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Getting Rid of Shoe Odor

From Alana Cioffi, Technical Field Representative and Training Coordinator at New Balance

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There isn't a sports parent among us that hasn't encountered smelly athletic shoes, and clothing; sneakers whose odor carries across a room; the smell from an equipment bag that reaches from the trunk of your car to the front seat; gloves that have the power to transfer their odor to your hands; wet, mildewy clothes left stuffed in a duffel bag that could stand up on their own.

Short of throwing them all away, what can be done? You can try to mask the odor with scents, but why not tackle the problem head on and go after the bacteria causes the odor? Besides, who wants them living there anyway?

Here are some suggestions on how to get rid of the odor from your child's sneakers:

  • Sprinkle the insides with baking soda
  • Replace the insoles or remove them to air out and dry overnight, or throw them in the wash

  • Buy two pair of shoes for wearing on alternate days
  • Stuff them with paper towel soaked in bleach and let sit for 24 hours
  • Soak them in a solution of a clorophyl cleanser in your washer for 1/2 hour, and then run the wash.  Remember: leather shoes can dry out if washed this way, so be sure to condition the leather afterwards or use leather polish.

Other Tips

Bacteria love moist environments. This is why drying your child's gear out between uses is so important:

  • Pull the gear out from your child's equipment bag and hang it up to dry.

  • Open items up to maximize the exposed area and shorten the drying time.

  • For shoes, remember to loosen laces and remove innersoles.

  • If it's warm and sunny, move the gear outside and let the sun help.

  • Have your child wear a base layer that you can wash after each use. It will reduce the residues passing to her other gear and is easier to clean.

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