With sneakers trending and temperatures rising, we’re ditching our boots for shoes that let us go sockless. But with this switch comes a problem we all dread: the smell. The offending odor is from bacteria that grow on your foot and live (and keep growing) in your kicks—until you do something about it. So whether you’re wearing boat shoes, flats or sneakers without socks, here are some clever, inexpensive tips to keep your shoes smelling fresh all season long.
Wash your feet thoroughly
The bacteria on your feet just keep multiplying, so you need to be washing your feet in the shower to help combat the odor. When you’re in the shower, lather up with soap on your soles, and don’t forget in between your toes. Rinse, and when you get out of the shower be sure to completely dry your feet (don’t forget the toes again!) before slipping on shoes. You can give them a blast with the hairdryer, too, for extra dryness.
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Don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row
We all have a favorite pair of perfectly broken-in flats that we want to wear every day, but wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row is a recipe for stink. Back-to-back days does not give your shoes enough time to completely dry out from the previous day’s wear, so be sure to rotate your collection.
Apply a foot powder
If your feet tend to get sweaty no matter the weather outside, then prevention is key. Your best bet is apply a foot powder like Squeaky Cheeks ($12; amazon.com) before you put on your shoes so your feet (and shoes) stay dry throughout the day.
Baking soda + coffee filter
Baking soda is a powerhouse at home and can be used to deodorize your shoes. All you need to do is a fill an unused coffee filter with baking soda and secure at the end with tape, staples or a rubber band. Place the package in each shoe at the end of the day and the baking soda will go to work overnight.
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Resealable bag + freezer
Place your shoes into a large resealable bag and place it in the freezer overnight. The arctic temperatures zap bacteria and leave you with a scent-free pair in the morning.
Kitty litter + panty hose
Cat litter absorbs moisture and odors to prevent your home from smelling. The same can be applied to your shoes. Take worn-out stockings or mismatched socks and fill them with kitty litter. Secure with a rubber band and place in shoes at night to soak up offending smells and lingering moisture.
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Rubbing alcohol + spray bottle
Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and spritz your shoes. The alcohol will kill any bacteria in sight. Just be sure not to overly saturate your shoes—a light mist will do.
We all know the major powers of charcoal for your beauty routine, but charcoal also helps deodorize, so slipping a pair of these into your favorite boat shoes will help the shoe breathe and eliminate any odors.