"Help! My trainers stink!": 10 home-grown remedies

See below for the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Is it your shoes that smell so bad?”. Of course it's your shoes, but when asked like that, it is impossible for you to own up. Even if you have tried hard to solve the problem. The proof: your deodorant knows the route that leads to your feet better than the route to your armpits. In a word, you cannot see an outcome to your smelly shoe problems. Stop snivelling! We cannot promise that your feet will actually smell good, because there is probably no such thing as a fragrant foot. But we have dug up a few home-grown tips that have already proved their worth.

1. Say farewell to the shoe cupboard

Even if you can't wait to conceal the smell of your favourite shoes after a run, don't hide them in your special shoe cupboard. Cupboards are dark and damp and far from worthy of your favourite trainers! After every use, your shoes only need just one thing. Respite, by breathing plenty of fresh air. It is better to leave your shoes to dry on a window sill or in the garden, rather than allowing bacteria to proliferate in their hiding place. Never allow these nasty bacteria that make your trainers smell so bad to have their whiffy way! Also, no-one will go outdoors to smell your shoes. 

snow shoes

2. Stink-free shoes set me free*!

*The song that you will now hum for a couple of hours is a gift, from us to you.

Just like us, you are probably a fan of Frozen, and you know just how liberating the cold can be. As you certainly already know, the cold is a strong ally when it comes to getting rid of the plastic taste of your Kalenji flask… But that's not all! The anaesthetic properties of the cold can do away with unpleasant tastes, and smells too. Just put your trainers in a plastic bag, then put them in the freezer (yes, really) overnight. You will obviously have to wait a few hours before wearing them again. Sorry, but not everyone can stand the cold as well as Elsa...

3. Magic powders that actually work!

The king of hygiene that we love and adore. Its name? Bicarbonate of soda. This miraculous ingredient can be used to have white teeth, to make household deodorants and to remove stains. So, it has nothing to fear of smelly shoes. Bicarbonate of soda absorbs humidity and the bacteria it contains. In the evening, sprinkle a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda inside your shoes and they will be nice and fresh by the next morning. 

Surprisingly, talcum power does a good job too. You can fight off damp and smells by putting a small quantity of talc in your trainers, and even your socks, before exercising. And another thing. It protects your feet against blisters.

football shoew

4. Fruit in your shoes.

Do you love eating fruit? Then you will adore fruit in your shoes too. As well as being good for our health, the other possible uses of our pulpy, vitamin-rich friends never cease to surprise us. Citrus fruit in particular possesses refreshing properties. As usual, they perform their magic at night. Peel an orange, lemon or grapefruit and put the skin in your shoes (remember to eat the fruit too...) and leave to rest until the following morning. Who would of thought that putting on your shoes could make your mouth water? Not you for sure.

5. A cup of tea, please

Do you love tea? Good news! You can now give a new lease of life to your black tea bags. Black tea contains rot-proof vegetable substances called tannins. So the decomposing cheese that appears to be living in your shoes can now be expelled! Put a bag of black tea in boiling water for 5 minutes. Take it out of the water and leave to cool down and dry out before putting it in your shoes. A few drops of the essential oil found in tea plants also have purifying qualities. And since we are talking about natural remedies, Alum stone or lavender is also highly effective! 

hiking shoes

6. A second chance

If your soles pong, why not keep a second pair? Not that we want to duplicate your problem, but simply to give you and your soles a break. You should also fairly divide the labour between your shoes. As we have already frequently said, it is preferable to have two pairs of trainers. One for training and one for competitive sport that you can also occasionally wear for training. Why? As well as avoiding a sense of panic the day before your race or your match, when you realise that your shoes are completely worn out and that there is a hole in their mesh, you will wear out your two pairs more slowly and allow them enough time to get rid of their bacteria and foul smells

7. Your princely socks

Don't giggle at this royal title, because your feet deserve to be treated like a king! Do we really need to tell you? Wearing socks during exercise is not optional. It is essential. First, because it is well worth while to protect your feet against blisters, callus and other problems. Second, because socks act as a filter and absorb the perspiration from your feet. It is preferable that your sweat is absorbed by socks that are easily washable, rather than drenching your favourite shoes and making them smell bad.

walking shoes

8. The deep end, part 1

Vous y avez sûrement déjà songé, une de ces fois où, complètement désespéré·e, elle semblait être la seule issue à vos problèmes de chaussures malodorantes. Pourtant, vous n’avez, jusque-là, jamais osé franchir le cap. Osant à peine imaginer des conséquences potentiellement irréversibles. Terrorisé·e à l'idée que vos baskets n’en sortent pas indemnes, voire vivantes. Il semblerait que vous ayez légèrement forcé sur les thrillers, relax ! Si vos chaussures survivent aux mauvaises odeurs, la machine à laver ne leur sera pas fatale. Vous n’avez qu’à mettre vos baskets dans une vieille taie d’oreiller pour ne pas les abîmer, puis fermer celle-ci avec un élastique. Optez ensuite pour un programme à faible température. Pour ce qui est du séchage, rien ne vaut l’air libre ! Vous voyez, ça n’était quand même pas si terrible. Si ?

9. The deep end, part 2

After machine-washing you shoes, you now need to take care of the origin of the foul smells. Your feet. This seems so obvious, that you may have even forgot just how important it is to wash your feet. But when we say wash, we mean washing thoroughly. In a word, take as much care of your feet as of your hair. Your hair, that you enjoy shampooing with rose, argan, coconut and any other sweet-smelling fragrance. Use a shower flannel, a wash mitt, a sea sponge, or anything else you can use to rub your feet and get rid of the impurities between your toes. Come on! It's time for a shower!

basketball shoew

10. Take care of your toe nails

Caution: the following content is for an informed readership. It is not for the faint-hearted.

Let's get right to the heart of the matter: nails. Let's talk about them. There is absolutely no point in beating about the bush. As well as causing injuries, your toe nails are genuine bacteria traps. You may have already noticed that when your finger nails are too long they collect all kinds of dirt and need to be cleaned regularly. The same is true of your toe nails. Except that they are inside your shoes… So just imagine. So, cutting your toe nails regularly, but not too short to avoid injury, because they protect your toes, is a routine that must be included in your fight against foul smells. That's enough glamour. You're welcome.

So, smelly feet are not the taboo subject you thought they were. Why not share this article to help your friends solve the problem? After all, you are not alone in fighting this fight! Before feeling any shame, remember that perspiring from your feet (and anywhere else) proves that your body is functioning properly, that it can control its temperature and evacuate what needs to be evacuated while exercising, even if the smell is unpleasant. You have probably already resorted to the home-grown solutions that exist for every problem.


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