Whether you're running around at work in flats or hitting the gym in a pair of sneakers, foot odor can seem inevitable after a long day. This is where the best odor eliminators for shoes come in.
Your options come in many forms, including deodorizing sprays, sticks, balls, and special pouches (the latter of which are often like potpourri for your feet). This means that there's sure to be a product that works well for your needs and routine. To help you out, I spent some time scouring Amazon and reading reviews to find the best options with the highest ratings.
Of the items listed below, some work like perfumes, adding fragrance to mask the smell, while others actually neutralize the unwanted smell (by tackling bacteria and absorbing odor). Some even do both. In the end, it doesn't matter which kind you go with — just keep in mind that if you choose an option with essential oils, you'll want to make sure to keep it away from pets since some can be irritating and even toxic to animals. Also, keep in mind that options with a strong scent might not be a good match if you have allergies or other sensitivities.
With these considerations in mind, check out the best odor eliminators for shoes below.
1. These Mini Pouches That Use Bamboo Charcoal To Neutralize Odor
What's great about them: Filled with 100% bamboo charcoal, these miniature shoe-deodorizing pouches have over 3,000 reviews on Amazon and will last for up to two years. Once a month, or whenever they seem to be losing their potency, simply leave them out in the sun for a bit to reactivate their odor-neutralizing powers. Rather than adding artificial scents to your shoes, they neutralizes the odor, leaving them fresh-smelling. Just slide one inside each shoe when you take them off and let the recyclable charcoal works its magic.
What fans say: "These pretty little bags of charcoal are powerhouses for [deodorizing] your shoes [...] I walk my dog a mile twice a day, so my hiking shoes get a daily workout. I also must wear orthotics for problem feet, so my feet tend to sweat. When I take off my hikers at bedtime, I put these babies in the damp, smelly shoes overnight, and next morning voila! The shoes and orthotics are dry and have no smell."
2. A Set Of Sneaker Balls That You Simply Twist To Activate
What's great about them: Designed especially for shoes, these deodorizing sneaker balls, which last for six months, fit inside your footwear to eliminate odor. They do so via a quick-twist mechanism that unlocks a refreshing scent and infuses it into your shoes. With six compact balls in a set, this pick comes in five color schemes and patterns. However, the source of its scent isn't specified, so if you are sensitive to fragrances you may want to go with another option.
What fans say: "EVERYONE NEEDS THESE IN THEIR... SHOES! These little balls have been a life saver for me! ... These right here have been a blessing for my memory foam shoes! (Which come to find out, trap more stink in them than traditional bottoms)I have a set in every shoe I own!"
3. These Nontoxic Anti-Odor Sticks That Also Work For Your Gloves
What's great about them: These unique odor-absorbing shoe sticks are equipped with a special technology called Silver Seal that inhibits over 99% of the bacteria that causes your shoes to smell, thus, reducing odor. On top of that, they feature replaceable scented inserts that also absorb moisture and transfer pleasant essential oil aromas to your shoes. The silver technology lasts a whopping 10 years (although you need to replace the bags every three months). Best of all, they're long enough to use with gloves, too. Just be sure to keep these away from your pets.
What fans say: "My daughter dances up to 15 hours/week and the smell that comes from her dance shoes nearly makes me pass out. We've tried everything we can think of to help with the smell, but nothing seems to work. Purchased one of these after seeing it on Shark Tank. We immediately put it in her ballet shoes, and to our amazement, the foot odor was gone within 24 hours! The shoes actually smelled brand new! We immediately purchased 2 more for her other dance shoes."
4. This Sweet-Smelling Spray With Witch Hazel, Peppermint, & Lemon
What's great about it: This aromatic deodorizing spray, which is made with essential oils, can be used for your shoes as well as things like athletic gloves or your gym bag. It's formulated with witch hazel, peppermint oil, and lemon oil to neutralize smells while leaving a fragrant aroma behind. The transparent solution doesn't leave a stain behind and is easy to use — simply give your shoes a couple of spritzes and you're good to go.
What fans say: "I sprayed this in and on my smelly running shoes at night time after a run and wanted to see how it was in the morning. To my surprise, still smelled good in the morning! citrus-like and very pleasant!!! i recommend!!"
5. These Arm & Hammer Balls That Eliminate Odors With Baking Soda
What's great about it: These basic Arm & Hammer odor busters offer a simple way to keep your shoes smelling fresh. Just tuck one in each shoe near the toe area and they'll neutralize the odor with baking soda. Similarly to the activated charcoal bags, they remove the odor rather than masking it with pleasant scents. As a bonus, you can use them in your hamper, too.
What fans say: "The scent is very neutral and not strong. It absorbs the smell of the shoes, gym bags, and drawers. Totally recommended!"
6. These Moisture-Absorbing Insoles That Are Infused With A Blend Of Essential Oils
What's great about them: Not only do these cool deodorizing insoles tackle the issue of unwanted odors — they do it while you're wearing them, dealing with the problem at its source before bacteria has a chance to build up. Just slide them in and they'll they suck up sweat and other moisture to keep your feet feeling and smelling fresh. The lightweight insoles, which last for a full year, come in eight vibrant patterns and two different sizes.
What fans say: "This is the only product I have found that works! My shoes smell fresh and they dry quickly. This product has saved my shoes. I have also given them as gifts and everyone loves them."
7. A Tea Tree Oil Spray With Eucalyptus & Vitamin E
What's great about it: This fresh-smelling foot deodorizing spray features a blend of tea tree, peppermint, and eucalyptus oils, along with antifungal apple cider vinegar, to reduce odor. Even better, it's mixed with vitamin E and aloe vera so your feet don't get dry. The formula has a mild, pleasant grapefruit scent.
What fans say: "I have been using for 3 weeks, but I can say with complete confidence. This spray is amazing. I wear flats a lot. I can never get the little socks to stay on so I have bare feet in my flats. Producing not the greatest smell since I like to take my shoes off under my desk, so I couldn’t. Well I have had no issue since using this spray. Love it...Thank you!!"
8. These Natural Cedar Wood Rings That Can Be Used For Pest Control, Too
What's great about them: Made with real cedar wood, these all-natural deodorizer rings are multifunctional — while they're designed to be put on hangers to keep moths off your clothes, they also work for eliminating odors in shoes, musky basements, and smelly gym bags. The small, compact rings have a woodsy scent that's strong yet pleasant. They're 100% natural and come in a pack of 12.
What fans say: "I put them in my shoe closet- not on hangers but inside shoes. I’m not sure how long the cedar smell will last but these are flat discs and could be sanded to revive fragrance later on."
9. This Straightforward Shoe Freshener That Works Quickly & Effectively
What's great about it: This simple Fresh Force spray, which is specifically designed for shoes, works quickly to eliminate odor and freshen everything up. Just place it onto the insole of your shoe and press down to release a spray of the powerful deodorizing formula. This pick has an impressive 4.4-star rating on Amazon, and reviewers say the solution smells good and works well. However, the active ingredients of this potent solution aren't specified, so you may want to use caution if you have pets or concerns like asthma.
What fans say: "What a clever idea! This is just the ticket for 'freshening up' a favorite pair of shoes after a day's wear. :) I suggest you apply this *after* you wear your shoes, then let them "breathe" and permit the product to settle into the interior of the footwear. You'll love what this powdery goodness does for your shoes! Recommended without reservation!"
10. A Woodsy Shoe Spray That's Perfect For Outdoor Lovers
What's great about it: If you're into the outdoors, this natural-smelling shoe deodorizing spray is a great choice. It's made with a rustic blend of lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree oils. The exceptionally popular spritzer has over 4,000 reviews on Amazon, many of which say it smells amazing and does a great job eliminating odors. Given the formula's essential oils, however, this is another option that may not be good for homes with pets.
What fans say: "This is a great multi-purpose product. So far I have used it as a shoe deodorizer, a closet deodorizer and a spider repellent. I have a pair of favorite ballet flats I wear almost daily and they needed refreshing. The day the spray arrived I sprayed them and by the next morning there was no detectable odor, not even of the product."
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments.