After a while, everyone's shoes start to smell, and if you're sick of pouring baby powder on the soles to no avail, the best shoe deodorizers are here to help. These ingenious items can eliminate unwanted odors in any type of footwear, and come in the form of bags, balls, sprays, and much more.
Most odors that emanate from shoes stem from bacteria that grows in dark, moist places — aka, your shoes after your feet sweat in them all day (this explains why sneakers are always especially pungent after a workout). To get rid of the smell, most shoe deodorizing products work to destroy the bacteria or preventing it from growing in the first place.
There are many different products that tackle shoe odors — some more natural than others. For example, charcoal is a frequently used ingredient because it absorbs moisture, which prevents bacteria from growing. Other, harsher chemical products are sometimes needed to actually kill the bacteria, eliminating any odors entirely.
Whether you're a gym rat who's embarrassed to take your sneakers off in the locker room or you simply want to freshen up your favorite pair of well-worn kicks, these popular shoe deodorizers can restore your footwear back to their original fresh-smelling selves.
1. Best Value: These Non-Toxic Charcoal Bags That Last For 2 Years
You can toss these purifying bags anywhere (gym bags, shoes, suitcases) and the charcoal inside will absorb the moisture from the air, eliminating any unwanted odors. Non-toxic and free of fragrances and chemicals, these bamboo bags also prevent the growth of mold and mildew. They couldn't be easier to use, and they'll last up to two years, without compromising on their effectiveness.
2. Best For Athlete's Foot: A Pair Of Cedar Insoles For Boat Shoes And Flats
Perfect for wearing inside boat shoes, flats, or any other type of closed-toe shoe you'd rather not wear socks with, these insoles use cedar wood (which is naturally antibacterial) and cotton to absorb sweat and moisture, preventing the growth of smelly bacteria. They can also help with athlete's foot and nail fungus, and even help keep feet warm during the winter. Using a natural cedar essential oil that emanates a mild, woodsy fragrance, the insoles come in 8 sizes and can be worn with or without socks and tights.
3. Best For Small Shoes: A Set Of Sneaker Balls That Fit In Tight Spaces
These sneaker balls have a spherical shape so they can roll around in your shoes and get into every nook and cranny, unlike some other deodorizers that can't reach the toe area or other tight spaces. They twist open to release a fresh scent, and in between uses, you can close them for longer preservation. Depending on how often you use them, each sneaker ball can last up to six months. Choose from packs of one or three pairs in a variety of fun shapes and designs.
4. Best For Mild Odors: A Natural Deodorizing Spray That Uses Antibacterial Essential Oils
Best for someone looking to refresh footwear that only has a light odor, this shoe deodorizer spray uses natural essential oils that are inherently antibacterial and anti-fungal, stopping unwanted odors in their tracks. A combination of peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, and lemon oils kill bacteria and fungi while emitting their own light fragrance. It can also be used on yoga mats and other exercise gear, and reportedly helps with athlete's foot, too.
5. Best For Travel: An Unscented Powder That Also Prevents Blisters
Since it's not a liquid, this all-natural odor-neutralizer is perfect for travel or stowing in your gym bag, car, or purse. A combination of zinc oxide and other botanicals allows this shoe deodorizing powder to kill bacteria, prevent blisters, and eliminate odor coming from both your feet and shoes. Also great for refreshing sports gear and luggage, this product has over 500 positive reviews (and an almost five-star rating) on Amazon and should last you about six months.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.