No matter how great their personal hygiene, there’s one problem that almost every runner experiences – and that’s stinky shoes!
This isn’t surprising when you consider that the human foot contains 250,000 sweat glands, producing a mixture of water, oils, and bacteria.
Trap this sweat in your warm shoes, and it creates an environment in which bacteria thrive, feeding on the sweat on your skin and producing funky-smelling waste gases in the process.
The good news is that there are some effective deodorizing products out there, designed to save you from the embarrassment of smelly footwear.
In this article, we’re going to look at the top 10 shoe deodorizers on the market and the reasons we love them.
We’ll also run through just what to consider when choosing between them.
So let’s get started!
The 10 Best Shoe Deodorizers in 2023
What to Consider When Looking for the Best Shoe Deodorizer
The best shoe deodorizer sprays and powders won’t just cover up the bad smells.
Instead, they’re designed to eliminate the bacteria responsible for the odor, so that it doesn’t return!
Other things to think about include:
The best shoe deodorizers come in all different forms, including sprays, inserts, insoles, and powders.
Each type will tackle the problem in a different way, so it’s important to figure out which works best for you.
Sprays are popular because they’re just so easy to use, although you’ll need to use them ahead of your run to give your shoes time to dry.
Powders are very effective too – if somewhat messy to use – and many people like insoles, which can be worn continuously as you train and will help prevent bad smells from recurring.
Perhaps the most convenient and least messy are deodorizing inserts that you just pop into shoes and leave to work their magic!
To make your decision easier, we’ve included the best products from each category right here in this guide!
The best shoe deodorizer sprays, powders, and inserts will contain ingredients that absorb and neutralize odors rather than simply cover them up.
Look out for products containing activated charcoal, zinc oxide, or baking soda, all of which are great at eliminating unpleasant smells.
Check the ingredient list carefully if you have pets to be sure that it is safe to use around animals and avoid products containing unwelcome additives like phosphates and parabens.
Whether you want a scented or unscented product is really a matter of personal preference, although unscented would be the better option if you suffer from allergies.
Many deodorizing products are naturally scented from the essential oils they contain.
Think about whether you want a deodorizer JUST for your shoes, or if you also want to use it to freshen other gear.
Some products are designed to be used for multiple purposes and can be ideal for keeping your sports bag, running gear, and locker smelling good too.
Just make sure that the deodorizer you choose can be safely used on a range of surfaces.
The Best Shoe Deodorizer Sprays, Powders, and Inserts
Type: Aerosol Spray, Scent: Fresh, Odor-Busting Ingredients: Proprietary OM Complex
|Versatile||Scent may be too powerful for some|
|Safe around pets|
|Easy to apply|
Also available as a non-aerosol pump spray, FunkAway uses a special formula that encases the odor molecules, breaks them down, then eliminates them!
Tough enough for even the stinkiest shoes, it works equally well for other non-washable items like suitcases and kit bags.
It’s quick and easy to use – just spray it on and allow it to air dry – and it leaves a long-lasting, linen-fresh aroma.
Type: Insoles, Scent: None, Odor-Busting Ingredients: Activated Charcoal
|Destroy odor instantly||Not ideal for extra-wide shoes|
|Eliminate moisture||Unsuitable for men size 12+|
With a concentrated layer of effective activated charcoal to absorb and neutralize unpleasant smells, these insoles are ideal for long-term odor prevention.
They feature Air Pillo cushioning, so they feel comfortable and help soften the impact of every step, plus they absorb perspiration, so your feet remain dry throughout your run.
They’re also fully customizable – just pick your shoe size from the bottom of the insole then cut it into shape using the guidelines supplied.
Type: Inserts, Scent: Lavender and Herbs, Odor-Busting Ingredients: Activated Bamboo Charcoal, Salts, Volcanic Minerals, and Plant Extracts
|Combination of active ingredients for better odor absorption||May be too bulky for smaller shoes|
|No synthetic chemicals|
Lasting from 6 to 12 months with the proper care, these fragrant deodorizers are designed for ‘fruity feet’… and we just love their fun look!
Although they are made with natural ingredients, they smell a little overwhelming when you first open them – but this soon settles down to a pleasant scent that very effectively keeps your shoes fresh.
The ‘ripeness indicator’ comes in handy, too, gradually turning brown over time so you’ll know when you need to replace them.
Type: Spray, Scent: Lemon Eucalyptus (Other Scents Available), Odor-Busting Ingredients: Essential Oils
|All-natural ingredients||Needs to be reapplied fairly frequently|
|Versatile||The smell is too powerful for some|
|Over 700 sprays per bottle|
Made with a combination of powerful essential oils, this naturally safe deodorizer is more than a match for the toughest odors and makes a wonderful room spray, too.
Essential oils are naturally antibacterial and antifungal in nature, so they may help guard against uncomfortable conditions like Athlete’s Foot.
The Lemon/Eucalyptus is the extra-strength version of the product, but you can also buy it in Citrus/Tea Tree and Lavender/Tea Tree varieties, which are a little less potent but still effective.
Type: Inserts, Scent: Fresh, Odor-Busting Ingredients: Baking Soda
|No harmful chemicals||Need to be replaced after 60 days|
|Can be used for multiple pairs of shoes|
|Safe around children and animals|
Baking soda is a simple ingredient but one that’s consistently been proven to effectively absorb odors from just about anywhere!
These handy little balls make it possible to reap the benefits of baking soda without the mess – plus they’ve been enhanced with a ‘Clean Burst’ scent for a long-lasting aroma.
They couldn’t be easier to use – just pop one in each shoe and leave them to neutralize any odors – and they’re ideal for use in your backpack, locker, and car trunk too!
Type: Spray, Scent: Cedar, Eucalyptus, and Citrus, Odor-Busting Ingredients: Essential Oils
|Destroys odors on a molecular level||Some people find the scent too strong|
|Scientifically proven||Wears off quite quickly|
|Up to 100 uses per bottle|
If you’re familiar with Poo-Pourri’s popular bathroom spray, then you’ll be pleased to hear that this version made just for shoes is every bit as effective!
Replacing unpleasant odors with delightful notes of grapefruit, eucalyptus, and cedarwood essential oils, it comes in a pocket-sized bottle that’s easy to take with you when you’re on the go.
A few spritzes are all you’ll need per application, although we needed to apply these daily at first to extra-smelly shoes!
Type: Spray Powder, Scent: Medicinal, Odor-Busting Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Baking Soda
|Prevents odors and sweating throughout the day||Leaves a white residue on dark socks|
The big disadvantage with many foot powders is that they are messy to apply – but that’s not the case with this innovative powder spray from Dr. Scholl!
It’s made using the company’s SWEATMAX Technology, which instantly destroys odors, stops bad smells from recurring, and effectively absorbs sweat.
You can use it directly on your feet, spray it into your running shoes, or do both for extra protection.
Type: Inserts, Scent: Unscented, Odor-Busting Ingredients: Activated Bamboo Charcoal
|Reusable for up to 2 years||Not powerful enough for really tough odors|
|Great value for money|
We like the sustainability of these cool little bags from Marsheepy.
You leave them out in the sun for a few hours to activate them and then use them for up to 2 years, reactivating them under direct sunlight for at least 2 hours every month.
At the end of their life, you can then repurpose the bamboo charcoal inside as a fertilizer for your garden plants!
We found them better for daily odor protection rather than eliminating very strong smells, and we love how easy they are to use.
Type: Inserts, Scent: Natural Cedar Aroma, Odor-Busting Ingredients: Cedarwood
|Antibacterial and antifungal properties||No padding|
|Thin and flexible||Too narrow for some shoes|
Made from a combination of sustainably-produced natural cedarwood and cotton, these comfortable insoles absorb sweat to keep your feet dry and odor-free.
A convenient alternative to sprays and powders, they provide all-day protection and can be washed by hand to revive their properties and natural scent.
Whilst they don’t have any padding, they are very thin, which means you could easily wear them with additional insoles if you needed to.
Type: Spray, Scent: Mint, Odor-Busting Ingredients: Essential Oils
|Effective, extra-strength formula||Pricier than some brands|
|Non-toxic and non-GMO|
We chose this as the best odor eliminator for shoes as it’s all-natural, easy to use, fast-acting, and smells great!
What’s more, you can spray it directly onto your feet for a cooling, refreshing sensation – just what you need after an extended training session.
The quick-drying formula works great in your shoes, too, and is safe for other materials including kit bags, sports equipment, pet beds, clothing, and more!
The Best Odor Eliminator for Shoes: Key Takeaways
A good shoe deodorizer can eliminate bacteria and destroy odors, keeping your footwear smelling fresh for longer.
We hope this guide has helped you find the right product for your needs, so you can feel confident about taking off your running shoes in any environment!