Best Shoe Deodorizers Reviewed
For those that prefer a more traditional approach using natural substances, the same wide array of choices are available for runners. The market is well covered with product choices which fit the many different tastes of runners/consumers. 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 review will only look at the deodorizing properties of each of the items, ranking them according to their effectiveness, ease of use, and cost.
- Dr. Scholl's Odor X
- Zederna Cedar Wood Inserts
- Rocket Pure Natural Mint Deodorizer
- Lumi Outdoors extra Strength Natural Odor Eliminator
- RightFoot Foot and Shoe deodorizer
- Cedar Shoe Trees
- Sof Sole Sneaker Balls
- Mini Moso Natural Charcoal Air Purifying Bag
- StinkBOSS Shoe Deodorizer
- DryGuy DX Forced Air Shoe Dryer
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Shoe Deodorizers
1. Dr. Scholl's Odor X
Lasts for a long while
Pleasant, albeit strong odor
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 products they have in their arsenal. The powder cools the feet and deodorizes shoes.Read more
Cornstarch, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Bicarbonate, Kaolin, Fragrance, & Chloroxylenol
The 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
Made of 100% natural materials - cotton and wood
No chemicals used in their production
Actively Reduces Odors
Helps avoid the 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
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
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. Rocket Pure Natural Mint Deodorizer
Pleasant peppermint odor/ refreshing on feet
Made of natural ingredients
Some users thought the smell mingles with the smell and causes a funky odor/ covers, doesn’t eliminate smells
Results are short-lived
Rocket Pure Natural Mint Foot Deodorant Spray and Shoe Deodorizer helps to eliminate the stench caused by sweat and bacteria. Perfect for runners with stinky feet.Read more
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.
Cost and Value
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.
4. Lumi Outdoors extra Strength Natural Odor Eliminator
All natural ingredients
Powerfull anti-bacterial agents
Powerful anti-fungal agents
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 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
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 ant-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 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
Natural effective ingredients
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 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 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.Read more
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.
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 product is a little bit higher but its value comes in the natural treatment it offers.
6. Cedar Shoe Trees
Made of cedar wood
Helps to 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
Instead of reviewing a specific product for this entry, this item on the list is a category by itself. There are a variety of cedar shoe stretchers (sometimes called shoe trees) on the market, they all do about the same thing.Read more
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.
Cost and Value
Shoe stretchers are generally a good deal. They hold the shoes in shape and impart a fresh cedar scent.
7. Sof Sole Sneaker Balls
Small enough for small spaces
Easy to use
Lots of designs
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
The product is made using TX3 odor blocker
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 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. Mini Moso Natural Charcoal Air Purifying Bag
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.
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
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.
IThe 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 nontoxic and environmentally friendly.
9. StinkBOSS Shoe Deodorizer
One year limited warranty
Uses mild heat (don’t have to worry about items catching afire)
Refreshes shoes and gear (doesn’t simply mask smells)
Stinks up the area with ozone
Fan can break down
May ruin certain types of sports gear
The DryGuy DX Forced Air Boot Dryer and Garment Dryer is a machine that refreshes non-washable shoes and sports gear by killing odor causing bacteria by circulating ozone through items placed inside, allowing the items to last longer.Read more
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.
Cost and Value
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.
10. DryGuy DX Forced Air Shoe Dryer
Dries shoes and garments without ruining them
Simple to use - Plug in and use
Helps to eliminate odors due to moisture
Uses no chemicals or fragrances to deodorize
Comes with extensions for boots
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
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
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 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.
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. 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.
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.
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!
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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- 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 ,