for fighting not only bacteria but also infections/diseases, anti-bacterial and anti-viral capability

LEMONGRASS OIL has been proven to fight athletes foot, ringworm, jock itch, and possesses the same anti qualities as peppermint, tea tree oil etc.

CLOVE LEAF has the strongest anti-bacterial and anti-fungal performance and finally, we note the use of Apple Cider Vinegar in the ingredients and this is one of the natures exceptionally powerful cleaners with exceptional anti-microbial factors. Witch Hazel is another ingredient which is known to fight bacterial colonization and close skin pores protectively.

This treatment of this shoe freshener and shoe odor eliminator gives extra natural protection without any use of chemicals. Natural protection and sound elimination of odors through the killing the bacteria which cause the problems.

Cost and Value

Might cost a little more but well worth the investment due to its natural elements.

5. RightFoot Foot and Shoe deodorizer

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
RightFoot Foot and Shoe deodorizer
Amazon Link
Features
97
Use
94
Effectiveness
95
Durability
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.50
Pros:

No chemicals

Natural effective ingredients

Anti-bacterial

Anti-fungal

Nice smell

Cons:

Pay just a little more, get natural treatment

Made entirely from ingredients from natural sources, this will ensure your running shoes are free of odor. This is an alternative to antifungal sprays, powders and other alternatives with a recipe of chemicals.

The priority of RightFoot shoe deodorizer is your health and deodorized footwear, we provide this efficiently for all types of skin and odor/shoe related conditions in which odor are a problem through a 100% natural remedy.

RightFoot shoe odor spray works for athletes engaged in competitive activities which produce sweaty feet, in fact, use this product for any footwear for a natural odor free shoe. Provided with a nice range of scintillating aromatic scents.

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Ingredients

Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Polysorbate 20 & 80, Peppermint oil, Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus Oil and Thyme Oil all of which are carefully blended in the appropriate amounts giving top performance.

Key Features

Wipeout persistent shoe/foot odor through using 100% essential oils with antibacterial capabilities. Through the use of natural ingredients, this product is gentle and safe while tackling the most persistent odors and each 120ml bottle gives hundreds of sprayable shots.
Ingredients include tea tree oil, thyme, eucalyptus, and peppermint all much nicer smells that foul foot and shoe odor, this product can tackle very tough odors and remain gentle for the skin.

Directions to use are user-friendly, just spray into the shoe or directly onto the foot, for a refreshing and natural way to attain odor free shoes and feet.

Cost and Value

The price of this shoe deodorizer is a little bit higher but its value comes in the natural treatment it offers.

6. Dr. Scholl’s Odor -X Insoles

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Dr. Scholl’s Odor -X Insoles
Amazon Link
Features
96
Use
93
Effectiveness
96
Durability
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$30.98
Pros:

Multiple sizes

Adds cushioning

Absorbs sweat

Odor-X eliminates smell

Cons:

Sometimes they bunch up

Made with the same odor fighting action as our #1on this list, Dr. Scholl’s Odor -X Insoles offer the same 3x Triple Action all-day odor-fighting protection but without the fuss of the powder. They designed the sole to fit any foot, just measure and cut to your shoe size. They kill bacteria and eliminate odor while adding extra comfort and support. Dr. Scholl's proves to have every need covered depending on personal preference; nobody likes smelly feet but not everybody likes to put their feet in a cloud of powder either. Read more in-depth below about this shoe odor eliminator and shoe freshener.

Read more

Ingredients

Baking soda and activated charcoal are the main ingredients fighting odor in Dr. Scholls Odor-X insoles. They use an Air-Pillo insole to add comfort as well as SweatMax absorbing technology for a dry feeling all day. These are for those with extra sweaty feet. The baking soda dries and absorbs sweat as well as odor and the charcoal assists in eliminating smelly microbes from building up, preventing future smells.

Key features

Dr. Scholl's used a few different technologies in this Odor-X insole shoe deodorizer. It is aimed at killing odor but made to aid those that also sweat more than usual while adding extra cushioning. The Air-Pillo is for added comfort and is combined with SweatMax to absorb sweat. Add this to their Odor-X to keep odor away and you have the full fresh foot package. Sometimes powders just are not enough; some need that little extra. These offer more than just a basic deodorizer, and that is why it grabbed our attention for the Top 10.

Value

Affordable and functional; these are more than just for odor, they offer comfort and extreme sweat absorbency. Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X inserts are the full package at a good cost for those that are not a fan of powders or just need extra absorbency.

7. Sof Sole Sneaker Balls

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Sof Sole Sneaker Balls
Amazon Link
Features
94
Use
91
Effectiveness
92
Durability
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$10.99
Pros:

Small enough for small spaces

Easy to use

Reasonably priced

Works well

Lots of designs

Cons:

Only provides temporary relief for odors

Not long lasting, depending on the application

It’s spherical and tends to roll around

The Sof Sole Sneaker Balls Shoe, Gym Bag and Locker Deodorizer is a tiny spherical deodorizer that covers the smelliest of odors, leaving behind a fresh scent.

Read more

Ingredients

The product is made using TX3 odor blocker

Key Features

This shoe deodorizer 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 others thought it did not last as long as they expected it to.

Cost and Value

For what it is, it's a great deal.

8. Elite Foot Deodorizer Spray

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Elite Foot Deodorizer Spray
Amazon Link
Features
91
Use
92
Effectiveness
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$139.99
Pros:

All natural

Moisturizing

Kills bacteria

Nice smell

Cons:

Tingly sensation

Has a film

Elite Foot Deodorizer spray controls odor while taking care of the feet. It moisturizes and leaves the feet feeling silky and smooth due to its essential oil base and other natural ingredients. Their foot deodorizer helps keep feet dry from sweat as well, while still moisturizing those cracked heels. More or less, this shoe odor spray is a well-rounded foot care product with great deodorizing power.

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Ingredients

With a long list of natural ingredients including lavender, peppermint and myrrh, Elite Foot Spray is like a spa for your feet. The combination of all-natural ingredients works magic killing all that smelly bacteria leaving you odor and sweat-free. There are no heavy metals, parabens or harsh chemicals and Elite has a 100% non-toxic ingredient guarantee to back its claim.

Key features

Elite Foot Deodorizing Spray for Athletes is packed with nutrients for your feet and they made sure to put virtually every natural herb and oil in there to assure all areas of good foot care are covered. They made their shoe odor spray a smelly microbe and bacteria-killing machine while adding other ingredients that absorb sweat and heal damaged skin. Elite even has tea-tree and cayenne in there for a cooling an activating effect for athletes that suffer from foot fatigue.

Value

Not only are they super affordable, Elite once again backs up their shoe odor spray with a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not 100% satisfied. We added them to our Top 10 list because not only do they back up their product with great guarantees, they are also affordable and seriously offer a fantastic all-natural product for your feet that works.

9. Mini Moso Natural Charcoal Air Purifying Bag

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.3
Mini Moso Natural Charcoal Air Purifying Bag
Amazon Link
Features
91
Use
92
Effectiveness
90
Durability
88
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.95
Pros:

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

Affordable

Cons:

May not work as effectively as what the product claims.

May not do anything if the shoes are already stinky.

The Mini Moso Natural Charcoal Air Purifying Bag is a mesh bag filled with Moso Bamboo Charcoal that works by absorbing excess moisture.

Read more

Ingredients

The shoe odor eliminator is, according to its product description, non-toxic, fragrance-free, and contains no chemicals. This is important for people who want to avoid being exposed to chemicals for whatever reason.

Key Features

The product 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 may be more of a good preventative measure as it only seems to remove moisture and not the odors themselves.

Cost and Value

This is a great value for what it is able to do, with the added bonus of it being both non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

10. DryGuy DX Forced Air Shoe Dryer

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.3
DryGuy DX Forced Air Shoe Dryer
Amazon Link
Features
90
Use
87
Effectiveness
90
Durability
86
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$77.62
Pros:

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

Cons:

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

The DryGuy DX Forced Air Boot Dryer and Garment Dryer uses gentle heat and air to dry shoes, boots, and garments.

Read more

Key Features

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.

Cost and Value

Compared to other product, this one on the pricey side.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Features

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 deodorizers include:

Baking soda: This all-natural ingredient absorbs foot and shoe odors in the same way it absorbs them from your 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.

Use

Shoe deodorizers can be applied in a variety of ways. Some are messier or more 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. The shoe odor sprays 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 inserts, 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.

Effectiveness

The odor-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 "shoe odor eliminators" will mask and treat the causes of odor. And some products, like charcoal and baking soda, eliminate odors without leaving a strong scent behind.

Make sure to take a look at reviews from other users if you aren't sure about a shoe deodorizer's overall effectiveness--this is what we did when compiling our list of best shoe deodorizers. Keep in mind that some users may need something that is stronger than other users, so it is important to consider your specific needs here as well. Effectiveness is not up to just the product in this situation but also depends on whether it is designed to address your specific odor needs.

Durability

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! While most of the powders and sprays don't really fall in line here to a certain extent, other products on our list do.

We have a sterilizer here, for example, as well as other shoe deodorizers that are not shoe odor sprays or powders. It is important to take note of when specific parts will need to be replaced and how long they are designed to last. It is also important to take note of how long they are designed to last. Make sure to take care of them appropriately if you want them to last as long as they are supposed to.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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Tips and Tricks

There are lots of things you can do to keep your smelly shoe under control--which will also help you extend the life of your shoes as well. Keeping a spray or powder in your gym bag is a helpful trick if you find that you often forget to spray or powder your shoes--this will remind you to do it after each workout, so you don't have to worry about doing it later. Develop a routine that will help you remember to deodorize your shoes on a regular basis--so you make it a part of your regular routine.

To wash or not to wash--that is the question!

Some shoes can be machine washable but it is important to check with the manufacturer and see if you can actually toss yours in the washer. If your shoes are machine washable then this is a great solution to help keep your shoes smelling fresh--however, it is not something we recommend you do often. Make sure you air dry them and avoid throwing your shoes in the dryer.

Other Factors to Consider

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, when you are looking for something that will help prevent odor in your shoes from forming then you need to invest in the right products--and sometimes that means getting more than one. The best thing about our list is that we have a lot of different options available so you can pick more than one. This is especially important if you have particularly "heavy duty" shoes when it comes to bad odors.

If you have gotten athletes foot then you also know how annoying that it can be. Some of the selections on our list will actually kill off the fungi on your shoes that cause this so you can actively prevent odors from forming and get rid of any bacteria or fungus that may be trying to wreak havoc on your shoes.

At the end of the day, you know what your needs are better than we do. We have compiled a list of the best shoe deodorizers and have made sure to include all kinds of alternatives so you can even mix and match if you need to. Either way, make sure to keep in mind what you need and base your decision off of that.

Value

As far as value, shoe deodorizers are typically not that expensive--but there are some that are more pricey than others. When you think value, it's important that you don't just look at cost but also what the product will bring to your life. While some of the selection on our list are much more affordable than others, it's important to consider if they are the right product for you.

Of course, sprays and powders will be on the more affordable, but keep in mind that they will need to be replenished and may end up costing more money over time--depending on how often you end up going through them. If you have mild foot odor than these will do alone, but if you want to get the most out of the sprays and powders then you may want to also invest in sterilizer alternatives that will also help keep odors at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 your 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.

Overuse
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
Your 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!

Fungus
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 shoe smell. An over-the-counter antifungal 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 scrubs 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 in 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 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, though.

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 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 work 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.

Sources

  1. Smelly Feet Cures, Top 13 Best Foot Odor Control Products,
  2. WikiHow, How to Clean Smelly Sneakers, Informational website
  3. Runner's World, Stop The Stink, Running enthusiast publication
  4. LiveStrong.com, How to Get Rid of Shoe Odor, Health & Fitness Publication
  5. VeryWell.com, How Can I Keep My Running Shoes From Getting Stinky?, Healthy Living Publication
  6. Complex.com, How To Clean Your Running Shoes, General Information Website