While a person can eliminate foot odour with the right hygiene products, that’s only half of the problem, as our footwear can soon take on undesirable smells too. So, to save you having to replace your trainers, boots or work shoes all the time – although that might sound more fun – you could opt for a trusty shoe deodorant.
These sprays, powders and pouches are made to both neutralise and banish stinky odours and work with a wide range of shoe materials from leather to canvas. When used regularly, they’ll keep your feet and your footwear fresh. All that’s left to do is find the perfect one for you and your kicks! So, why not have a read of our guide before checking out our recommendations?
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Table of Contents
There are various styles and features to think about when looking for a shoe deodoriser. In this section, we’ll look at the differences and consider which are best suited to different situations and their advantages and disadvantages.
The first place to start is the types of shoe deodoriser available. Generally, there are four styles: spray, ball pouch and powder. We’ll take a quick look at each individually to understand them better.
The very same nostalgic product used at the bowling alley, sprays are by far the most popular way to stay on top of foot odour as they get to work instantly. As with other deodorants, you mist the area, wait for it to dry and you’re good to go. Often, these are also a solid option if you’re shopping on a budget.
Furthermore, they come in both scented and unscented options should you prefer one or the other. The downside to a spray is that they’re a little bit wasteful because the nature of spraying means some will be lost to the air, meaning you’ll likely need to re-stock more frequently.
Balls are arguably even easier to use than sprays. All you need to do is twist them open, pop them in the shoes and leave them there. They’ll have an open and close function, which means that they have a longer life span, and there’s no mess or wetness meaning there’s no chance of harming or discolouring your shoes.
The issue with ball shoe deodorisers is, due to them requiring more expensive materials to make, they’re more expensive to buy. And, although they last for longer periods, topping them up every couple of months could soon add up.
Pouch shoe deodorisers are similar to balls in that they’re mess-free and simple to use. However, they're bigger, sometimes even spanning the whole length of the shoe for freshness from heel to toe. They’re also the most likely to use natural ingredients, such as charcoal, which is a good idea if you have sensitive skin on your feet.
These are another long-lasting option, with some companies claiming their pouches can work effectively for up to a year. They’re also a little more versatile, as they can be thrown in gym bags, gloves and other sports equipment. Again, though, they can be on the expensive side owing to this.
Finally, you have powders. These are typically very affordable and they often double up as deodorising foot powders, too. As you’d imagine, to use them, you sprinkle the powder onto the insole and it'll begin to neutralise and eliminate any unwanted smells.
The problem with powders is twofold. Firstly, as they're applied directly onto the shoe, they can discolour footwear over time, so if you’re trying to keep them fresh in every sense of the word, this might not be for you. Secondly, they can be a tad messy and it's often tricky to control how much you use.
Next, consider whether you want a scented or unscented product. Of course, this is down to personal preference, but each does have a couple of points worth considering.
In terms of scented, you don’t have the vast number of options that you would have for a regular deodorant, but there are still various choices, with the classic 'fresh' being the most popular. Others include mint, lemon or different citrus fruits.
When you opt for unscented, the deodoriser will tackle and eliminate the nasty odours. However, once they have done this, they will leave the shoe smelling natural, without any fabricated smell. Therefore, if you prefer a more natural smell, a fragrance-free formula will work best.
When picking up a shoe deodoriser, consider that some might be able to used to combat odour in other garments and accessories. For example, boxing or goalkeeper gloves pick up a sweaty smell that can transfer to your hands. Therefore, opting for a product that can work with both can be hugely beneficial.
Generally speaking, the most versatile products are pouches and balls. This is because they don’t create a mess and are easy to place in other objects. Plus, they’re unlikely to discolour any of the materials, which will be appreciated if you’d like to use them to deodorise something like a gym bag.
Lastly, if you are prone to ailments such as sensitive skin or athlete’s foot, then it would be wise to avoid adding any fuel to the fire, so to speak. The best way of doing this is by looking for natural products.
With regards to the products available, from our research, it seems that pouches are the most likely to have natural ingredients as they’re often made from absorbent clay or charcoal. However, if you’re not one for pouches, then you can look out for natural-based powders and sprays, although these are a little less common.
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Ellis Harper Store
Kick the Stink Out for an Entire Year
Natural Shoe Freshener
Kind to Your Feet, Earth and Animals
Foot and Shoe Powder
Invented by a Registered Podiatrist
A Large Multipack for a Shared Freshness
24 Hour Antiperspirant Foot and Shoe Spray
Ideal for Those Who Like to Work up a Sweat
Odour Eliminating Air Purifying Bags
Eliminate the Smell in Style
Shoe Deodorizer Spray
A Dual-Nozzle Spray to Zap From Heel to Toe
Original Shoe Deodorisers
Fantastic Ingredients and a Lush Fragrance
Small Enough to Fit Wherever You Need Them
Foot and Shoe Powder
Freshen Up With a Natural Clay-Based Powder
Shoe Ninja didn't make it to the top of the pile on their quirky marketing alone, although they could have because it's pretty great! Instead, this brilliant product utilises activated charcoal to draw the odours, bacteria and sweat out. This leaves your shoes smelling... normal. There's no fancy fragrance, just the idea that your shoes should smell neutral.
The pouches are known to work for up to a year, which is incredible value when you consider how much a pair costs. Plus, they're recyclable and made with only one natural ingredient, so everyone can use them. Add to that the free toenail clippers (why not?) and you've got yourself a top-class set that helps you keep on top of both your shoes and your pedicures.
According to the brand, all you'll need is a couple of pumps of this spray in your trainers and the pong will be replaced by a very long-lasting lemony smell. The concentrated formula is a combination of six different essential oils, each of which will eliminate whiffs and leave room for the citrus fragrance to do its work.
Not only is Lemon Sole committed to keeping your paws and shoes smelling fresh, but they also have great ethics, hence why this one comes in an aluminium bottle that's fully recyclable. Plus, this UK-made formula isn't tested on animals either, making this vegan and completely cruelty-free. Win-win.
Invented by a registered podiatrist, Shoe Rescue offers a well-respected, simple solution that works with a range of different shoe materials. This powder is comprised of a combination of natural ingredients and essential oils that contain sweat and bacteria before effectively eliminating it.
It's also known for getting results quickly, with many users seeing positive results in just a day or two. As the mixture doesn't contain any nasties, you don't have to worry about being exposed to any harmful toxins. This is especially important if you're prone to sensitive skin or you plan on using this in kids' trainers or school shoes.
Surely the most appealing feature of this pack is that you get plenty of them for the price, which saves you the hassle of re-ordering every few months or so. Or, you can split them up and have multiple different garments or accessories benefiting from the odour elimination at once. Your choice!
The balls are light and compact, coming in around 3.9 cm in diameter, and they work with the simple twist action that most others do. They're also versatile, so you can plonk them in shoes, a school or gym locker, the car or wherever you feel requires a fresh new scent.
The whole idea behind this formula from Odor-Eaters is that it will tackle even the toughest stenches brought on by sports or an active lifestyle. It has a quick-dry application too, so you can give your shoes a quick spritz and reap the rewards for up to 24 hours.
The bottle comes in at 150 ml, which should last about a month or two. Of course, this depends on how regularly and how much you use at a time, but if you're known to work up a sweat and need something powerful for both your shoes and your feet, this could be ideal for you.
This set of pouches from SmellWell use a mix of naturally antibacterial ingredients such as charcoal and minerals that absorb moisture to eliminate the environment where the bacteria thrives and capture the whiff. Their fresh scent will leave you feeling much better about your shoes.
It's also worth mentioning that the company produce a variety of different styles that aim to make deodorising your trainers slightly more appealing! However, they all include the same scent, so it's just for aesthetic purposes. They supposedly last up to six months too, which is pretty good, though not as long as other products.
Next up is this option from trusted shoe care brand Kiwi. It differs from many other spray options due to a clever bottle design – instead of utilising the classic aerosol method, the cap is on the bottom and has two nozzles. To use it, all you'll have to do is place it in your shoe, press down, and then you'll have a spray from heel to toe.
The formula is designed to safely work with a wide array of shoe materials, such as leather, faux leather, canvas, suede, nubuck, mesh, nylon and fabric. It's freshly scented too, although some users have found that it masks the smell rather than banishing it.
As well as having quite the design, these pouches have a complex, lush fragrance that uses ingredients such as lavender, lemon, patchouli and tea tree, meaning they're sure to give off one of the freshest smells of all our products. Although, sadly, there's no hint of banana!
We also think the inclusion of a carabiner is clever, as this ensures that you're not susceptible to leaving one lone banana behind anywhere. They are a little bit more expensive than most, but if you value a cute design and natural ingredients, it might be worth the extra cash.
Sneakerballs fight odours wherever they hide. The little balls are small enough to fit into plenty of different places, including shoes, gym bags, gloves and various other possibly smelly accessories. The company claims that you'll get around 2000 hours from the balls, which is a surprising amount for something so small.
Furthermore, they're super easy to use – just twist the cap and pop them in. Sadly, we couldn't find whether these can be closed like other ball deodorisers, which is a shame as it means they'll still be emitting scent when not in use, and that's a bit of a waste.
If you want something kind to skin and talc-free that you can also use on your feet, why not try out this 100% natural powder deodoriser? The mineral compounds and essential oils balance the PH of your shoes to remove odour and leave a pleasant herbal scent behind.
There are some things to be wary of, though. Firstly, due to the fact that it is a powder with clay- and charcoal-based ingredients, shaking this inside your shoes every day could see a layer build up over time. Secondly, it can make a bit of a mess if you're not careful, so you might want to have the hoover handy!
The only things more hard-working than our feet are the shoes we slip them into! Treat yourself to a freshening foot mask and comfortable insoles with our suggestions below. We've also ranked the best shoe polishes so you can give your favourite shoes a bit of love too.
A good deodoriser won't only keep your trainers, shoes and heels in top condition, but it will also help you avoid any embarrassing smelly feet situations if you keep on top of it. Therefore, we hope that after reading the buying guide and getting a little bit of knowledge, you're ready to take the plunge and keep your paws smelling fresh.
Author: Lewis Clark
No. 1: Ellis Harper Store｜Shoe Ninja
No. 2: Lemon Sole｜Natural Shoe Freshener
No. 3: Shoe Rescue｜Foot and Shoe Powder
No. 4: Eco-Fused｜Deodorizing Balls
No. 5: Odor-Eaters｜24 Hour Antiperspirant Foot and Shoe Spray
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