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Top 7 Tips How to Keep Your Shoes from Smelling


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Let’s face it. Gym shoes stink!

After many long sessions at the gym, your sweaty feet can wreak havoc on the interior of your shoes leaving many wondering how to keep their shoes from smelling.

Bacteria builds up quickly, and before you know it, your shoes smell like something that belongs in the trash can. 

If you don’t relish washing your shoes every time you leave the gym, there are some things you can do to alleviate this problem. Taking care of the smell at the source will stop the odors and leave your shoes smelling fresh and clean, even when you sweat it out in the gym. 

Table of Contents

What Makes Gym Shoes Smell?

Before we get into some solutions for your smelly gym shoes, you need to know the science behind what makes them stink. Learning about the root cause will help you get down to the basics of the matter and find a solution that will allow you to experience fresher shoes. 

Your skin is covered in bacteria, from head to toe. Bacteria like Corynebacterium, staphylococci, and micrococci are present in every area of your skin, including your feet. These bacteria can lead to odors if they grow in abundance. 

When your feet begin to sweat, which often happens profusely during a workout, Corynebacterium and micrococci begin to break down fatty acids in the sweat, converting them to isovaleric acid. It is this acid that causes your feet to begin to smell. 

Getting rid of the bacteria is the only way to get rid of the smell.

Remember that bacteria and fungi can lead to foot infections, such as athlete’s foot, cellulitis, abscesses, and erythrasma.

Some of these infections can cause serious complications. Getting rid of your smelly shoes begins with showing the bacteria to the door. 

Top 7 Tips for Getting Rid of the Smell from Your Gym Shoes

Top 7 Tips How to Keep Your Shoes from Smelling

Remember that it is not the sweat that makes your shoes smell. It is the process of breaking down fatty acids. While you may find it difficult or even impossible to stop your feet from sweating, there are tricks you can learn that will prevent the stink after you leave the gym. 

1. Keep Your Gym Shoes Dry

One of the simplest ways of getting rid of odors or preventing them is to keep your shoes dry. If you are in the habit of stowing your shoes in a gym bag after a session, you are likely to find the stench unbearable. 

Keeping your shoes dry is critical for the prevention of odors. It’s important to remember that bacteria and fungi flourish in damp environments.

When you get out of the gym, pack your shoes with crumpled newspaper. Keep them in a dry environment.

Many people swear by sitting their shoes in the sunlight to dry them after a workout.

2. Freeze Your Gym Shoes

As crazy as it sounds, some people do freeze their gym shoes to kill the bacteria. Putting your shoes in the freezer can kill bacteria and odors.

Be sure to put your shoes in a zip bag to keep odors from permeating your freezer. 

3. Rotate Your Gym Shoes

Rotating your gym shoes is also essential. If you have the money to invest in a couple of pairs of gym shoes, rotating them will prevent odors from building up and causing the stench.

You should give your gym shoes at least 24 hours to dry thoroughly before you wear them to the gym again. 

4. Neutralize the Gym Shoe Odor

You now know isovaleric acid causes gym shoe odor. To stop the odors, you need to neutralize this acid.

An alkaline compound like baking soda is the most effective deterrent to odor development. 

Sprinkle the inside of your shoes with baking soda liberally.

Leave the shoes to sit for 24 hours, and then remove the excess baking soda. The odors should now be gone. 

5. Wash Your Gym Shoes Once a Month

Keeping your gym shoes clean means running them through the washing machine at least once a month.

You should of course follow the manufacturer’s instructions for care. These instructions will tell you if you need to wash the shoes by hand or in a washing machine. 

Washing your shoes regularly will prevent odor buildup.

There are laundry detergents made specifically to combat shoe odors. 

6. Use Essential Oils

Citrus oils help eliminate odors in gym shoes.

Before storing your shoes until the next trip to the gym, try dampening a cotton ball with an essential oil, lemon works well.

Lemon and orange both help with stinky odors and will keep your gym shoes smelling nice between workouts. 

7. See Your Doctor

If your gym shoes continue to smell, despite the tips above, or you keep developing fungal or bacterial foot infections, you need to see your doctor.

Some people sweat excessively, especially on their feet, hands, and heads. This is a condition called hyperhidrosis.

If chronic sweat is causing your gym shoe odors, seeking advice from a doctor for treatment should be your next priority. 

How to Keep Your Shoes from Smelling – Bottom Line

Foot odors equate to gym shoe smells. If your gym shoes have begun smelling foul, there are solutions.

Try using the tips above to get rid of the smell.

Don’t let gym shoe odors get you down. By getting to the root of the problem, you can dispel the odors and have fresher-smelling gym shoes 

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