What can I do about smelly shoes?

Smelly shoes can be frustrating and embarrassing. It is important to know that the odor typically comes from bacteria that thrives in the dark, damp home that your shoes provide. Most shoes have removable insoles. Take them out and either dry them out or replace them with new ones that are designed to kill bacteria. 

To keep odor at bay, it is important to keep shoes dry. Rotate the ones you wear every day and dry your shoes out in the sun or near a heater. Try an antifungal powder or spray to help eliminate bacteria or put your shoes in the freezer in a plastic bag. The freezing temperature will kill most of the odor-causing bacteria. Store bought odor removers or household baking soda allowed to absorb overnight can work effectively as well. 

Smelly shoes are often a result of sweaty feet. Always wear socks in closed shoes, wash feet daily, check for fungal infections and practice good foot hygiene to keep bacteria at bay.


Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle