Best Shoe Sanitizers

Updated December 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 all opinions about the products are our own. 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 all opinions about the products are our own. 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 all opinions about the products are our own. 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.

30 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
102 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 sanitizers

Everyone knows that sweaty feet are uncomfortable and smelly, but what some people don’t realize is that the closed environment of a shoe also creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. This can lead to problems like athlete’s foot that may be difficult to get rid of. The solution is simple: clean your shoes. But simply tossing them in the washing machine may not do the job. You need a shoe sanitizer.

These powerful yet compact devices fit inside shoes and kill bacteria or fungi that may cause odors or other foot conditions. But it’s important that you choose yours carefully. Most models are safe, efficient, and effective, but others don’t live up to the claims or could be downright dangerous. Here’s a short guide to walk you through all the key factors you need to consider when choosing a shoe sanitizer. And if you’re ready to buy, take a look at our top recommendations.

Some UV shoe sanitizers include a built-in fan to help dry out wet shoes.

Key considerations

When selecting a shoe sanitizer, your primary concerns should be the shoes the unit can accommodate, the sanitizer’s overall effectiveness, and the device’s built-in safety features.

Shoe compatibility

Type: Consider the types of shoes you plan to use the shoe sanitizer on and be sure you choose a model that can accommodate them. Most UV shoe sanitizers won’t have any trouble with running shoes, dress shoes, or other closed-toed shoes, but open-toed shoes like sandals and some high heels might be more problematic.

Size: You also want to make sure that the sanitizer you choose can accommodate your shoe size. If you have especially large or small feet, you might need to do a little more searching to find a UV sanitizer that can fit your shoes. Some models might require you to choose between different-size units for different sizes of shoes, but many of the UV shoe sanitizers today are (mostly) one size fits all. One of these might be the better choice, especially if multiple people in your household plan to use the sanitizer.

Effectiveness

If you’re going to invest money in a shoe sanitizer, you want to be sure that it’s going to do the job it promises. Most of them can remove odors from shoes without issue, but they aren’t all equally effective when it comes to killing any bacteria and fungi that could be growing in your shoes. If this is your primary concern, it’s especially important that you choose your UV shoe sanitizer carefully.

Read through customer reviews to get a sense of how well the sanitizer works and to see if there are any common complaints about a particular model. Some products may also carry seals of approval from institutions like the American Podiatric Medical Association (apma.org), which can give you some additional assurance that the product lives up to its claims.

Safety features

The lights used in shoe sanitizers are safe when they’re used appropriately but can cause damage to your eyes and skin if you’re exposed to the light directly. That’s why it’s crucial that any shoe sanitizer you choose has the light completely concealed inside your shoe when it is operating. Some sanitizers come with a dark bag in which you place the shoes and sanitizer while it’s operating.

Your shoe sanitizer should also have automatic shutoff. The device might be triggered to automatically go off after a certain amount of time to prevent overheating, or it might be triggered by exposure to light to prevent you from accidentally damaging your eyes by looking directly at it.

Did you know?
Though less common, there are some shoe sanitizers that are small enough to fit inside children’s shoes.
STAFF
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shoe sanitizer features

Here are some additional factors to consider when choosing a shoe sanitizer:

Duration

Newer shoe sanitizers can completely sanitize shoes in 15 to 30 minutes, but some older models might take several hours to do the job. For most people, a shorter time frame is preferable, especially if you plan to use the shoe sanitizer often. You can figure out how much time it takes by reading through the product information page or contacting the manufacturer.

Timer

Many shoe sanitizers have a timer, usually set to run for about 15 minutes at a time, which should be enough in most cases. If you need additional time to completely sanitize boots, for example, you’ll have to remember to restart the sanitizer for another 15 minutes. Some sanitizers allow you to customize the length of sanitizing time, and one of these might be the better choice if you don’t want to worry about the timer going off too soon.

Size

Shoe sanitizers tend to be compact, consisting of two small lights that fit in the shoes and a small control module containing the timer. These models are easily portable, so they’re a great choice if you plan to take your shoe sanitizer on the road with you. Other models consist of a large base with posts housing the lights that you place your shoes on. These models are not overly large, but they’re also not as portable. One of these might be acceptable if you only plan to use the sanitizer at home. You might need something different for use on the go.

Bulbs

Shoe sanitizers use special bulbs, and like all light bulbs, they will need replacing at some point. These bulbs can be expensive and difficult to find, so it’s best to choose a shoe sanitizer with bulbs that will last a long time. Many last for around 8,000 hours. If you’re using the sanitizer for 15 minutes at a time, that amounts to 32,000 uses before you need to change the bulbs. Others may not last that long, so it’s smart to check with the manufacturer to find out how long the bulbs are expected to last before you purchase a shoe sanitizer.

Ozone sterilization

In addition to UV light, some shoe sanitizers employ ozone sterilization to kill off fungi and bacteria that may be living in your shoes. However, breathing this can be toxic, so you might prefer to avoid products that use ozone sterilization. If you do choose one of these sanitizers, place your shoes in a bag while running the device to prevent the ozone from leaking out into the surrounding air.

Warranty

Some shoe sanitizers include a warranty that is usually good for a few months to a year after purchase. If the sanitizer breaks at any point within the warranty period, the manufacturer will repair or replace it. Including a warranty is a smart idea if you plan to use the sanitizer often and want to be sure you’re buying a product that will last.

"Studies have shown that UV shoe sanitizers can kill up to 99.9% of the fungi found in shoes. "
STAFF
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SHOE sanitizer prices

Shoe sanitizers range in price from about $20 to $150. Most fall in the $30 to $50 range. Since all shoe sanitizers do more or less the same job, you aren’t guaranteed a better product if you spend more money. You’re better off basing your decision on how effective the sanitizer is according to customer reviews.

You also should check on the cost of replacement bulbs because you might need them eventually. The price of these bulbs can range from a few dollars to about $25 each, representing an ongoing cost to factor into your purchase.

Tips

  • Read the instructions. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using a shoe sanitizer.
  • Keep the shoe sanitizer away from young children. They might be tempted to play with it.
  • Match replacement bulbs to the device. Make sure that any replacement bulbs you buy are compatible with your shoe sanitizer.
  • Try it on other items. Some shoe sanitizers can also be used on other items, such as sports equipment.
Expert Tip
Boot dryers may help to dry shoes and reduce odors, but they can’t kill bacteria and fungi the way a shoe sanitizer can.
STAFF
BestReviews

Other products we considered

The SteriShoe+ UV Shoe Sanitizer is one of the only shoe sanitizers to earn a Seal of Approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association. It’s been proven to kill up to 99.9% of germs causing odor, athlete’s foot, warts, and more. The unit automatically shuts off when it’s exposed to light to prevent eye damage, so you don’t need to worry about safety, and it works in just 15 minutes. However, it’s pricey compared to many other UV shoe sanitizers. You might also want to check out the HaloVa UV Shoe Sanitizer. It also claims to kill 99.9% of fungi and bacteria found in shoes, and you can choose the length of time you want it to run, from 15 minutes to an hour. It’s adjustable, so it can fit in shoes of almost any size, and it’s backed by a one-year warranty.

Some UV shoe sanitizers come with a scent pouch to help eliminate unpleasant odors.

FAQ

Q. How often should I use a shoe sanitizer?
A.
You can use a shoe sanitizer as often as you need to. It’s safe for everyday use if necessary.

Q. Can a shoe sanitizer end recurring foot fungus infections?
A.
In theory, yes, but it’s crucial that you choose an effective product that lives up to the manufacturer’s claims. You’ll also want to disinfect your socks and any other items that might carry the fungus to prevent reinfection.

Q. Can I use my shoe sanitizer on sandals?
A.
Yes, most shoe sanitizers will slide comfortably into open-toed shoes, but it’s crucial that you place the sandals inside a bag while sanitizing them to keep the light from damaging your eyes.

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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.

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