How to Keep Barefoot Shoes from Smelling

When you wear non-slip, barefoot running shoes, a buildup of shoe odor can make you feel self-conscious. But did you know that you can prevent the smell with a few steps? Change into your shoes in a well-ventilated area, and clean them frequently.

Wiping them down with a damp cloth will also help prevent bacteria from forming. Plus, wearing breathable socks will reduce the risk of odor. Make sure always to wear fresh socks when you run without shoes or change into new ones so that your feet can breathe.

There are countless ways to keep barefoot shoes from smelling.

Spray them with a non-toxic deodorizer or fabric freshener

A non-toxic deodorizer or fabric freshener works like a charm. You can find these products at the drug store or make your own by adding a few drops of natural oil (such as tea tree, lavender, or eucalyptus oil) to a spray bottle with distilled water.

Spritz on your shoes when they start to smell—they’ll take care of the odor without any harmful chemicals.

Keep them in your freezer overnight

This one is a bit unorthodox. Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. If your shoes have a stench after working out, putting them in a freezer overnight will help. It eliminates bacteria and germs and allows the odor to dissipate in the morning.

The next day, take them out of the freezer and run them through a cycle in the dryer.

Clean them with a non-toxic detergent

If there smell far gone, you may want to give them a good clean. We recommend trying non-toxic detergent. It will remove any stains or spots that may be lingering in the shoes and neutralize the odor.

After washing them, run the shoes through a cycle in the dryer.

Wear breathable socks

Don’t forget to wear breathable socks. You will dramatically reduce odor risk if you wear socks made of natural fibers like wool, cotton, or bamboo. Remember to clean your running shoes regularly so they last longer.

Change the laces and the insoles

This may seem like an obvious one. You want to change the parts of the shoes that can retain odor. Your laces and insoles are known culprits. It may seem a little embarrassing, but you want to change them often.

Check your laces every once in a while and replace them if they are worn out. And you should always change the insoles of your shoes as well. There are plenty of breathable and odor-reducing insoles on the market, and they never fail to surprise with their effectiveness.

Many other tricks can help keep barefoot shoes from smelling too.

Keep the Shoes dry

Wet shoes are a breeding ground for bacteria and subsequent odor. Keeping them dry will save you from smelling like a garbage can. If you’re stinky enough, you may even consider getting a shoe deodorizer. Or, if you have a drier, put them in for twenty minutes or so to remove moisture. You can store your shoes with a dryer sheet in them. It will help keep the moisture out that is causing the smell.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is an age-old trick to keep things fresh and clean. Sprinkle a little baking soda in the shoes and leave it overnight. In the morning, mix equal parts of vinegar with warm water. Dip a sponge or towel in to clean your shoes. After you are done, rinse them with cool tap water.

Rinse with Vinegar or Rub with Salt

Simply rinsing them off in cool water and wiping them dry is one of the easiest ways to remove odors from your barefoot shoes. You can use white distilled vinegar or baking soda to neutralize any lingering odor.

Use Tea tree oil and other essential oils

Essential oils are incredible at eliminating odor. Tea tree oil is one of the most effective and inexpensive products at your disposal. The only catch is that it takes a little while to take effect. You’ll have to clean the shoes, let them sit for about a day, then re-clean them.

Eliminate the bacteria

Bacteria is the root cause. Dealing with it will give you a lasting solution. You can purchase a product called S-D’s Bacteria Stopper at many local health stores. You can also buy it online at

Those are basically the best ways to keep your barefoot shoes from smelling bad. Do you have any other tricks?

The next time you finish up your workout, head to the locker room and take a shower.

Leave them in the sun for a while

We have already discussed the importance of keeping your shoes dry. Leaving them in the sun is a natural way of achieving this. It will help remove the moisture and deter bacteria. If possible, take them out of your gym bag immediately and leave them outside even before you hit the shower.

Drop them in a bucket with baking soda and water.

For any stubborn shoes, a bucket with baking soda and water may do the trick. It is a cheap and effective method of removing any lingering odors.


There are many other ways to keep your barefoot shoes from smelling, but these should be enough for most. The most important thing to remember is that you need to clean them after every use religiously.

There are many concerns and queries related to the health of your feet and if you want to be a runner barefoot or not. The problem with running barefoot is that there have been no long-term studies about its effect on the human feet. Some people argue that the use of running shoes is the source of many myths and many health problems. Others think that running barefoot is better, but mentions about the health benefits of it are not much.

Many people are worried that running barefoot has its own risks and should not be used in daily practice. Some do not know how they can take good care of their feet, while others believe they will get their best foot care from doing barefoot run.

Hi there. This is Clare. Dave and I manage this site. We are outdoor enthusiasts. Most of the content is about products that we love using or have researched.
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