Why Do Shoes Smell? You Probably Didn’t Know This

Imagine you’ve had a long day at the office or spent half a day at your school, or been out with friends for a night, and when you come home, the first thing you want to do is to kick off your shoes.

And there is no way you are not questioning yourself “why do my shoes smell?” or “did my stinky feet cause shoes to smell?” and will probably think how to get rid of it.

Many of us would say that feet are to take all the blame, which isn’t false at all. There can be many possible reasons for your question as discussed below.

Sweat, as everyone says

The most common answer you will receive if you ask a random person that why do shoes smell, they’ll reply that it is because of sweat, which is quite true as there are around 250,000 sweat glands on each foot which justifies sweating.

Sweat may be caused due to an outing on a hot summer day, or long hours your feet are in your shoes, or due to running, exercising and many long routines carried out during the day. We should give our shoes a break so that they can dry as much as they want and switch shoes if possible. 


Another reason our shoes may smell is because of bacteria. Our feet are covered by shoes all day, which stops its ventilation and gives birth to Kyetococcus sedentarius, a bacterium that produces stinky organic acids and volatile sulfur compounds which have a dreadful smell and ultimately causing your shoes to smell disgusting.

This explains why our slippers or flip flops don’t smell disgusting. The bacterium can live onto your shoes for a very long time if specific measures are not taken to get rid of them.

Therefore, well-ventilated shoes are to be worn which include leather made shoes and try avoiding wearing shoes made from plastic, rubber.

Socks, same or wet

Wearing the same socks and repeating them every other day may cause shoes to smell. If we wear the same clothes every other day, we feel the need to change them as we feel nasty because of the smell they hold onto our bodies.

Same is the case in wearing the same socks for long hours, they hold the smell and automatically transfer their odor to the shoes and ultimately causing them to smell terrible. Wet socks are also another cause of shoes smelling.

Wet socks are a moist layer, being kept next to the part of the body which contains microbes. Wet socks are food for these microbes, and because these microbes never dry out and keep sucking on them, they reproduce. And due to the process of digestion, our feet, as well as our shoes, start stinking.

Therefore, we should try to put on a fresh pair of socks every day and change socks whenever possible to eliminate the element of shoes smelling. We should also make sure our feet and socks are dried out.

Dirty feet

Most of us ignore cleaning and washing our feet which according to many of us, is the prime reason why our shoes smell.

Not giving rest to our feet may be the sole reason for shoes creating odor. Hence, feet are to be washed every day with warm water. Soaking feet in a hot tub doesn’t only kill the bacteria but will help our muscles to relax. 

Check out: Why Do Shoes Squeak