The best shoe deodorizer
Foot odor can be controlled with the right hygiene products, but what do you do when your footwear takes on an unpleasant smell? Your best option -- besides outright replacing your shoes or boots -- is a reliable shoe deodorizer.
Shoe deodorizers are designed to neutralize and eliminate odors. They're effective at removing smells from a variety of materials, including leather, vinyl, or canvas. When you regularly use shoe deodorizers, you're able to keep your footwear fresh, which in turn keeps foot odor at bay.
If you're wondering which shoe deodorizer is right for your shoes or boots, give our buying guide a read. We're covering various formulas and devices, and we're sharing a few recommendations. Our top choice, OdorStop's Boot and Shoe Dryer and Deodorizer, is an electronic deodorizer that's particularly effective at removing smells from work boots and athletic shoes.
Considerations when choosing shoe deodorizers
Popular types of shoe deodorizers
Sprays: Spray formulas are by far the most common way to deodorize footwear -- simply mist your footwear with a few sprays and let them dry. Certain sprays are fragranced to neutralize odors, whereas other sprays are unscented to eliminate any traces of odors, good or bad.
Balls: Deodorizer balls are a low-maintenance, no-mess option. These usually twist open to release a fresh scent throughout shoes. While they might only last for a few months at a time and can be expensive to buy repeatedly, they're a good choice if you don't want to risk discoloring your footwear with sprays or powders.
Pouches: Like deodorizer balls, pouches are also easy to use and mess-free. These tend to be much larger and may span the length of your shoe to maximize deodorizing power. It's common for pouches to be placed inside luggage or gym bags to remove smoke or environmental smells.
Powders: Powder formulas are the most affordable choice for shoe deodorizers. They're sprinkled into shoes to mask odors with fresh fragrances or to eliminate them with a neutralizing scent. The pitfall of powders is that they can discolor footwear and transfer to carpets, socks, or furniture.
Machines: If you require heavy-duty deodorizing, your best option is a shoe-deodorizing machine. These devices remove odors by utilizing heat, air pressure, or deodorants. They're a popular choice for deodorizing work boots as well as sports footwear like skiing or riding boots.
Scented vs. unscented
If you're open to a fragranced shoe deodorizer, the most popular scents you can find are peppermint, lavender, chamomile, or fresh laundry. For those who prefer a neutral scent, stick to unscented or fragrance-free formulas.
Charcoal is a popular deodorizer since it absorbs smells as well as moisture. For that reason, it's a main ingredient in pouch, ball, and powder formulas geared toward athletic footwear.
In addition to deodorizing shoes, you can use many of these products and devices on other garments or accessories. Gloves, for example, pick up the smell of sweat that clings to the linings and can transfer to your hands. Handbags and wallets often attract odors as well. While you can use a shoe deodorizer on any of these items, a dedicated formula that won't damage or discolor their materials might be a safer bet.
Many spray formulas of shoe deodorizers cost $10 and below. For more effective deodorizing action, spend closer to $15 to $30 on specialty sprays, powders, balls, or pouches. If you prefer an electric shoe deodorizer, be prepared to spend $40 to $100.
Q. What's the best shoe deodorizer for someone with sensitive skin or allergies?
A. There are some non-toxic formulas on the market, many of which are hypoallergenic or stick to plant-derived ingredients. If you need to avoid direct contact with chemicals, you may prefer electric or ball deodorizers.
Q. Do shoe deodorizers expire like other hygiene or cleaning products?
A. Powder and spray formulas have expiration dates, which are usually two to three years out. Pouch and ball deodorizers don't have expiration dates, but the older they are, the less effective they become.
Shoe deodorizers we recommend
Best of the best: OdorStop's Boot and Shoe Dryer and Deodorizer
Our take: Electric deodorizer that manages to get rid of tough, deep-set odors.
What we like: Effective, especially for work boots or gloves. Fairly small footprint for easy storage. Backed by a three-year warranty.
What we dislike: Not the most environmentally friendly option since it emits ozone.
Best bang for your buck: Elite Sportz Equipment's Shoe Deodorizer and Foot Spray
Our take: Formulated with seven essential oils to keep both feet and footwear odor-free.
What we like: Gentle, non-toxic formula can be sprayed directly on skin or shoes. A little goes a long way.
What we dislike: Gives a slight tingling sensation from peppermint.
Choice 3: Sof Sole's Sneaker Balls
Our take: Mess-free deodorizer that neutralizes odors with a soft, pleasant scent.
What we like: Easy to keep in gym bags. They last for a few months before they need to be replaced.
What we dislike: Doesn't deodorize; it only masks odors.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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