Best Shoe Deodorizers

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

35 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
248 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best shoe deodorizers

Last Updated July 2020

Whether you’re working hard, working out, or just on your feet for hours at a time, foot odor is uncomfortable business. Everyone sweats, but that doesn’t mean that your shoes have to take the brunt of it. If you’re looking for a solution to smelly shoes, it’s time to consider a shoe deodorizer. 

The best shoe deodorizers target the bacteria and fungus that tend to infiltrate well-worn shoes. Cheaper, less effective shoe deodorizers may simply mask the smell. The trick is to find something that eliminates the smell at its source.

In this guide, we examine the various types of shoe deodorizers available and explore your options as a consumer. We also provide tips to help keep foot and shoe odor at bay. Don’t forget to check out our showcased products these shoe deodorizers are the best available, and we highly recommend them. After all, your footwear should be comfortable not only for your feet but also for your nose!

The insole is the part of a shoe that harbors the majority of the odor. If all else fails, replace your insoles.

Key considerations

Type of deodorizer

There are a few different methods for removing odor from shoes. These products come in several forms: sprays, balls, pouches, powders, and machines. Your best option depends on the severity of the odor as well as convenience and price.

Sprays: The most common type of shoe deodorizer is spray. Give your shoes a quick mist or two after wearing them, and let them sit for a while. Shoe sprays are among the cheaper options, and some are fragranced. Be aware, however, that a spray may simply mask the smell rather than eliminating the source.

Balls: Some deodorizers come in the form of balls that you insert in your shoes. The balls absorb foul odors while spreading a fresh scent. You must activate the ball by twisting or pushing it; see the directions for details. Note that this type of shoe deodorizer has a limited effectiveness period of a month or so.

Pouches: Larger than the ball option, deodorizing pouches can also be placed in shoes. In fact, you can place these deodorizing pouches in other spots, like a smelly gym bag. Some pouches are shaped like shoe inserts to easily fit your footwear. Some are more cumbersome, only fitting partway inside the shoe.

Powder: Another deodorizing option is powder, which can be sprinkled into the shoe to mask and eliminate odors. These are among the cheaper options. Shoe deodorizer powder can also serve as a preventative measure. Use it prior to wearing your shoes to help keep your feet cool and dry.

Machines: There are shoe-deodorizing machines you can buy that work to eliminate odors using a combination of air pressure, heat, and deodorant. These may be a bit cumbersome, but for the cost and power, they should be effective at removing even the worst of smells. This option may be ideal for active families that ski, hike, or skate.

If you frequently look to eliminate odors after exercising or sporting events, balls or pouches may be useful, as you can allow your shoes and gear sit for a while as the deodorizers do their work. If you’re looking for a faster solution, a spray or powder may be more advantageous. These odor-relieving products can be easily carried around in a purse or bag and used throughout the day as needed.

EXPERT TIP

If charcoal shoe deodorizer is working for you, you may want to check out charcoal deodorant. It can absorb bacteria and toxins to help you stay fresh and clean.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Scented or unscented

Some shoe deodorizers are scented. Lavender and chamomile are among the popular options. You’ll find plenty of sprays infused with essential oils, too. Pouches and balls are less likely to come with fragrance. You can also opt for a shoe deodorizer with no scent at all.

Charcoal

Charcoal is a trendy natural resource with all sorts of positive properties, from whitening teeth to removing toxins from the air. Charcoal is an excellent deodorizer, and you’ll find it in some shoe deodorizers. Activated charcoal absorbs moisture and odor, but you shouldn’t confuse it with the kind of charcoal that is left after a fire activated charcoal has no residue or burnt smell. 

Versatility

Some deodorizers are geared toward shoes, but as we’ve mentioned, you can use some of these products in other places, such as your gym bag or locker. If you regularly work out or play sports, you may want to consider a deodorizing pouch for other areas.

DID YOU KNOW?

In warm weather, bare feet may be more likely to sweat. That sweat can seep into your sandals, so make sure you take care of them, too.

Accessories

Shoe polish kit: Kiwi Select Shoe Care Kit
Don’t just take care of how your shoes smell. Take care of how they look with this care kit from Kiwi. Kiwi is a trusted name in shoe care products, and the items in this kit — shoe paste, brush, daubers, shine cloth help keep your footwear looking polished and new.

Gym bag: Under Armour Undeniable Duffle
Transport your sweaty shoes to and from the gym in a durable bag. We like this option from Under Armour that will contain all your gear. It’s the perfect size for a gym locker, and you can choose from a range of fun colors.

Women’s no-show socks: Nike 3-Pack No-Show Socks
No-show socks help give the illusion of going barefoot in sneakers or shoes without losing an important barrier to sweat and comfort. We love this inexpensive set from Nike.

Athletic socks: Balega Hidden Comfort Socks
Not only do athletic socks keep your feet comfortable, they also keep them dry. This cushioned pair from Balega will help minimize sweat and odor. The socks are for men and women and come in a range of colors. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Foot odor is caused by brevibacterium linens, tiny organisms present on the skin. Interestingly, the bacteria are also used to help ferment some of our favorite stinky cheeses, like Muenster and Limburger.

Shoe deodorizer prices

Inexpensive: For under $10, you can find a spray bottle of decent size to help you battle shoe odors. These sprays come in a slew of scents as well as unscented varieties. 

Mid-range: Spend between $10 and $15, and you have your choice from a selection of shoe-deodorizing sprays, powders, balls, and pouches.

Expensive: For over $15, you can get almost any type of deodorizer in a larger quantity. If you’re buying for an active person or a household of users, this is the price range that would likely suit you. Deodorizing machines, as they are intended to work effectively for years on end, can be much more expensive investments, costing anywhere from $30 to over $100.

Tips

  • Wear proper socks. The right socks can help minimize sweat, preventing odor from developing in your footwear. Without the right socks, sweat can be absorbed by your insoles instead, leading to a bad smell.

  • Check regularly for odors. Give your shoes an occasional sniff. If you notice a problem developing, act sooner than later. Foul smells are caused by bacteria and fungi. If your shoes aren’t cleaned and aired regularly, the problem could spread and even cause infections on the skin.

  • Wash your feet. Before intense workouts or other exercise, it may be useful to wash your feet. This will help delay the onset of sweat and bacteria growth. The same goes for after your workout. When in the shower, don’t forget to clean your soles and toes. Make sure you dry your feet, too.

  • Wash your shoes. Canvas or pleather shoes can often be machine washed on a gentle cycle. Leather shoes should not be placed in the washing machine. However, you may be able to wash them by hand.

EXPERT TIP

Don’t just use shoe deodorizers in your sneakers and slip-ons. Use it to eliminate smells in skates, cleats, boots, shins pads, and other athletic gear and equipment.


Staff  | BestReviews

FAQ

Q. Could shoe deodorizer be harmful to my pets?
A. Possibly. Check the product literature to see if the maker offers any advice on this. Note that some shoe sprays contain essential oils, and there are certain essential oils that are harmful to pets. If you’re using an essential oil spray, make sure your pets aren’t in the room when you spray it and that they don’t have access to the spray.

 

Q. How often should I replace shoe deodorizers?
A. A spray or powder that you regularly use will obviously run out. As such, you will eventually need to replenish your supply. How long it lasts depends on how often you use it. Pouches and balls can be used for three to six months before they lose potency. Deodorizing machines are likely to last at least five years with proper care, as instructed by the owner’s manual. The machines will likely come with a warranty of one to five years.

 

Q. What else can I do to minimize shoe odor?
A. Store your shoes in a cool, dry place; warmth, dampness, and humidity foster an environment where bacteria lives and thrives. Always air out your athletic gear, including your shoes, immediately after use. Wear absorbent athletic socks to help minimize the amount of sweat that escapes into your footwear during a workout to reduce the burden on your shoe deodorizer and preserve the integrity of your shoes.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
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    Digital Content Producer
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    Senior Editor
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    Web Producer

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