BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Fashion

The best UV shoe sanitizer

Which UV shoe sanitizer is best?

The moist bacteria-and-fungus-breeding environment created within shoes is something most of us try to ignore. Unfortunately, the resulting odor — not to mention possible fungal infection of your feet — are another matter. Tossing your shoes in the washing machine isn’t always an option, but using an ultraviolet (UV) shoe sanitizer is. These modern marvels use ultraviolet light to kill the bacteria and fungus that create foot odor and uncomfortable conditions such as athlete’s foot. Our top pick is JJ CARE UV Shoe Sterilizer with a Fan, a 3-in-1 shoe essential product which includes a sterilizer, a dryer and a deodorizer. Our guide will familiarize you with UV shoe sanitizers and the features that could make them the perfect addition to your closet.

Considerations when choosing UV shoe sanitizers

Shoe compatibility

UV shoe sanitizers are typically one size fits all, and they work for most closed-toe shoes. However, if your feet are larger or smaller than average, you may need to look for a unit that comes in different sizes. Not all sanitizers work for high heels or sandals, so take a close look at the size and shape of the insert before buying.

Safety features

If used inappropriately, UV lights can cause eye and skin damage. Be sure that when the sanitizer is in use that the light is contained within the shoe. Some models include a bag into which the shoe is placed while being sanitized. Another safety feature to look for is an automatic shutoff mechanism.

Insert vs. post

Sanitizers come in one of two types—insert or post. Insert models have a UV bulb connected to a main hub. The bulb is placed in the shoes with a cord connecting it to the power source. Post-style UV sanitizers have two posts onto which you place the shoe during sanitization. Insert styles can be taken on the road while posts are better left at home.

UV shoe sanitizer features

Sanitization time

Sanitization time varies from model to model. Some of the latest designs can work in 15-20 minutes while earlier versions can take several hours.

Built-in timer

Built-in timers are a lifesaver. Some timers have preset times while others allow you to customize. A customizable timer can be helpful if you need to sanitize boots or another style that’s got more surface area to be sanitized.

Ozone sterilization

Ozone sterilization kills bacteria and fungus. However, it can be toxic. As an extra safety precaution, place the shoes in a bag during ozone sterilization to prevent the ozone from releasing into the air.

UV shoe sanitizer price

UV shoe sanitizers range in price from $20-$150. At the lower end of the price range, between $20-$70, are basic sanitizers with smaller inserts designed to fit in almost any shoe. Models priced between $70-$100 will likely have shaped inserts for a tighter fit. These models may also double as a drier. Post-style sanitizers are typically found for over $100. They’re larger but also feature drying capabilities. 

UV shoe sanitizers also require special bulbs that can be difficult and expensive to replace. They can cost anywhere from a few dollars to $25 each. You’ll need to factor bulb costs into the overall cost of the sanitizer.

UV shoe sanitizer FAQ

Q. How often should I sanitize my shoes?

A. UV shoe sanitizers can be used as much or as little as you need to. They aren’t harmful to the shoes and, as long as the light is properly contained, they aren’t harmful to you, either.

Q. Do UV shoe sanitizers work for sandals?

A. They can work for sandals, but there’s a couple of issues you’ll need to consider. First, be sure the insert will fit into the sandal. If not, it won’t be effective. Second, the UV light will be visible from an open-toe shoe, so make sure the sandals are completely encased in a bag to prevent the light from damaging your eyes.

UV shoe sanitizers we recommend

Best of the best

JJ CARE UV Shoe Sterilizer with a Fan

Our take: While this unit sits in the high end of the price range, it’s extremely effective at sanitizing shoes.

What we like: It's functional, useful and portable as it sterilizes, dries and deodorizes the shoes. We love the three timed settings — 15, 30 and 60 minutes.

What we dislike: It’s pricey.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best overall

JJ CARE 2-in-1 Dryer & UV Shoe Sanitizer

Our take: This model offers excellent flexibility with sanitizing times and does a good job of getting rid of harmful bacteria and fungus.

What we like: We love the two timed settings — 15 or 30 minutes. It has a lamp life of up to 8,000 hours.

What we dislike: A few users have had problems with durability.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Comyan UV Shoe Sanitizer Sterilizers with Switch

Our take: This dryer/sanitizer combo gets your shoes ready to go with a relatively short sanitization cycle.

What we like: It performs double duty—sanitizes and dries—and does it well. It can also be used for other items such as gloves and hats.

What we dislike: It only has one cycle length, which isn’t always enough to completely dry or sanitize boots.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Stacey L. Nash writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: