Looking for the best shoe deodorizer to take care of lingering smells on your sneakers or boots? We spent several days researching foot and shoe odor eliminators, from chemical sprays to natural blends of essential oils and even non-spray purifier bags. After examining the effectiveness of dozens of different products, we've found that the Rocket Pure Shoe Deodorizer is the best option. Available in three scents (mint, lemon, and cedar), its all-natural spray formula works some serious magic, not only treating tough existing odors, but also preventing new ones from occurring in the future. Article Summary
At one point or another, everyone has had an issue with smelly feet and shoes. It can come as a result of an active lifestyle, or it can even occur due to genetics – but no matter what the case, no one likes stinky feet. It’s not just the lingering smell that can be bothersome, but there are some legitimate hygiene concerns here. Smells don’t just come out of nowhere, they are indicative of growing bacteria that could be potentially harmful if left untreated.
One of the best ways to deodorize shoes is to treat them with a specially-formulated product designed to kill bacteria and eliminate odors. These deodorizers typically come in the form of sprays, but there are also several non-spray options as well. Both can be effective at fighting odors and bacteria, it really comes down to the actual formula used in each product.
We recently spent some time researching shoe deodorizers in order to determine which products did the best job at returning shoes to a fresh, odor-free state. We took a couple of factors into consideration during our selection, such as the quality of the ingredients used in each formula, the formula’s effectiveness at reducing odors, and whether or not the formula contained anti-fungal properties to eliminate the actual source of the odors (rather than just masking the smell with fancy scents). After numerous hours of comparison and consideration, we believe the three products below are the best shoe deodorizers for your smelly job.
The best shoe deodorizer overall
After researching a number of products that do a good job of reducing foot and shoe odors, the best standout among the crowd is the Rocket Pure Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray. Its plant-based formula contains the perfect mix of natural elements which not only combat existing odors and leave a pleasant scent (your choice of mint, lemon, or cedar), but also eliminate the bacterial source to prevent new odors from developing in the future.
Rocket Pure was started by a small enclave of sports enthusiasts who didn’t want harmful chemicals coming in contact with their skin, but needed a solution to the chronic foot odor that comes with leading a highly-active and sweat-inducing lifestyle, Rocket Pure was born. Specifically made as a foot and shoe deodorizer for high-level athletes who tend to bring home shoes that are soaked in perspiration, their Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray is capable of treating the toughest odors out there.
There are three different formulas to choose from (mint, lemon, or cedar), and each has their own unique blend of ingredients that are all-natural and sourced from mother nature herself. Among the three formulas you can find various essential oils like tea tree oil (prized for its ability to fight a variety of bacteria and fungi), eucalyptus oil (known to help remove infections and heal wounds), thyme, rosemary, peppermint, lemon, cedarwood, and more.
On their own, each of the essential oils used in the Rocket Pure formula offers a long list of medicinal properties that improve your overall health in general – but together, they are the perfect combination to kill the harmful build-up of bacteria in your shoes and on your feet. This is important because most brands’ shoe deodorizers only mask the odor by providing fresh scents, but Rocket Pure’s formula actually treats and eliminates the source itself, providing true freshness for both now and later.
Besides our own opinions, thousands of customers rank this as the best shoe deodorizer our there (it is a best-seller on Amazon), noting that a few sprays keep their shoes smelling fresh and minty, even after a tough workout at the gym. With that said, a few customers did complain about the scent of mint rising up from their shoes, so it’s important to remember to not over-do the spraying or the scent might become too strong. For best results, we recommend you give a couple of spritzes to your feet, and a couple to your shoes each day. Just remember to shake the bottle vigorously beforehand, as the natural ingredients tend to separate after sitting stationary for a while.
Rocket Pure’s unique formula, proven track record, and money-back guarantee make this an easy choice as the best shoe deodorizer spray out there. A simple four-ounce bottle typically provides several hundred sprays, so this is also a great value as well. Check out each individual formula (Mint, Lemon, or Cedar) to see which you like best; or, if a powder interests you more than a spray, they’ve got two of those (Eucalyptus or Cedar).
The best non-spray shoe deodorizer
Air purifying bags are becoming an increasingly popular way to remove unpleasant lingering smells from lots of things in life, and in the case of shoe odors, the Mini Moso Natural Air Purifying Bags are the best out there. While we believe sprays do a slightly better job at eliminating the tougher odors, these air purifying bags still do a stellar job and would be the perfect choice for those who don’t want to deal with residue that may come with using sprays.
This shoe deodorizer is fragrance-free, chemical-free, and non-toxic. The active ingredient in these purifying bags is a highly porous charcoal made from moso bamboo, which prevents mildew and bacteria from building up by removing moisture. Moso bamboo is known to be one of the highest quality bamboos in the world. Native to China, it grows rapidly to over fifty feet within just a few years. The process of making charcoal from moso bamboo starts with drying out the bamboo for several weeks, then cooking it in a kiln, which is deprived of oxygen. This creates a carbonization process which generates millions of tiny little porous holes. These porous holes are the reason moso bamboo charcoal works exactly like a sponge, pulling away any moisture in the immediate atmosphere.
Because it is so effective at wicking away moisture, your shoes will stay extra dry after walking around in them all day. Just insert the bags once you take your shoes off, and let the porous charcoal remove any build-up of moisture that has accumulated. This will make a big difference in the smell of your shoes, and the reduction of moisture means no more harmful odor-causing bacteria in your shoes, and more importantly on your feet.
Another factor which makes these bags an ideal choice is their extra-long lifespan. The Mini Moso bags can be used for up to two full years with proper care and maintenance. And what does that entail, exactly? Setting them out in the clean air and sunshine for an hour or two once a month. This freshens up the moso bamboo charcoal inside the bags, keeping the material “alive” so-to-speak. In other words, it keeps the material actively working to remove and prevent odors.
You can also use these Mini Moso bags as a multi-purpose deodorizer. Because the bamboo charcoal is so porous, it acts like a super-effective sponge to pull any moisture out of the surrounding environment. This makes these sachets useful for more than just your shoes; place them in your gym bag, in your backpack or suitcase, or use them anywhere to reduce moisture build-up and any accompanying unpleasant smells.
Some customers have expressed concerns over whether or not the use of charcoal could be potentially harmful to children or pets, so we wanted to address this in our review as well. As mentioned earlier in the review, the charcoal on the inside of the bags is completely chemical-free and non-toxic, meaning the Mini Moso bags are safe for use around children, pets, or anyone and anything else that may get near them. The ingredients are made from sustainable resources and are even recyclable, so after you have used the bags for a couple of years, just take them out into the garden, cut them open, and release the beneficial charcoal into the soil. This will help the plants in your garden absorb more nutrients and water.
The natural deodorizing effect of the moso bamboo charcoal, how long it lasts, the fact that it can be used for multiple purposes, and the ability to recycle the ingredients with beneficial effects on the environment are all key factors in why we are so impressed with these Moso Air Purifying Bags. They make a great natural shoe deodorizer, and for under $10, they are one of the cheapest options out there.
Another good spray to try
Another good all-natural alternative you may want to consider trying is the TriNova Shoe Renewal Spray. TriNova is a well-known company for creating premium cleaning products, and this shoe deodorizer spray is one of the highest-rated out there next to our other two options above.
TriNova develops a full line of cleaning products for your car, boat, or personal possessions, so they know a thing or two about effective deodorizers. Their product line includes natural cleaning agents which are selected for their ability to both clean and deodorize anything from leather to kitchen butcher blocks, and their shoe-specific formula is also carefully selected to fight odors from sweat, bacteria, and other sources.
The natural ingredients used in TriNova’s formula are essential oils similar to those used in Rocket Pure’s formula, and in fact, even including some of the same ones: tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and thyme oil. These plant extracts have antibacterial effects that will sanitize your shoes, sandals, or boots and give them a pleasing scent that is clean and fresh. The tea tree oil component kills mold and mildew and heals skin issues, while the peppermint oil produces a pleasant and clean aroma. Thyme oil is known to be a powerful antioxidant and has been used for thousands of years in the Mediterranean.
The only reason the TriNova Shoe Renewal Spray landed in our number three spot is because some users found the effectiveness of the spray wore off after a couple of hours. However, most found it has a nice minty smell, and at the very least offers a beneficial neutralizing effect on your shoes. If the Rocket Pure spray didn’t entice you for some reason, we’d say this is your best alternative for a solid odor-eliminating spray.
Things to consider before buying
Each of the three products above are tried-and-true shoe deodorizers, and no matter which you choose, they should do the trick at removing odors and even eliminating the bacterial source of the smells. With that said, we’ve listed a couple of additional things to think about below to ensure you choose the best shoe deodorizer for your personal stink.
Spray vs non-spray deodorizers
Choosing which type of deodorizer is the first obvious consideration to make. Sprays are the most common solution, ranging from chemical-packed formulas to all-natural blends of oils. These are great for any odor elimination job from small to large, and they are especially good at handling tough odors. Non-sprays, on the other hand, typically come in the form of purifying bags containing some sort of odor absorption material, the most common being charcoal. Although we feel sprays have a slight edge of power, these bags are becoming highly preferred due to the fact that they leave no residue or liquid behind, unlike most sprays (thankfully we did not find any residue complaints on either of the two sprays reviewed in our guide).
What kind of shoes are you treating?
While most shoe deodorizers are universal and can be used on any material, some may work better for certain situations. For example, if you have regular-rise sneakers like Vans or Converse, you are free to choose either type of freshener (spray or non-spray bags) because both types will cover all of the shoe. On the other hand, if you have high-top shoes or boots, you may want to stick with just sprays because there is a lot more material to cover. Simply placing a non-spray air purifying bag in the sole might not not take the smell out of the upper portion of the shoe/boot.
How often do your shoes smell? (and how strong is it?)
Do your shoes smell all the time, or only after activities like workouts or sports? And when they do smell, how strong is it on a scale of 1 to 10? If they smell constantly or have an above-average stench, a deodorizer spray will likely work better than a non-spray like air purifying bags. Bags are nice because they’re easy to use and require little effort on your part, but sprays typically handle stronger situations better.
Are your shoes beyond saving?
Once we get comfortable in our shoes, it’s hard to get a new pair. New pairs mean break-in periods, and even sometimes discomfort. But let’s face it, there comes a point in every shoe’s life where it needs to be retired, and a new pair needs to be hired. While answering the questions above, if you rated your shoes as smelling all the time and having a stench over 8 on the 1 to 10 scale, it’s probably time to invest in a new pair. At this point, it becomes less about the smell, and more about the concern of how much bacteria are living in your shoes. Bacteria-infested shoes don’t just cause smells, but also bad infections.
How to prevent shoe odors in the future
There is great wisdom in Benjamin Franklin’s famous saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Relating this to our situation at hand: choosing the best shoe deodorizer will help rid your shoes of existing smells, but learning how to prevent the stench from occurring in the first place is something you should definitely look into. Below, we’re prepared a list of tips and steps you can take to improve your overall foot hygiene and keep your shoes from building up any harmful bacteria.
Wash (or soak) your feet frequently
The first most obvious tip is to wash your feet every day, and dry them off thoroughly after you wash. While you should take a bath or shower each day to keep your personal hygiene up-to-snuff, a good foot soak can also make a big difference at the end of the day.
As long as there are no breaks in the skin, a soak in about half a cup of kosher or epsom salt at the end of each day works very well as an antibacterial conditioner for your feet. Just dilute the salt in a bowl with a few cups of warm water and soak your feet for ten to fifteen minutes to experience the beneficial effects.
Afterwards, dry your feet off thoroughly, then use a few cotton balls soaked in Witch Hazel to rub all around your feet and between your toes. Witch Hazel is an antioxidant and astringent that gets deep into your skin pores to kill bacteria.
Trim and clean your toenails
The next step is to trim your toenails with a nail clipper, and clean around the nail bed to make sure there is no lint or dirt trapped underneath the toenail. You can get a small pedicure kit at most pharmacies or beauty salons which will come with a cleaning tool for this task, such as a small wooden dowel. Not only will this clipping and toenail cleaning process be beneficial for your hygiene, it will also leave you with great looking feet! Next use a gentle foot file to remove any dry or hardened skin around the sides and soles of your feet.
Now that your feet have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, it is a good idea to go barefoot for the rest of the day while you are at home. This will ensure your feet are dry and give them good air circulation.
Always ensure dryness
In the morning before you put your socks and shoes on, make sure there is no residual moisture on your feet if you have just taken a shower. Dry your feet off thoroughly before putting your socks and shoes on, even between the toes. If you tend to have sweaty feet you can use all natural powders such as cornstarch, arrowroot, or baking soda to help keep them dry. Just get a large rectangular tupperware tray, sprinkle some powder along the bottom, then sprinkle a handful over your feet, and work it like sand between your toes, then shake off any excess.
Choose the right footwear
When it comes to your choice of footwear, there are a few options depending on the climate you live in, and your activity level. For dress shoes or boots a good choice for material is genuine leather because it is natural and breathable. For casual shoes in warm weather flip-flops and open-toed sandals are the optimal choice, due to the increased air circulation they provide. For sports and general activities always wear socks with your sneakers. Cotton socks are definitely better than nylon. In extremely cold weather wool socks are a good choice as well. When purchasing socks and sneakers, look for good ventilation in the design.
For sports or active lifestyles, purchase more than one pair of sneakers if at all possible, so that you can rotate them each day. It is best not to wear the same shoes every day, or they will have a build-up of sweat and bacteria.
If you have a specific style of shoe you like to wear to work, invest in a couple of pairs up front, so you can rotate them daily. Your shoes will last longer, and this will give them a chance to freshen up. Place your shoes in a well-ventilated area when you’re not using them. If your feet are particularly sweaty, it’s a good idea to set your shoes outside for a couple of hours to give them plenty of fresh circulating air.
Wash your shoes every now and again
Another good idea is to throw your sneakers in the washer and dryer every couple of months. This will help to remove any dirt build-up and kill harmful bacteria, bringing your shoes back to their original fresh state which you bought them in.
Finally, eating a healthy diet can make a big difference in the content and quality of your sweat. Holistic podiatrist Dr. Robert Kornfeld says that those who eat a lot of refined carbohydrates such as processed cookies and breads have an increase of bacteria and fungus growth in their bodies. When secreted through the sweat glands, this bacteria can get trapped in your shoes, where it can create fungus growth and really bad odors. So eating healthy will not only make you look and feel better in general, but it can also have a genuine impact on improving the smell of your feet.
Wrapping it up
So in summary, there are many tricks to eliminating foot and shoe odor that go beyond using a great shoe deodorizer, although that definitely helps. We have covered the ground on a few key components of reducing any unpleasant smells, and killing the bacteria that causes it. For a brief overview remember to try soaking and cleaning your feet at the end of each day, rotating two or three pairs of shoes each week so that your shoes can air-out, always using a pair of fresh clean socks, and treat your shoes and feet with a high quality shoe deodorizer like those we have recommended. Hopefully after reading this article you feel empowered to try some new techniques, so that you can remove your shoes with confidence at the end of the day, no matter who’s around!