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View Full Version : Soured Shoes - Suggestions?


Patrick Donnelly
03-07-2009, 10:25 PM
After plenty of cleaning, my weightlifting shoes are now in need of a cleaning of their own. They're stinking up my whole room and everything in it, and I'm not particularly fond of that. Can I simply put these through the washing machine? I fancy the suede exterior and the wooden heel wouldn't take too well to that. Could I put a slip of paper inside with a mound of baking soda on it to absorb the odors? Is there some sort of anti-smelling spray that would work well? What do you guys do? Do you even bother to clean them, or do you just accept the fact that they are indeed gym shoes, and as such, they will smell?

I had a similar problem with my Vibrams a few months ago. An extended vinegar-water bath worked for them. However, I wouldn't want to submit my squat shoes to the same submerging.


Any advice you could give would be very much appreciated.

George Mounce
03-08-2009, 04:57 AM
After plenty of cleaning, my weightlifting shoes are now in need of a cleaning of their own. They're stinking up my whole room and everything in it, and I'm not particularly fond of that. Can I simply put these through the washing machine? I fancy the suede exterior and the wooden heel wouldn't take too well to that. Could I put a slip of paper inside with a mound of baking soda on it to absorb the odors? Is there some sort of anti-smelling spray that would work well? What do you guys do? Do you even bother to clean them, or do you just accept the fact that they are indeed gym shoes, and as such, they will smell?

I had a similar problem with my Vibrams a few months ago. An extended vinegar-water bath worked for them. However, I wouldn't want to submit my squat shoes to the same submerging.


Any advice you could give would be very much appreciated.

Short term - spray with unscented Lysol and set out in sun and air for a week to kill off the bugs. After you use them, spray out each time. I did this for years with hockey gear and mine didn't reek while I didn't want to be on the same ice with some people.

Long term - wash feet more often. Get foot powder. I live in the moisture basket of the south and I don't have this stink problem with shoes (I always air out my VFFs and running/lifting shoes afterwards rather than throwing them in a closet) so its more about your feet than the shoes you are wearing.

Garrett Smith
03-08-2009, 07:27 AM
If you aren't wearing socks, you might want to start, shoes stink a lot less if socks are worn.

Patrick Donnelly
03-08-2009, 08:38 PM
I do wear socks with them - however, they aren't always fresh. If I happen to be wearing Injinji socks for my Vibrams that day, I sometimes have to wear them twice before washing, since I don't own enough pairs to make it through the week. I'll start making sure that I pack a fresh pair of "normal" socks each day.

My mother recommended damping the inside of the shoe with ammonia and allowing it to air dry. Repeating this several times would help get the smell out of the leather, I'm told. I might give this a shot to help cleanse the shoe, then follow up with foot powder on myself as necessary. I trust her advice, so unless someone here has a horror story to tell about using that same method, you guys might also want to remember it in case you ever have to clean your shoes again in the future.

Note 1: I got these in March... of last year. So, honestly, I'm surprised they lasted this long before gathering a funk. The Vibram Sprints will reek within 2-3 days of a rainstorm.

Note 2: Coincidentally, I decided to start going barefoot two days ago. (This is after the smell showed up, but was a decision independent of that.) I'm so used to Vibrams now that going entirely barefoot is hardly a challenge for me, and I think it feels refreshing. I wonder how this will affect my foot's smelliness.

George Mounce
03-09-2009, 05:13 AM
Note 2: Coincidentally, I decided to start going barefoot two days ago. (This is after the smell showed up, but was a decision independent of that.) I'm so used to Vibrams now that going entirely barefoot is hardly a challenge for me, and I think it feels refreshing. I wonder how this will affect my foot's smelliness.

Being completely barefoot will help the smelliness, fresh air all the time! The stuff that smells bad likes dark, moist places, and feet out in open aren't a happy habitat for that funk.

Chris Rice
03-09-2009, 05:31 AM
I Googled stinking shoes and this was the first thing that came up - I haven't tried it but it looked like it might work ???

If you are an athlete or have particularly sweaty feet, you know what I'm talking about. You wear two pairs of socks and your feet still sweat through to your shoes
, causing major shoe odor. If you wear work boots in the warm weather, you might even need to pass out protective face masks to your family when you take them off at night. There are shoe inserts on the market as well as powders, sprays and creams, but they are quite expensive and not practical for use on children. There is an easy and inexpensive way to deoderize your shoes using something you can find in your local grocery store and it only costs pennies per use. Cat litter. If you have a cat, great! You already have the ingredients. If not, a ten pound bag
of cat litter only costs a couple of dollars and you can deoderize your shoes for a year with one bag! Follow these easy steps to stench-free shoes and sneakers!

1.Take two old knee-hi stockings, or cut off the lower portion of a pair of panty hose to get two tubes.

2. Fill the stockings with kitty litter, the chunkier kind works best, sand litters may leak through the stockings and into your shoes. Look for a good 'odor absorbing' brand. If you don't have a cat, the ten pound bag will last you a long time. Tie a knot in the tops of the stockings.

3. Stuff the litter-filled stockings, one into each shoe and let them sit overnight, or for a few days if they are really ripe.

This will work on any kind of shoe of any size, just adjust the amount of litter you use to fit the shoe. Now you won't have to throw away smelly shoes and you can save the used cat litter to throw on the ice on your sidewalk in the winter time! One word of caution: if you have a cat, don't leave your shoes on the floor while they are being deoderized or you may get a surprise you hadn't bargained for!