Saturday, August 13, 2011

How to get rid of that funky minimalist shoe smell

If you or a friend have experience running in minimalist shoes chances are you may have noticed one of the downsides to running without socks.  When you wear socks you can wash the socks after 1-2 days of use.  When you run in minimalist shoes however it is far more difficult to drop the shoes in the wash as chances are they are being worn daily.  Some people have solved this problem by acquiring dozens of pairs of free shoes like my friend Saypay.  Others who are less fortunate have found other tricks to getting our minimalist shoes to have that new shoe smell.

I originally started putting my shoes in the washing machine once then twice a week as the summer heat moved in.  This worked for a while till my nice Vibram KSO's started to show serious aging from frequent washings.

The next idea I tried was a spray can of foot deodorizing powder.  That lasted less than one day before it was all bunched up in my toes and gross feeling.

My final try and most successful option thus far has been this miracle product called OdoBan.  All I do is take the spray bottle and saturate the insides of the shoes with the OdoBan spray.  I then leave the shoes sit for 10-15 minutes which according to the product labeling will kill not only the HIV virus but also most variants of virii and fungus that may have taken up residence and is likely what is causing your shoe odors.  Once the time is up simply rinse the shoe out with warm tap water in the sink.  I usually also agitate by hand the insides of the shoe to make sure any debris that may be there is loosened up and removed in the rinsing.  Once that is done I drain and set the shoes in front of a fan to air dry which usually takes 6-8 hours depending on ambient temperature and humidity levels.

This last trick has left my minimalist shoes smelling cleaner than new for a week at a time which is an even better result than just dropping them in the wash.  It has also save my shoes from further deterioration which for a $80 pair of shoes is a much appreciated savings.

If anyone else has any other tricks for keeping their minimalist shoes clean and odor free please share your secrets.


  1. Hi Matthew. Awesome tip. I'm considering switching to wearing minimal shoes without socks and this has been on my mind. Often do you go through your cleaning routine? As needed or once per week?
    Many thanks!

  2. I clean as needed. After 4 years I have finally wore out my first pair of minimalist shoes.


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