How To Keep Basketball Shoes From Smelling

Last updated on October 31st, 2022 at 02:29 am

Unpleasant odors emanating from basketball shoes can be quite embarrassing. Apart from being humiliating, unpleasant odors from basketball shoes can also affect our overall confidence.

However, a smelly basketball shoe is something that you should not really worry about as a bigger percentage of basketball players often suffer from this issue.

Basketball is a game that involves plenty of motion, which often results in sweating. The build-up of sweat inside the shoes often leads to the multiplication of the smell causing bacteria.

While it is quite common for basketball shoes to smell, there are certain techniques that you can employ to eliminate these odors.

Many of these techniques are quick fixes that will only take a few minutes.

  1. Use baking soda
  2. Wash your shoes with surgical disinfectant
  3. Freeze your basketball shoes
  4. Apply Alcohol gel/hand sanitizer
  5. Stuck your shoes with newspaper
  6. Use baby powder
  7. Wear socks
  8. Get a new pair of insoles

1. Use Baking soda

One of the most popular ways of neutralizing the smell coming from basketball shoes is baking soda. Apart from being effective, baking soda also is one of the most practical techniques. As mentioned earlier, the smell often comes from the bacteria that have developed inside your shoes.

To kill these bacteria, sprinkle a little baking powder on both shoes and then leave them for a few hours. Technically, this is just the same principle or technique that we normally used to remove unwanted smells from refrigerators.

If you do not have access to baking soda, then you can always use foot powder which is mostly used to treat athletes’ feet. Just like baking soda, this technique will help you get the desired result.

While both baking soda and foot powder are suitable for your basketball shoes or day-to-day sneakers, do not use them on leather shoes. The baking soda might cause the leather to crack up.

2. Wash shoes with surgical disinfectant

Another technique that is highly effective in getting rid of the smell from your basketball shoes is the surgical scrub disinfectant. It is important to note that there are different brands on the market, but all do work in the same manner.

You can get this in most brick-and-mortar stores, including Walmart. We highly recommend the brand Hibiclens. Washing your shoes with this surgical disinfectant is straightforward.

Apply a fair amount of the disinfectant in a bucket of water and then wash your shoes as usual using the water.

If you do not know how to properly wash your basketball shoes, then you need to check out one of our posts on the same. We have highlighted all the steps needed to properly clean your basketball shoe.

After cleaning the shoe, the next step would be to wash your feet with the surgical disinfectant as well, since you are also carrying these bacteria. You can also use these disinfectants under your armpits.

3. Use Baby Powder

The use of baby powder in preventing odors from basketball shoes has been there for a long time. Apart from keeping the shoes dry, the baby powder also helps in preventing the growth of bacteria inside our shoes.

If you decide to use this technique, then the first step would be to apply a fair amount of baby powder inside your basketball shoes. You should leave the powder inside the shoes for a couple of hours, if possible, overnight.

Once you are ready to put on the shoes, you can invert the shoes to get off the excess powder from within. You do not have to wipe off the powder.

4. Stacking your shoes with newspaper

Stacking your shoes with newspaper is another great technique that can help you eliminate unpleasant odors from your basketball shoe. The first step would be to remove the laces and the innersole from the shoe.

After you’ve removed both the laces and the innersole, the next step would be to place several newspaper pages inside your shoe. Stop placing newspapers once the shoe becomes stiff.

Let the newspaper sit inside your shoe for about 3 to 4 consecutive days. Once the duration is over, the next step would be to remove the newspapers from the shoes and then place them in direct sunlight for again 3-4 days.

When doing this, it is important to ensure that the tongue of the shoe is completely open to allow plenty of sunlight to get into the shoe. After 3-4 days, your basketball shoe will now be void of unwanted smells.

To ensure that you do not take the bacteria back into the shoes, it is important to dispose the innersoles and get new ones. We discussed some of the best innersoles for basketball shoes.

5. Freeze your basketball shoes

Another great way to kill the bacteria causing the odor is by freezing basketball shoes. This technique has been there for quite some time, though it’s less known compared to the other techniques on this list.

While this technique might sound crazy to many people, it is quite effective. Because of the sub-zero temperature inside the freezer, most of the bacteria will die out.

However, before freezing your shoes, it is important to first ensure that your shoes are dry. If they are not dry, then you should place them under direct sunlight for a couple of hours.

Placing wet shoes inside the freezer might end up damaging your shoes and this is something that we do not want. Once completely dry, the next step would be to get a plastic bag.

Slip the basketball shoes inside the plastic bag and then properly close the top to ensure that no moisture will get inside the bag. Insert the bag containing your basketball shoes inside the freezer and then let it sit overnight.

After letting your shoes sit in the freezer for a couple of hours, you will then take them out of the bag and then wash them if needed.

6. Get a New Pair of Insoles

As mentioned earlier, the innersole contains most of the odor-causing bacteria. Simply washing your innersole will not really help in getting rid of the bacteria.

Thus, it’s usually high time to replace innersoles, especially if you have had your basketball shoes for at least three months. There are plenty of great innersoles for basketball shoes online.

If you need to change your innersole, then check out this best basketball insoles list we did.

7. Apply Alcohol gel/hand sanitizer

As mentioned earlier, alcohol is quite effective in killing microbes, especially those found in your basketball shoes. Unlike the previous technique that involved washing your basketball shoes with surgical disinfectant, this technique involves wiping the shoes with acholic gel or hand sanitizer.

The first step would be to take a washcloth and then apply a small amount of hand sanitizer on it. Once you have applied the hand sanitizer, the next step would be to gently wipe the insides of your shoes with the cloth.

Repeat the entire process about 2 to 3 times for both pairs of shoes.

8. Use Sports Socks

Once you have used any of the techniques mentioned above, the next step would be to get a pair of sports socks. Sports socks will go a long way in helping absorb the sweat from your feet.

Important tips

For the most effective results, ensure that you wash your shoes with alcohol/surgical disinfectant and then freeze your shoes using the steps shared above.

Avoid washing or wiping your shoes with wet washcloths after using the powder and then putting them directly on.