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How Can I Keep My Running Shoes From Getting Stinky?


Updated February 23, 2014

Pair of old sneakers
Photo © Christine Luff

Question: How Can I Keep My Running Shoes From Getting Stinky?

Answer: Running shoes get smelly because of sweaty feet. If your shoes stay moist from your sweat, the smell gets worse because the bacteria keep growing. Here are some tips to help keep your running shoes from getting stinky:

  • Wearing the right kind of running socks can help keep your shoes from getting and staying wet. It's important to wear non-cotton, synthetic running socks because they'll wick away the moisture, rather than staying wet (which is what happens with cotton socks).

  • Store your shoes in a cool, dry place and remove the sole insert, to prevent bacteria from growing.

  • Rotate two pairs of running shoes, so you can give one pair a chance to dry out when you're not wearing them.

  • Sprinkle some baking soda or a dryer sheet in your running shoes after a run. Either item will help mask odor and absorb remaining moisture.

  • If your shoes get wet (after a rainy run, for example), take them off and stuff them with crumpled balls of newspaper. This helps the shoes keep their shape, and the paper draws moisture away from the shoes to prevent them from getting musty.


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