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After a strenuous summer workout, your shoes may smell like a locker room when you take them off at home. After all, odor-causing moisture is kept inside your shoes by your socks when your feet start to sweat. The following are some options: To begin, air out your wet shoes; moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria that cause unpleasant odors. Take out the insoles and stuff the shoes with newspaper before letting them air out somewhere cool and dry overnight. The next step is to make regular use of sprays or inserts that reduce odor and kill germs. We've got your back if you're feeling confused by all the choices.

Effective Footwear Odor Remover

It is inevitable that your running shoes will retain some of that stink even if they have plenty of vents and mesh panels. And the rancid aroma is more than just an unpleasant perception. Luke Lombardo, an RRCA-certified running coach and Ironman triathlete, says, "What some people don't know is that actual smell is bacteria and it's living inside your socks, shoes, and on your feet." "It's not just about getting rid of the smell on your running shoes; you also need to kill the annoying bacteria that's living in there." If not, the bacteria could eventually cause an infection.

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Getting a little stinky was necessary for testing the efficacy of these odor neutralizers. However, we had to be resourceful in our approach. We discovered that Bavarian Limburger was the key to reliably simulating the odor of used running shoes, without exposing ourselves to potentially harmful bacteria like Staphylococcus. It's one of the spiciest options available. But that's not the only reason we went with it; there are a lot of things that can cause foot odor, but one major player is Brevibacterium linens, a rod-shaped organism that lives on human skin. Limburger's fermentation is helped along by the same bacteria, which helps explain why it smells so much like a sweaty foot.

odor eliminator testing

Gambill, Lakota

odor eliminator testing

Traditional Lakota Gambill

Over the course of 23 separate experiments, we put a wide variety of pods, balls, pouches, powders, and sprays designed to get rid of unpleasant odors to the test. Limburger cheese was heated in the microwave and then left out to develop a potent odor, simulating the smell of sweaty shoes after a run. Then, we put one of the odor-neutralizing candidates into airtight Ziploc bags with 60-gram wedges. Following that, we waited. We opened the bags and took a whiff after four hours and again after 24 hours, comparing the odor to that of an untreated piece of bagged Limburger used as a control. The 11 products listed here are the most effective at masking undesirable odors and are also of high quality (in the case of inserts and pods).

If you, too, have to deal with stale smelling garments, you'll be glad to know that I've included everything you'll need to clean your laundry and restore its fresh scent.

Magic Odor Remover Spray

Three on the Scale of the Testers' Sense of Smell 5 out of 5

Spray Deodorant with a Hexagonal Pattern for Maximum Performance

Deodorizing Spray

Hexagonal Deodorant Spray

Acknowledgement: Hex Performance
  • The environment, pets, and children are all safe.
  • Superb in every way; both quality and price
  • Facilitates the suppression of static
  • Took longer than expected to dry after application.

We have used Hex's multipurpose spray on pretty much everything we have sweaty hands with and it works as well as Febreze does for runners. Our socks, shoes, tech tees, and running shorts are just a few examples; our car seats, foam rollers, and couch cushions are, too. Hex's formula was developed to break through the exceptionally tightly woven threads typical of activewear fabrics, which are the primary traps for odor. Our tests showed that it works quickly and effectively to eliminate odors and prevent the formation of new ones for an extended period of time.


Deodorize and sterilize your footwear in a flash with 10 Seconds Shoe Cleaner.

Nose Test: 5/5 (Testers Love It)

Clean and freshen your shoes in just 10 seconds with this innovative product!

Shoe Disinfectant and Deodorizer

Instant Shoe Cleaner and Odor Remover in 10 Seconds

  • Fragrance that is strong but not overpowering
  • Rapid antibacterial effect
  • This is not a natural ingredient blend.

This high-quality spray not only kills mold and bacteria in ten seconds (including MRSA), but it also has a pleasant aroma. According to our panel of experts, it successfully neutralized the cheese smell without imparting any artificial fragrances. One taster described the aroma as "subtle, almost fruity." "This would make a great candle wick." ”

The GearHalo Odor Eliminator Pods

The smell test passed with flying colors.

To eliminate unpleasant body odor while exercising, try GearHalo's deodorizing pods.

Sports Deodorizer Pods

The GearHalo Odor Eliminator Pods

  • Eliminates odors without leaving an offensive residue.
  • Aids in the removal of excess moisture from wet footwear.
  • The ability to mask unpleasant odors fades after three months.

All of our testers gave these incredible mini bean bags perfect scores. Due to the beads' activation by heat, the optimal time to use them is right after a run, when your shoes are nice and toasty. To a person's nose, the Gear Halo pouches were fresh and clean smelling even when they were at room temperature, having wicked away any moisture present. "Wow, this has a wonderful aroma." " one examiner remarked The cheese aroma has been completely removed, leaving behind a pleasant, lightly floral aroma. ”

Natural Odor Eliminating Spray, 100% Rocket

The smell testers gave it a 4. 5 out of 5

An All-Natural Spray for Odor-Free Shoes and Feet

On Sale
Natural Foot & Shoe Deodorizer Spray

The Only 100% Natural Spray for Deodorizing Feet and Shoes, Rocket Pure

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  • After 24 hours, odors were still contained.
  • Overpriced for the quality you receive

This Rocket Pure formula uses a half-dozen natural agents, including alcohol derived from organic cane sugar, citrus extracts, and cedarwood oil, to prevent bacterial growth (and moisturize your feet) if you prefer to avoid harsh chemicals. In addition, each of the three aromas is superb. One participant in the smell test described the combination of peppermint and eucalyptus as "mild yet clean and fresh." "I can't quite put my finger on it, but I swear I swear I swear I smell cheese somewhere in the background." ”

To eliminate unpleasant odors from shoes, use Foot Sense's natural deodorizing shoe powder.

Odor Assessment by Tester: 3 5 out of 5

Natural Shoe Deodorizer Powder by Foot Sense

Natural Shoe Deodorizer Powder

Natural Shoe Deodorizer Powder by Foot Sense

  • Formulation that is 100% natural and risk-free
  • Reduces humidity
  • Does not eliminate all bacteria.

The fact that regular powders can be a nuisance is not debatable. But the arrowroot-based, talc-free formula of Foot Sense is safe, effective, and smells great, so we didn't mind if some leaked out of our shoes. You can shake it on your feet outside or over the bathtub without worrying about releasing harmful chemicals, and it will be easy to clean up afterward. We loved this powder's supreme ability to eliminate excess moisture and its lemony-lavender aroma, but it wasn't as effective as some of the powerful sprays we tested, so you'll probably need to reapply more frequently.


Spray Natural Shoe Deodorizer by Lumi Outdoors

Third-Place in the Testers' Odor Rating 5 out of 5

A Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray by Lumi Outdoors

On Sale
Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray

Use the all-natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray by Lumi Outdoors to keep your shoes smelling fresh.

Presenting a Savings of 45%!

  • Spray's utility extends beyond cosmetic uses
  • Optional fragrances that really shine

This spray, made with essential oils rather than chemicals, effectively neutralizes even the most potent odors left behind by a workout in the shoe or gym bag. It can also be used to restore a pleasant, natural scent to your home, car, bathroom, or any other area in need of deodorization. You'll have to use it frequently because, while a single spritz of Lumi had a noticeable effect for the first few hours, lingering odors had returned by the next day.


An Odor-Eliminating Spray Called FunkAway

3 on the Odor Scale of the Testers 5 out of 5

Eliminating Odors with the Funk Away Spray

On Sale
Odor Eliminator Spray

Spray to Eliminate Funk and Other Bad Smells

Reduced by 25%

  • Potent anti-odor and anti-microbial properties
  • Assisted in preventing odors from resurfacing
  • Cleaning products linger strongly in the air.

With its OM Complex formula, which traps odor molecules and breaks them down, FunkAway does a great job of not just covering up smells but eliminating them. In tests, the spray effectively eliminated the odor of spoiled cheese, but its scent was very strong. One sampler described it as "very potent." One could detect a hint of floral aroma, but the overwhelming scent was that of cleaning products. ”


Spray Extreme Sweat & Odor Remover by Sweat X Sport

Smell Tester Rating: 3.5/5.0

The SWEATX Extreme Odor Eliminator Spray

Extreme Odor Eliminator Spray

Sweat X Powerful Anti-Microbial Deodorant Spray

  • Assists in the removal of stains
  • Greener than average (but not entirely organic) formulation.
  • Testers' perceptions of smell were inconsistent.

Our panel of tasters was divided on whether or not they enjoyed Sweat X's scent, but they all agreed that it effectively blocked the Limburger smell. (One person smelled hints of plastic while others detected scents reminiscent of deodorant or shampoo. However, in comparison to other sprays, the odor wasn't too strong. As an added bonus, Sweat X can be used to get rid of stains caused by blood, dirt, and grass.

Shoe Deodorant Locks

Score of 4 on the Smell Test, according to the Testers

Deodorant Balls for Lock Laces, to Prevent Body Odor

Odor Drops Deodorizer Balls

Odor-Eliminating Deodorant Balls for Lock Laces

  • Prolonged use and high quality for the price
  • Convenient to use, and emits a strong, clean aroma.
  • Not as efficient in eliminating foul odors

Lock Laces has you covered with their long-lasting deodorizer balls that can be tossed into any bag, shoe, or locker and will keep everything smelling clean with little to no effort on your part. Easy access is provided by twisting open the vents. (Just make sure to reseal the balls when you're done using them so they last as long as possible. Although one tester found the Drops to be very effective, others thought the overpowering "laundry detergent" scent merely covered up the odors rather than getting rid of them.

Shoe Inserts that Absorb Smells (Zorpads)

Tester's Nose Rating: 3 5 out of 5

Inserts for Shoes That Absorb Moisture and Prevent Odors, or Zorpads

Odor-Eliminating Shoe Inserts

Zorpads Antimicrobial Insoles

  • Eliminates odors without masking them with a fragrance
  • Sticker layout that can be left in place is very handy.

One of the testers exclaimed, "Wow, this one surprised me." "I couldn't detect any overpowering fragrance meant to mask the cheese flavor." The unpleasant odors were simply eliminated. These futuristic patches have an adhesive back, so you can affix them to your shoes and have the activated carbon cloth neutralize any odors. (This is the same technology used by NASA to purify air on the International Space Station. While you're out for a run, the odor-causing bacteria in your foot will be absorbed by the soft top liner and the porous carbon layer below.

Odor neutralizers by Arm & Hammer

Smell Test: a Four from Our Experts

Odor-Blasting Balls from Arm & Hammer

Odor Busterz Balls

Odor-Eliminating Balls by Arm & Hammer

  • Steady frame
  • Chemical-free adaptability

There's no need to add "odor reducer" to the long list of uses for baking soda; it's the primary ingredient in these potent pods from A&H. We found their construction to be more sturdy than that of other, less well-made plastic balls during our tests. There were no overpowering odors that we could detect, and the fragrance was light and fresh, like freshly washed linens. The only drawback is that you can only use one pod for about 60 days.

Variables to Think About

These are the Balega Silver Socks.

Metallica Balega Silver


Silver Balega

Balega's running socks are breathable, cushiony, and odourless. Socks that wick away sweat and are treated with silver ions to prevent the spread of germs. Despite repeated testing (yes, we know this is gross, but we still do it), we found that Silver does not develop a foul odor. More underfoot padding is always welcome, especially for runners. Despite an extended stretch of humid 90°F+ days, our feet stayed comfortably cool thanks to the no-show cuff height and breathable top panel over the midfoot of the sock.

Body Polish with Exfoliating Pardo Naturals Ingredients

While using a cream or lotion after a run can help keep you from smelling too bad, there are times when you need a more thorough cleaning. And that's why the exfoliating scrub with the Peppermint and Matcha Green Tea scent is so appealing to us. In order to remove dead skin and smooth calluses, organic cane sugar can be used in conjunction with coconut oil, which will keep the skin supple and hydrated. (You want your feet to feel clean, odor-free, and moisturized without having to worry about your natural skin oils being stripped away. Matcha green tea has significant anti-inflammatory properties and natural antimicrobial benefits, both of which can help reduce the swelling of your feet and toes after a weekend of running.

Headshot of Amy Schlinger

Amy SchlingerThe Schlinger, Amy

Women's Health, Men's Health, The New York Post, Self, Shape, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour have all published articles written or edited by Amy Schlinger, a health and fitness writer and editor based in New York City. and more; when she's not conducting interviews with trainers, doctors, medical professionals, nutritionists, or professional athletes, the National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) can be found strength training at the gym.  

Headshot of Gabrielle Hondorp

Gabrielle HondorpGabby Hondorp

Gabrielle Hondorp spent six years in running retail prior to joining Runner's World as an editor in 2019; she is an expert in the field of health and wellness and has tested a wide variety of running gear, from shoes to watches to rain jackets. and knows everything there is to know about runners' gear. After starting out as a Digital Editorial Fellow for Runner's World and Bicycling Magazine, Gabi worked her way up to the position of Business Editor for Runner's World. She ran cross country and track at Muhlenberg College, where she also earned degrees in English and Media and Communication.  

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